Walker leaders: Andalucía Transversal and Juanjo Gómez Villegas
On May 2, we arranged a visit to the Cañada de Las Norias (the Ravine of Las Norias) where we had the pleasure of leading a small but very active group of people who joined us for the tour. The oldest participants were in their 50s, but the majority in their 30s. There were three high schoolers and little Martin who was 20 months old.
We were able to create three groups based on the interests of the participants: the research group from Andalucía Transversal who suggested and led the walk; the farmers from the Campo de Dalías, concerned that the rising water levels in the pond could put the surrounding greenhouses at risk; and the founders of the ornithological park beside the pond, engaged in an altruistic way to add value to the existing ecosystem
Cañada de Las Norias is a wide area surrounded by two new lagoons, and located in the Campo de Dalias central area known as Balsa del Sapo (the Frog Pond). It is also situated close to the town of Las Norias de Daza and El Ejido, separated by a narrow barrier of dirt. The route that arose ran along the edge of the lagoon with the urban core to the west, allowing us to guess the problematic nature of this location. During the walk, we exposed their knowledge, insight, and solutions, along with discussing what had happened to the ravine and future possibilities for environmental change.
Conflicts arose due to clashing interests between the farmers and the ecologists. The perfect solution for the farmers would be to drain the pond and eliminate the problem. But for the ecologists, the desirable situation would be to protect the ecosystem and create a legal framework that would warrant its preservation. We were interested in listening to all participants and their dialogue as they compromised and came up with an ideal scenario: to find the water level that would not put the greenhouses at risk but would allow them to preserve the environment, able to better the quality of life of those inhabiting within this degraded ecosystem.
One of the participants was quoted saying, “It has been years since I’d traveled so much across this city. It’s been a way to remind me of all the special things we have here. The historical and environmental evolution has impacted me. Now I understand the urgency to create a project which will prioritize the value of this natural area.”