What with the recent wet weather and heavy storms experienced by the region I thought I would write less about property this week and instead talk about our local region and how we can all look after it. When the dogs were taking me on a walk through the orange groves around Arboleas I saw the irrigation channels or acequias to give them their proper name still being used at full capacity. I thought naively that the farmers may turn the water off for a few days/weeks as the ground is so wet and its raining as I write but no….. One farmer I know has a 3000M2 bare patch of earth right outside an old house he is trying to sell. Nothing is planted or grows on it but as it has irrigation rights every month he floods his patch of earth as he reasons ‘it’s my water’.
The Almanzora River has been flowing now for a good few weeks and at times has completed filled the basin near La Cinta which is an amazing sight considering its normally resembles a bit of a barren dust bowl. Last winter the river ran from mid September until it dried up in June last year. This year it has started 3 months later and it will be interesting to see how long it lasts. Could a reservoir be created near Zurgena to conserve all this water and to encourage wildlife? I remember seeing on maps that there is a reservoir shown to exist below the castle in Huercal Overa and I have made a mental note to see if it actually still exists.
Living in the sunniest and driest part of Europe – water is a resource we should all seek to preserve and its great visiting peoples’ homes and sometimes seeing people reuse the ‘grey water’ homes produce to water their plants. Even on a small scale just keeping the washing up water and pouring it on the flower bed makes a difference.
Cold bath water too can also be used. It’s sobering to think that with all the recent rain – Reservoir levels in Andalucía are still only filled to 47.8% of capacity.
Environmental protection on a personal level is often seen by people as pointless –
‘What difference can I just make?’ being a common theme as to some peoples reasoning not to recycle. It’s been on the news agenda for decades Recycle Reduce Reuse’ I think the slogan says. We also have had the comedian Eddie Izzard telling us on the tellybox why recycling is good for us all. Children in schools especially in the UK get taught how to be environmentally responsible so they in turn can inform their families and change habits for the better.
My best friend who lives in the UK would only recycle when I visited him for a few days then he would go back to his old just chuck it all in the bin routine. This he kept up for years despite me trying to show him the error of his ways. That is until recently when he moved in with his new partner who now badgers him constantly so he submits to her eco conscious ways. Now he recycles everything – albeit grudgingly and he does make a difference.
When I saw him recently he was teasing his girlfriend over her ownership of a 5 year old mobile phone – until she noticed my old phone sitting on the table next to hers. Recognising a kindred spirit she asked me why I did not rush out to update my phone on a regular basis and as I answered my friend realised he was going to get it from all sides and now his girlfriend had an ally. Why use up the worlds valuable resources just to have shiny new phone every few months or so.
All the heavy metals in mobile phones can cause great damage to the communities where they are eventually dumped as the pollution leaks from landfills into water tables. In the UK I know the major phone companies actually accept old phones for recycling and will pay customers to return their old phones to them where they get refurbished and sold abroad to developing countries.
In my head – quite reasonably I just want my phone to have 2 functions – call/receive phone calls and to be able to send/receive txt messages. Some of these new ones have some many gadgets on them its hard to see what they were actually designed to do in the first place. I am realising that slowly I must be getting older as I start to sound more like my dad. I also find myself going round the house turning off lights and grumbling under my breath.
Andalucía has lots of recycling points and its weird sometimes to see people simply chucking for example their used 8L water bottle straight into a skip when next door to it or close by is a bright yellow bin there just for that purpose. Towns, villages and urbanisations often have a good selection of the different containers for recycling and the more we all use them then the more often they have to be collected and more containers provided. For those that do not know the differences – the yellow containers are for plastic, metal cans and tetrapaks, the blue ones are paper and card and the domed green ones are for bottles. Put the bottle cap in the yellow one though and always remember to crush anything you put in if possible to save on volume. Often people simply chuck a water bottle in its entirety into a yellow skip and then it’s full after 20 or so bottles. Crushing them and replacing the lid to keep them crushed greatly increases the amount that can be stored in a recycling bin. Old batteries can be recycled at branches of Lidl where they have a bright little green bin near the tills in every store. ‘Every little helps’ I say as I pat my back pocket. I know it’s an Asda slogan but hey it fits.
Lastly I hope everyone is appreciating the beautiful almond blossom that can be seen all over the place. Almond trees were brought here by the Moors over a thousand years ago and there is a romantic story that says a princess missed the snow on the Atlas mountains from her home so her husband planted white blossoming almond trees on hill and mountain tops so that it resembled snow from a distance to make her feel less home sick for her native land.