Magazine article Geographical

Pedro Arrojo-Agudo Was Recently Awarded a Goldman Environmental Prize for His Efforts to Halt the Construction of 120 Dams and the Diversion of Spain's Last Wild Rivers

Magazine article Geographical

Pedro Arrojo-Agudo Was Recently Awarded a Goldman Environmental Prize for His Efforts to Halt the Construction of 120 Dams and the Diversion of Spain's Last Wild Rivers

Article excerpt

Pedro Arrojo-Agudo was recently awarded a Goldman Environmental Prize for his efforts to halt the construction of 120 dams and the diversion of Spain's last wild rivers. Arrojo has inspired a new wave of activism in Spain and has created a conservation movement known as the New Water Culture.

Has the Goldman prize influenced your campaign against the National Hydrological Project (NHP)?

I'm sure this prize will give more prestige, more international weight, to the campaign. There is already pressure from the Spanish universities and the social movements. Recently, we had another enormous demonstration in Barcelona of more than 200,000 people. The decision about the project will soon be made in Brussels--we don't know when--but it will be a precedent for all of Europe, especially Mediterranean countries.

What is the New Water Culture?

The New Water Culture is the new, sustainable way of thinking about water issues, of understanding the rivers, the wetlands and the sources of flesh water around the world. We used to think of them as just bodies of water but we have to realise that they are live ecosystems. It's like a forest--if you see it as just wood, you only understand a small part of its value. You need to think about sustaining each territory and utilising its own resources. When we object to a plan such as the NHP we always propose an alternative. Now all of the political parties in Spain are talking about the New Water Culture.

How much support do you have for your movement?

This movement began when the Socialist party was in government. It isn't just a platform for the threatened people of the Pyrenees and the Ebro delta, but a citizen's platform for a new water culture. We have support from all the trade unions, all the ecological movements and a lot of citizens' movements in the cities and the regions. …

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