I just saw an advert, the strap line of which was “Holiday memories can fade fast, but your tan needn’t”

What? If your memories fade faster than your tan it sounds like you had a pretty boring holiday to me…

5 thoughts on “tanfastic

  1. Hi James, I’m writing you from… MICHIGAN! I’m here for a conference about Globalisation, environmental justice and environmental ethics. I presented a paper about discourses of the environment in Bosnia. Well anyway, there are plenty of things we could talk about- today I chaired a workshop about ethics in science and technology and we had a speaker talking about the wonders of nanotechnology- I could not contain myself when asking: but do we need nanotechnologies at all?Anyhow, you asked me about the fires in Galicia. The truth is that I have not had the chance to follow it closely, but here it goes some clarifications of my own very personal and disinformed opinion: having fires in Galicia is not new; it is said that 98% of the firest in Spain are intentional. It is assumed that the land is fired so it can be declared urbanisable and the construction companies can continue their lucrative business without problems. Last year the government made this law that you could not built anything in burned land in 30 years. And the response is that this year there have been more fires than ever. And because of the distribution of the firest it was though, not only that they were provoked, but also that there was a conspirancy to burn Galicia. And then is when the hypothesis enter: it is firemen that want to ensure their job; civil servants angry for the change of government; speculators that expect to find loopholes in the anti-construction regulations; drug dealers that want to deviate attention from the coast, where the drugs are being brought, in order to continue their business…? I don’t know it is so illogical that I feel like it is nothing of all that at all…Does this clarify your doubts? Actually I could put you in contact with people that work in fire control services in Spain (most of my pales at Uni ended up working as fire technicians) so if this can contribute to your work pls don’t hesitate to tell me!!Many kissesVanesa


  2. Just read your comments. I am from Spain and I was in Galicia at the time of the fires thing. Nobody knew how they appeared, so there were many rumours, the most popular among them being the ones you have suggested. But also about politicians were involved in rumours. The kind of Elvis-Presley-lives rumours.As it turns out, some people are already in prison, and none of the rumours seemed to be true. The people in prison are: an old drunkard from a very small village, an almost crazy woman and yes, a firemen who enjoyed fire (he did not start fires to keep his job; in fact, he got a job as fireman to be near the fire). If you combine this with the fact that it hasn’t rained almost anything for two years, you get a big disaster.Vane, I would just suggest you to publish some more informed opinions, not just a bunch of rumours about guilty constructors and criminal master-minds or evil politicians. That’s too easy for you, you don’t have to demonstrate your conspiracy theories at all, do you? It’s the government’s fault, because they cannot prove such theories of yours. In general I do share your points of view, but, pleeeeease, don’t talk just for the sake of it, as if you knew so many things. Pleeeease, if you want to get some credibility, don’t publish every rumour. They are just that, rumours. Otherwise you’ll lose all credibility, and so will the movement you belong to. And, James, if you need info about the fires, don’t trust the Spanish government, really don’t you; but don’t trust neither any of the many pieces of gossip you’ll hear. And sorry for my English, I am not a native speaker.


  3. Hi anonymous,Thanks for your comments. This is clearly a really tricky issue – livelihoods and lives are stake. It has become increasingly apparent to me that to understand wildfire regimes in Spain (and other Mediterranean countries no doubt) one really needs to understand the people that live in the landscapes in which they occur. Whilst the fire ecology (i.e. how plants react to fire) is important, people clearly cannot be ignored.So an important aspect of research in this area is the improvement of our understanding about how and why these fires are started. Of course the state of the climate (as you suggest) and vegetation is important, but it seems that more work needs to be done to understand the wider issues of why people start these fires. You’re right, we can’t trust rumours. And politics is everywhere. But where is the unbiased evidence of how these fires were started? Is there any? If not does that mean we can’t talk about these problems? Some real sociological research into how and why these fires were started will go a long way to improve this understanding. It would also help to scotch the rumors. We might also hope it would de-politicise the arguments, but politics is everywhere and unlikely to disapear anytime soon…James


  4. Dear anonymous, You spotted my problem! I like to talk too much. Anyhow, some clarifications: James has already hinted that I was only clarifying a comment that I did before and you are right, I have not followed the developments in Galicia for many reasons most of which are personal. Besides, the reason why I though these comments were interesting is not because they may be true or not (actually I think I made clear that all the rumours seemed to me incredible) but because they are things that are said among the people, and believed by many. And this is not the only occasion in which I heard those hypotheses. What it is interesting to me is not the truth within those hypotheses but the fact that people bring them about- and sometimes without any evidence behind, as in this case. But yes, I wrote the message waiting in the airport, without thinking it over. This is because I wrote it in a blog; I’m not writing a scientific paper, or a political manifesto, just a piece of opinion. I’m not affirming myself as supporter of anything and I’m not claiming credibility. I’m just talking. And that is what you do in a blog, isn’t it? I just find it amazing that I heard that the fires were made by “firemen that want to ensure their job; civil servants angry for the change of government; speculators that expect to find loopholes in the anti-construction regulations; drug dealers that want to deviate attention from the coast, where the drugs are being brought, in order to continue their business”. I just find every hypotheses crazy. Don’t you? I think I have the right to explain James that I heard all those rumours. What fascinate me about the fires in Spain is not only their extent and their damaging consequences but also the imaginary and mythology that has been built around them.All this recognising that your logic is absolutely impeccable and that sometimes I should just shut up.Best wishes, PS: Anonymous, do I know you? If so, do you want to talk about it? Cheers!


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