Manifesto for the aragonese mountains: the white alternative

Here is in abstract of the Manifesto signed by several civic organisations, NGOs and individuals:

In recent years, the Aragonese Pyrenees and the Iberian mountains, in Spain, have been suffering increasing pressure from the ski industry lobby. In 2002, a major Bank entered into a strategical alliance with the Government of Aragón, to create a company called Aramón, whose objective is to double the surface area of ski resorts in the next few years.

In order to achieve its goal, the regional Government has modified the boundaries of several protected territories, in a move that has been denounced as illegal by several environmental groups. The impact of ski resorts on the environment is a very serious one, since new roads and large car parks are built, and buildings are erected in fragile areas. Moreover, hillsides are dynamited, rivers are cased into pipes and water is polluted in mountain rivers. Heaps of rubble are commonplace around the Aragonese ski resorts.

The support from regional authorities is based on the idea that ski resorts equal economic progress, but no benefit-cost study has ever been carried out. Likewise the real impact of the ski industry has never been studied, not only environmentally but also economically and socially.

We defend the development of rural communities in the Pyrenees, but we believe that the ski industry is not necessarily the best option for the Pyrenees, since global warming is making it more and more difficult. An economy based on a single “leg” could prove disastrous in the future. Besides, enormous amounts of public money are spent for the sake of private benefit. In fact, ski resorts are not economically sustainable in themselves: it is the real estate speculative business which really profits.

At the moment there are plans of expansion in four different places and in some of them (such as Formigal) heavy machinery is about to be brought onto the mountainside. Due to the irreversible nature of these projects, we demand a halt in order to implement a serious debate about the convenience of the expansion of the ski industry in the terms that have been presented.

Meeting in defence of the Espelunziecha valley

20th of March, at 12am in Portalet. At 9am there will be a guided tour to Ibón (Lake) Espelunziecha. Depending on the weather conditions, skis or snow rackets are advisable.

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