Interview with Margalida Ramis on the commodification of landscape on the Balearic Islands

Ernest Cañada

Against the backdrop of the economic crisis and the austerity policies in Spain, the government of the Balearic Islands has introduced various changes in environmental legislation. They are aimed at promoting investments in tourism and real estate even in protected areas. These changes reflect the national policies such as the reform of coastal regulation.

Ernest Cañada (AlbaSud) interviewed Margalida Ramis, spokesperson of "Grupo de Ornitología y Defensa de la Naturaleza", an important environmental organisation in the Balearic Islands, about the logic underlying these processes.

Margalida explains the complete deregulation of regional planning and the systematic dismantling of protection mechanisms for nature and natural resources. Even places with minimal infrastructure may now be declared as "urban", turning agricultural land into real estate. Exemptions become the rule and standards can be adapted as required by commercial interests. Investors may expect support, no matter how viable their projects are.

It is a power play and speculative game involving real estate companies and financial institutions, making nature and people even more vulnerable. These developments force social movements to jointly address the roots of the crisis. The roots are the same ones that also cause environmental destruction and the destruction of social and democratic structures and processes. Political realities need to be reinvented from the grassroots.