Dryland

In between travels, designing new collections, meetings and other diversions, I barely have time to see friends from life.

It's not that I am complaining because I am immensely happy with my life as a traveller, but from time to time I long to see my friends, the streets I know, the friendly cafes, the memories which I try to incorporate into my current life...

Carmen had just returned from Valdepeñas, in Ciudad Real, and had time to stay and eat with me, so we booked a table at Fran’s restaurant - an old friend and companion from way back. When we arrived at ‘La Carcava’, Fran was waiting for us in one of the prettiest corners of the dining room. A dim but warm light bathed us. It had been such a long time that we had all been together, more than half a year and we had much to talk about.

We talked the night away whilst we looked at the menu which Fran had prepared in honour of Carmen’s origins, Valdepeñas. We started off with a delicious and refreshing gazpacho, which was so delicious we were too busy consuming it to talk.

Although Carmen smiled a beautiful smile as always, we detected some sort of restlessness and sorrow in Carmen's face. "Carmen, you seem distracted and sad. Is something worrying you?", I asked whilst we waited for the second dish, which Antonio, the waiter, brought us. The other two ordered pickled partridges, and as I do not eat meat, I enjoyed a salpicón which briefly took me away to the sound of the sea... I could almost hear the fisherman pulling in their nets.

Well, the truth is that Carmen did answer my question. "The vineyard is going through a bad patch at the moment, the droughts are endangering the crops, and it is not only the quantity of wine being produced which is threatened, but also the quailty."

Carmen fought back the tears: "There are some wine producers in the area who are pondering whether to re-locate to northern Europe, where the effects of global warming make it a more suitable area for wine production. But my family do not want to leave the area they have lived in for centuries. The people do not realise that what is important is to look after our environment – it is our home which is at stake and nobody does anything about it." Finally, the tears stopped and Carmen was able to continue...

Fran and I were confused. Everyday you hear in the media, documentaries, conferences, pamphlets and books about the effects of global warming, yet still people think that it is an issue that is far removed from their lives – something in the polar extremities. How wrong we are!

The deserts arrived with honey, french toast and pestino. And although they looked delicious, we were losing our appetite. We could only think about what Carmen had just said, that people are not taking this global problem we face seriously.

There are those who excuse themselves from responsibilty by claiming there is nothing we can do, or that they do not have the time or money – they are all excuses. They believe that our earth and our civilisation, albeit a long time away, inevitably must end, but what if they are wrong?

We have to do what we can to stop global warming – to use our cars less and instead use public transport such as bicycles, use renewable energies and more efficient electrical appliances, and to recycle. But above all we have our voice, to make ourselves heard, to put pressure on the governments to take note of this threat to our earth and civilisation. We have to appeal for the political will to fight this problem, because if we do nothing about it now, tomorrow may be too late.