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‘Formentera, one year after’, Javier Parejo’s photo tribute to islanders

cartell 2021 javi parejo 1The Formentera Department of Culture reports that Monday 15 March, exactly twelve months after emergency orders went into effect across Spain, Javier Parejo will pull the curtain back on Formentera, un any després (Formentera, one year after). The display of photos will be on view in the Centre Antoni Tur “Gabrielet” courtyard from 15 to 31 March, 10.00am to 2.00pm and 6.00pm to 8.00pm, Tuesday to Saturday.

As the photographer put it, “It’s a year since we masked up. A year of precious few embraces and of half-smiles. It’s been... sad”. Parejo seized on the one year mark to reach out to local government about collaborating on the exhibition, which he said was about “thanking the people of Formentera: it’s been a difficult situation, but you’ve hung in there”.

Lockdown and de-escalation
The exhibition comprises 24 photos taken between 14 March and 30 May 2020, days when Parejo hit the street, camera in hand, and attempted to capture the actions and reactions of islanders in the midst of the pandemic. The photographer says he was struck by the idea that “if there’s such thing as an ideal backdrop for a lockdown, it’s an island. And an island like Formentera in particular”.

Some of the scenes photographed are empty spaces, others are of islanders going about their daily business amid decidedly unusual times. “We see the lives of people whose awareness has grown and who have adapted. The people looking at the camera are giving thanks — to themselves and to others”, says Parejo.

The photographer’s message is one of all-encompassing gratitude: for the woman who sells bread, the one making masks in a garage, or the mother who can finally play football with her son. “We’re not out of the tunnel yet”, said Parejo, “but I wanted to offer this tribute for the effort everyone’s making”.

Parejo’s website offers an online tour of the exhibition, including extras that bring the total number of snapshots to 40. A photographer and local business owner, Parejo was born in Extremadura but has lived on Formentera since age four. Visitors to his website can also read his full bio and learn about past works.

11 March 2021
Communications Department
Consell de Formentera

Conclusions of SPP-winner ‘Antroposi’ made public

foto 2021 presentacio imedea 1The Formentera offices of tourism and environment report that the Mediterranean Institute for Advanced Studies (Imedea) took to the Internet yesterday to share conclusions from its study of the impact of drainage pipes, moorage and other human activity during the Anthropocene on meadows of posidonia seagrass. “Antroposi” won €83,821.54 in 2017 after it was named one of the winners of the inaugural edition of the Consell de Formentera-backed Save Posidonia Project.

Consell de Formentera premiere and tourism chief Alejandra Ferrer praised Imedea, the Formentera offices of tourism and environment and all those who participated in SPP by adopting square metres of seagrass meadows. “SPP came about as a way to use marketing around Formentera’s environmental engagement to get businesses and regular people involved in protecting our natural surroundings”, said Ferrer, “islanders and tourists alike had to be familiarised with the issue to understand why protecting posidonia and our local habitat mattered”. She insisted real progress would take a great deal of inter-agency coordination, but said safeguarding the seagrass was “a quality of life issue, and ultimately, an economic one too”.

For his part, Antonio J Sanz applauded the efforts of Imedea researchers: “They are helping us understand the science behind what’s happening to our posidonia meadows, and insight they share will be invaluable as our local government —the closest to ground-zero on this issue— works to protect this element of our natural heritage.”

Imedea researcher Iris Hendricks presented conclusions from over a year’s worth of research that focused on various swaths of nearby seafloor in seeking to understand how humans affect the seagrass when they release sewage into the water or anchor on or navigate above posidonia meadows.

Effect of sewage pipes on Posidonia oceanica
Researchers compared seagrass near a sewage pipe, where levels of inorganic nutrients are high, with seagrass located at some distance (the control) and determined after one year of monitoring that the former exhibited 24% less growth. Rates of nitrogen and carbon particle sedimentation were also greater nearer to the pipes — 6.2 and 9.5 times higher, respectively. The researchers concluded that the source of nitrogen was indeed the pipes, and that nearby seagrass was storing the nitrogen in its tissue.

The researchers were also able to determine that ambient light and thus photosynthesis rates were similar near and far from the effluent pipes, concluding that sewage in the water did not impede photosynthesis by blocking light.

As for large watercraft like ferries, researchers determined that their passage was to blame for increased levels of turbulence and sedimentation in meadows near Es Freus.

€112,000 for next SPP winners
The most recent edition SPP has been allocated €112,000, funding which is currently in the final stages of approval. Eleven proposals were received, and the expected winner would look at the impact of “emergent pollutants” on Formentera’s posidonia meadows. “Since SPP launched 252,000 square metres of seagrass have been adopted”, said the environment chief, who asserted that with 76.5 million square metres of posidonia in adjacent seabed, “there’s still plenty left that can be adopted”.

President Ferrer insisted in her closing remarks that “right now Formentera has an opportunity. We all saw the recovery of the surrounding natural ecosystem during the absence of human activity during lockdown. We need to attack our problems at their root rather than focusing on the downstream effects, and studies like this one will help us make real progress.”

11 March 2021
Communications Department
Consell de Formentera

Land hand-off for public housing in Sant Ferran

foto 2021 conveni IBAVIConsell de Formentera chief Alejandra Ferrer and Balearic mobility and housing minister Josep Marí Ribas sat down today to sign a deal freeing up a plot of land in Sant Ferran for public housing. Under the agreement, Formentera’s government will give the Balearic housing agency a parcel on carrer d’Alacant so it can build 16 to 20 new units of housing, with the regional minister indicating construction could start as soon as May 2022.

The premiere explained to Marí Ribas that access to housing was one of the island’s biggest problems and one that has grown worse with the crisis. She also detailed progress on efforts to regulate holiday rentals and free up housing for residents, stressing the need to create a housing office.

For his part, the Balearic mobility and housing minister welcomed the hand-off of the land: “We live in a finite territory where demand for land is high, and we know freeing up buildable lots is difficult, so I’d like to applaud the local collaboration that made this possible.”

Last December in plenary, decision makers on the island voted to offer the 784.8-square-metre plot to the regional housing authority for public housing. To set the wheels in motion on a draft project, IBAVI will launch a call for architectural ideas this April, with drafting of the basic project and execution to follow.

First inter-administration encounter
Before the land grant deal was signed, the Balearic minister’s first official visit to Formentera found him meeting with Ferrer, local deputy chief and housing councillor Ana Juan and mobility councillor Rafael González too. The officials spoke about regulating ferry connections between Eivissa and Formentera through creation of maritime transport guidelines, part of a twofold effort to meet resident and tourist demand and guarantee environmental sustainability. The officials also discussed formentera.eco and the importance of public moorage points.

10 March 2021
Communications Department
Consell de Formentera

Sunday concert series returns

cartell 2021 aperitius musicalsThe Formentera Department of Culture reports that this Sunday marks the return of the weekend music series known as “Musical Aperitifs” (Aperitius musicals). Scheduled to take place in the Centre “Gabrielet” courtyard, the weekend’s-end concerts go from 12 noon to 2.00pm and run until 25 April.

As usual, space is limited, with organisers setting capacity at 20 and attendees asked to remain seated, observe distancing measures and keep masks on at all times. The initiative was launched and resumes today in an effort to support hometown musicians and offer cultural programming while still respecting public health measures.

10 March 2021
Communications Department
Consell de Formentera

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