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A long trip

"Ecohéroes" has been a long journey of more than a decade, in search of people who make a difference and do something positive for the planet. The adventure started in benign times when almost all the media had environmental supplements, such as Natura in El Mundo. The journey began there, with a series entitled “La Otra América”, in the company of the photographer and documentary maker Isaac Hernández, with whom I regularly attended the “Bioneers” meetings in California, which were the germ of this book. Isaac was truly the inseparable co-pilot in this shared journey, capable of approaching the interviewees with the most personal and pertinent question or getting away just enough to record our fleeting presence (as can be seen in the series of photos that accompany this text ).

Meanwhile, in Spain, my friend and activist Manuel Vílchez, with whom I shared a blog entitled “Yo Cambio”, helped me discover that parallel reality that is brewing in our lands and that rarely appears in the media. The regular visits to Biocultural also allowed me to take the pulse of all the trends gaining traction in recent decades. The incursions in Mallorca, to the Educació per la Vida meetings, allowed me to open the objective to other parts of the world.

The third foothold was the UK, where I arrived in time for the Olympics and the 10th anniversary of the Eden Project, one of the fascinating examples of ecological regeneration on the planet. From the coasts of Cornwall to the Orkney Islands in Scotland, passing through the transition movement in Totnes or the “incredible edibles” of Todormorden, the British Isles had great surprises in store for me.

Everything was almost ready to give wings to the book when suddenly we hit rock bottom with the financial crisis, and I received a slogan: "Forget about ecology and dedicate yourself to the economy." We entered the era of austerity; environmental supplements disappeared from the map. But instinctively I kept going, true to a motto that struck me like something out of the blue: “Economy is from Mars and Ecology is from Venus; it is time for them to get to work together on planet Earth ”.

I was there, trying to imagine all the pending work for the next decade (and in fields as diverse as food, energy, consumption, education or life in cities) when the pandemic suddenly struck. Climate change obviously disappeared from the headlines. Any attempt to bridge the gap between health and the environment fell under its own weight in the face of human tragedy, political chaos and daily scaremongering.

But I decided that I couldn't wait any longer. "The unthinkable is going to force us to rethink everything", was the new motto with which I decided to stand up to confinement and try to glimpse a ray of light at the exit of the tunnel. The result is this book, woven from more than a hundred interviews and encounters, linked in time with another one that I wrote in the twilight of the 20th century, "The Simple Life", and which was desperately asking for a continuation.

In that book I tried to build bridges between personal and social change; In this other I have tried as much as possible to disappear among the ecoheroes, letting them be the ones to speak and those who lead the way with their actions, but without the intention of pontificating. As the father of Gaia theory, James Lovelock, says in the book: “We have to forget about saving the planet because he saves himself as he has been doing since life began on Earth… What should concern us is our future".

From James Lovelock to James Hansen, the forerunner of the science of climate change. From Greta Thunberg to Jane Goodall, in an in-depth interview in full confinement. From oceanographer Sylvia Earle to the greatest living biologist, Edward O. Wilson. From Vandana Shiva to Naomi Klein, from Jared Diamond to Satish Kumar, from Janine Benyus to Carlo Petrini ... The most recognizable voices in ecology go hand in hand in "Ecohéroes" with other names not so well known but with exciting stories such as the mycologist Paul Stamets ("All mushrooms are magic"), the acoustic ecologist Gordon Hempton ("The spokesman for silence") or the Gijon botanist Carlos Magdalena ("The messiah of plants").

And so we reach our indigenous eco-heroes such as chef José Andrés, pioneer of organic farming Mariano Bueno, champion of “connected self-sufficiency” Domingo Jiménez Beltrán, architect Iñaki Alonso, “green” pedagogue Heike Freire, designer Sybilla , the Mallorcan activist Guillem Ferrer, the "grandfather" of the Green Roofs Joan Carulla, the "lord of the fig trees" Monserrat Pons and Odile Rodríguez de la Fuente, recalling the wisdom of Félix.

All of them alternate throughout this book-river aspiring to continue growing with inspiring stories for these uncertain times. Unconsciously, two words are repeated from beginning to end and hold the key to everything that is happening: resilience and regeneration. The last chapter is titled “Blessed Restlessness”, in homage to the book with which Paul Hawken celebrates the work of all those anonymous ecoheroes that we have around the corner, and that will never appear in the newspapers.

Historia: Text
Historia: Pro Gallery
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