Grey matter. Drilling into the core of the Earth Vs drilling into the core of the Brain. (by Diego Fdez-Sevilla)
Looking at the latest governmental decisions taken in Spain on sectors such as education, health services, research and science vs oil prospecting and fracking, it seems that the most valuable grey matter available is not coming from the brain but from the ground. Who would it know? The sector of research and the implementation of their members and their output is somehow missing from the plans design by a government to strengthen the pillars of a sustainable economy. The sector in itself seems to play no pressure over the policies applied to define employment conditions. Furthermore, society does not offer any support to fight for an improvement, and the scientific international community is divided by profit markets and self defence. As a result, a whole country, sacrifices the whole sector of research in order to reorganise the internal economic situation based on that there is no opposition strong enough to do otherwise. A naive move from an unknowledgeable mindset. Such policy/mentality prefers to support drilling into the core of the Earth to find petrol than drilling into the core of the brain cortex to find brightness that would help in identifying issues, find solutions and develop technologies.
(2014) Repsol Wins Approval for $10 Billion Project Off Spain.
Spain’s environment ministry cleared the plan with conditions, Deputy Minister Federico Ramos said in a briefing yesterday. The decision follows a reconfirmation in 2012 of an exploration license first awarded in 2001 and later tied up in court battles. The decision advances plans by Spain’s largest oil company to hunt for fields in an area geologists estimate may be able to supply about 10 percent of national demand.
Letting Repsol drill about 40 miles (64 kilometers) off Lanzarote and Fuerteventura islands, where political leaders oppose the project for fear of harming the environment and tourist industry, shows the resolve of Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy to revive domestic energy exploration after decades of decline…
(2013) Fears of oil spills and drilling grip residents of Canary Islands
If the Spanish government gives Repsol the green light to begin drilling for oil, the company will carry out two exploratory surveys around 60 kilometers off the coast of Lanzarote and Fuerteventura, starting in May 2014. One of the main criticisms from opponents to the planned drilling is the absence of any contingency plan in the environmental impact report the company has prepared. Sources at Repsol say they are working on a plan, but do not know when it will be ready, but insist that an accident is “almost impossible.” But they do admit that between 2006 and 2010 Repsol was responsible for more than 6,900 “incidents” worldwide involving not just exploration and drilling, but also land transport of crude oil.
The environmental impact of oil production on the islands’ rich and varied marine life will be catastrophic. In the event of any kind of spill or accident, the islands’ tourism sector, which contributes almost a third of GDP, will be negatively affected. What’s more, the Canary Islands depend on desalinated seawater. Then there is the question of just who is going to benefit from oil production, and most people say that it will be Repsol, not them.
At the same time …
(2012) Bigger-Than-Expected Budget Cuts Hit Spanish Scientists
Spanish scientists’ hopes that the long-delayed 2012 national budget would spare their research funding were quashed today as the government announced a 25% funding cut compared to last year.
(2013) Spanish scientists protest to save research
Scientists gathered in public meetings in 19 Spanish cities this morning under the slogan ‘Let’s save research’. The gatherings were called by the Letter for Science movement, a coalition that includes the main scientific organizations of the country.
According to the movement, 5,000 scientists in Madrid marched from the central building of the National Council for Scientific Research (CSIC) to the economy ministry — which is responsible for science — to deliver an open letter proposing ‘ten commandments’, aimed at stopping “the ruin of the Spanish science system”.
The movement has been brewing for more than a year. Spanish scientists issued an open letter in March 2012 and took to the streets in December 2012 in protest against heavy cuts in science spending and hiring. “What has happened since has only worsened the painful scenario we denounced,” says the latest open letter, published on 21 May. That letter also called for today’s protest, to stop the “dismantlement of a system that took decades to be created”.
After more than doubling its investment in science between the late 1990s and 2009, the state has cut the science budget by 39% since 2009. In 2011 the government of the right-wing People’s Party eliminated the science ministry and continued with the cuts, and it has said that it does not plan any funding increases for 2014. Spain has only partially paid its membership dues to research organizations such as the European Science Foundation and the European Space Agency.
Just only one type of grey matter can elongate life, many times by giving the power to learn from our mistakes…
(Nov 2002) BBC News. Stricken oil tanker sinks. (The “Prestige”).
A stricken tanker which has been leaking oil off the north-west coast of Spain has sunk after breaking apart, taking thousands of tons of fuel with it. Oil was scooped from the sea by Spanish fishermen.
The European Commission has declared that catastrophe could have been averted if governments had enforced new rules which oblige authorities to inspect at least a quarter of all ships entering their ports. The legislation targets ships like the Prestige, an older, single-hulled vessel suspected of carrying a so-called flag of convenience.
French President Jacques Chirac said: “I am horrified by the inability of those in charge, politically, nationally and particularly at European level, to take action to stem the laxity which permits these ships fit only for the dustbin to carry on. “Now we must urgently take draconian measures, both severe and serious, even if they harm the interests of certain companies whose interests are not worth defending.”
… As “local residents” pushed ahead with an emergency clean-up operation, other European countries offered assistance in response to a Spanish appeal. Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar – under fire from environmentalists for what they consider to be a timid response to the disaster – has vowed to make whoever is responsible pay for Spain’s worst shipping disaster in 10 years.
(2014) ELPais. Prestige judge finds “no criminal responsibility” for huge oil disaster
Eleven years after Spain’s biggest environmental catastrophe, a judge in A Coruña on Wednesday acquitted the captain of the Prestige oil tanker, the former director of the Merchant Marine during the Aznar administration and the ship’s chief engineer, all of whom had been charged for their involvement in the mammoth oil spill.
Reading from a lengthy sentence, presiding Judge Juan Luis Pía also said that the then government of Popular Party (PP) Prime Minister José María Aznar should not be held responsible for the November 13, 2002 incident, in which some 63,000 tons of crude were spilled into the Atlantic, polluting Spain’s northwestern coastline, parts of the Portuguese coast and reaching as far as France.
The worst part of this situation is that it is coming from quite some years ago already.
Here I leave a Spanish newspaper article in which I participated when I was in UK in the closing stages of submitting my thesis back in 2006.