How the Spanish government and Instituto Hemmingway are helping combat climate change By: Marleni Chavana
Climate change has affected nations all over the world, and Spain is no exception. Spain has experienced rising temperatures and a drought that has left 20% of mainland Spain desertified and 74% is at risk of becoming one.
As a result, the this.Spanish government and organizations like Instituto Hemingway are doing their part to help combat this.
The Spanish government has taken steps to improve the nation’s climate outlook. In 2021, the Spanish parliament approved Law 7/2021, which aims to bring the nation into compliance with the 2016 Paris Agreement.
This new act focuses on decreasing Spain’s greenhouse gas emissions and energy consumption, and increasing the nation’s renewable energy creation and usage. Spain has been making strides with decreasing their negative climate impact, as 40% of the electricity produced in 2022 was generated by renewable energy and it currently has over 1,000 wind farms installed throughout the country.
The nation seeks to be climate neutral by 2050, and efforts like this are helping move it forward towards that goal.
Organizations like Instituto Hemingway are also doing their part to combat climate change. Instituto Hemingway offers people multiple ways to get involved in conservation efforts and help combat climate change. One is through its beach clean up volunteer program. Bilbao’s geographic location on Spain’s northern coast provides the unique opportunity for Instituto Hemingway participants to make a direct impact on the coastal environment through their beach clean up program. Combating trash on the beach is an especially important issue for Spain, as given its location it receives the trash from the currents coming from Northern Europe, the Mediterranean and Northern African region, and even the Americas.
For instance, on Chinijo Archipelago Nature Reserve in the Canary Islands, which is Europe’s largest marine reserve, between 4,500 kgs and 6,000 kgs of waste is picked up from the beaches by volunteers each season, with the National Parks Agency picking up an additional 20,000 kgs. Given that an estimated 84% of trash on European beaches is plastic, this debris is very harmful to the overall ocean ecosystem.
In an effort to counter this, volunteers with Instituto Hemingway are able to help clean up the local coastline and remove trash from the beach. Participants are able to collect debris and recycle any found plastic waste.
This is particularly significant as only around 30% of Europe’s plastic waste is recycled each year.
The Spanish government is further encouraging the use of recycling through the institution of a material sorted recycling system, which participants follow when sorting their collected waste.8 Given that ocean trash kills over 100,000 marine animals per year the work that IH volunteers are doing is life saving and an important part of keeping the Basque coastline clean.
Recycling products also helps Spain reach its energy goals and comply with the 2016 Paris Agreement. Making a bottle from recycled plastic takes 75% less energy than using new materials.10 Recycling also saves between 30% and 80% of carbon emissions that would otherwise be output by factories making new plastic. By getting involved with beach clean up projects like the one Instituto Hemingway hosts, volunteers are able to tackle climate change hands on and protect the ecosystem of the Spanish coast. To learn more about this program and get involved, check out Our website