green spain Spanish Culture and News

The “Africanization” of Southern Spain

Murcia, cactus

Photo: Murcia, Drying Up

“The Spanish Environment Ministry estimates that one-third of the county is at risk of turning into desert from a combination of climate change and poor land use. Still, national officials visibly stiffen when asked about the "Africanization" of Spain’s climate – a term now common among scientists.”

The above quote comes from a must-read article in the New York times. It is the first time I have heard the term "Africanization" applied to the future of the country’s climate, and it does not paint an optimistic picture.

Temperatures are rising, but as the article points out, in areas such as Murcia this also has a lot to do with water management, or mis-management perhaps, where the endless new golf courses are concerned. But then grass, when grown for golf courses, is said to be the most profitable crop on the planet, bringing in top tourist dollar (or euros) for local communities.

One thing is for sure, Marina and I often still dream of moving to the coast one day, but whereas we used to think about setting up long-term in Andalusia, we now think very seriously about making that investment in the north, just in case the worst-case "Africanization" scenarios come true in the next 20 to 30 years. After all, who wants to end up living in a desert?