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This is the Spanish youth of the most radical climate activism: "We are willing to go to jail"


The members of Futuro Vegetal, a civil disobedience collective created a year ago, have blocked the M-30 and the Vuelta, have stuck to Goya paintings and the Congress rostrum. They fight against global warming and raise more protests for spring

Climate activism is increasing in intensity at the same time that the temperature of the planet increases.

In addition to the protests by classic environmental organizations such as Greenpeace or Ecologistas en Acción, which have been blocking roads or climbing up macro-farms or oil platforms for decades, the radical actions of Futuro Vegetal, a civil disobedience collective created so long ago, have been added in recent months. just a year whose members have made a big splash by sticking to

the pestle

of Goya in the Museo del Prado —an action similar to what international activists from Just Stop Oil had already carried out throughout Europe—, cut part of the M-30 in Madrid or a stage of the Vuelva a España and, last Monday , try to tie themselves to the rostrum of Congress.

They are disruptive actions that attract attention because they subvert the order of things and create discomfort, although they do not damage heritage.

EL PAÍS chats with six of them in Madrid while they prepare new protests: they are young, with university studies and even willing to be imprisoned to achieve their main demand, ending subsidies to the meat industry as a lever to change the food system.

“Although we are very scared, we are willing to go to jail.

The climate future that awaits us is more terrifying ”, they say.

Most are vegetarians, although it is not mandatory: "We are not committed to individual changes, but to systemic ones," they justify.

It is a decentralized collective that is organized through secure internet


and, although its members live in different cities, they coordinate to get together and carry out actions throughout Spain, from Murcia to Barcelona and from Huesca to Tenerife.

Although most of the activists are between the ages of 20 and 40, they say they are also supported by people over 60. In total, they estimate that they have around 300 activists behind them who may take part in some action later.


Two climate activists take their protest to the Congress of Deputies

Climate activists protesting in the hemicycle of Congress 01/25/2023Photo: FUTURO VEGETAL

“Nonviolent civil disobedience allows profound social transformations, and that is what we are looking for.

In addition, it opens a social debate that we should be having in the face of the climate crisis and that governments are ignoring”, says Mauricio Misquero (33 years old), PhD in Physics and professor at the Faculty of Educational Sciences at the University of Granada.

In his case, he was already jailed for a week for a climate protest in Munich.

"We expose ourselves to that, and also to being marginalized and attacked for defending the planet against an unsustainable and unethical system," adds Anarcomonje, a Barcelona tattoo artist who prefers not to give his name or his age.

More information

Tik-tok, Telegram and throwing soup in museums: new ways to fight the climate crisis

"With these actions of civil disobedience, we try to attract the attention of the press and the public to, from there, focus on the fact that we need a change in the economic model," says Bilbo Bassaterra, a 30-year-old law graduate who lives in France and works in the collection of vegetables.

Along with them are Marina Serna, a Biotechnology student in León;

Victoria Domingo, a 37-year-old veterinarian and resident of Barcelona, ​​and Juan Ricardo, 26, who studied Architecture in Madrid, although he abandoned it to start working.

The four participated in cutting the M-30 on a Friday afternoon during the exit operation last Christmas.

“Some drivers became aggressive, but most understood what we were protesting for.

Then the police evicted us,” explains Ricardo.

Several Futuro Vegetal activists (among them Bilbo Bassaterra, Marina Serna, Victoria Domingo and Juan Ricardo) cut off the M-30 in Madrid during the last Christmas Exit Operation.

Don't you fear that these radical protests will be counterproductive to your objectives?

“We are in an unprecedented crisis and no action is being taken to solve it.

Even if it turned against us, we have nothing to lose”, answers Bassaterra.

“These protests can cause rejection, but they serve to increase tolerance for non-violent protest methods and to increase the number of militants in this type of radical collective”, continues the activist.

protest in museums

Undoubtedly, the action that has aroused the most criticism has been that of sticking to the frames of 'las majas' by Francisco de Goya in the Prado Museum, due to the risk to the works of art.

"We only stuck to the frame, the paintings were not in danger," they say.

They also bathed a mummy replica in the Egyptian Museum in Barcelona with fake oil.

“It is allowed to systematically destroy ecosystems, but it seems a scandal to hit a painting, something that is also merely symbolic.

This type of protest breaks our perception of what is allowed and what is not”, responds Mauricio Misquero.

Victoria Domingo adds: "In museums we create a climate to protect art, with a certain humidity and temperature, but we are not capable of thinking about what to do to stop climate change."

Curiously, these protests have received public support from Fernando Castro, exhibition curator and member of the Board of Trustees of the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía.


Two activists stick to Goya's 'Las majas' at the Prado Museum

Two climate activists from Futuro Vegetal stick to the frame of Goya's 'Las Majas' paintings at the Prado Museum. Photo: FUTURO VEGETAL

The actions follow one another: in June they interrupted an important Boxing evening in Badalona presented by the


Ibai Llanos;

in September they cut the stage of the Vuelta a España that left from the El Pozo meat factory, in Murcia;

in November they slipped onto the tennis Davis Cup court in Madrid;

in December they attacked the Cortylandia children's playground, which El Corte Inglés sets up every Christmas in the capital, with red paint.

Last Monday, they took their protest to the Congress rostrum during an open day, although they were quickly evicted.

For several of these actions, the activists accumulate fines (based on the

gag law

) that total about 3,500 euros and have several administrative processes open that can end in new sanctions.

The collective is financed through private donations, which it also requests to face the fines.

They claim to have raised about 30,000 euros in their first year of life.

If what they ask is to fight against global warming, why this emphasis on the meat industry?

According to the Spanish Emissions Inventory (2020), agriculture and livestock together are only responsible for 14% of greenhouse gas emissions, with transport (27%) and industry (20.8%) being much more important. and not far from electricity generation (11.8%) and residential and commercial consumption (9.2%).

Bassaterra responds: “Those are the data in Spain, but you have to look at it globally.

The UN considers that livestock is one of the largest emitters globally.

In addition, it drives deforestation in the Amazon and in Argentina to grow soybeans for animal feed, which is then shipped to Europe to feed our animals.”

One of its priority objectives are macro-farms, which contaminate aquifers and soils;

That is why they have already protested in slaughterhouses, supermarkets and meat industries.

Nor do they defend extensive livestock farming, more focused on rural areas.

“You need six to twelve times as many plants to feed an animal as you do to feed yourself.

In addition, agriculture consumes a lot of water resources in a context in which Spain will be increasingly drier," says Domingo.

Bassaterra tercia: "We want to end subsidies for livestock to allocate them to a socially and ecologically responsible alternative based on vegetables, which would also repopulate the rural world."

Complete Misquero: “Even

The Economist

assumes that the global food system is on the brink of collapse.

It is reasonable that public money encourages people to grow their own vegetables.

Members of Futuro Vegetal chain themselves in the Carrefour in Santa Cruz de Tenerife to protest against the climate crisis.

His claim goes ahead.

In their twitter account they warn: “If the subsidies for livestock do not stop in February, Futuro Vegetal will escalate in constant disruption.

We already warned you, but our demand is still being ignored because it jeopardizes the interests of the mafia meat industry."

They are preparing new protests for the end of March, which will last almost daily for a month.

"We already have more than 50 people willing to carry out protests that may end in arrests, and another 30 in support" (to take photographs or videos or negotiate with the police), they warn.

Anarchomonje summarizes: “Someone has to be over the top for things to change.

We are an active minority but we are looking for a critical mass to generate a change of consciousness”.

Bassaterra concludes: "At this stage we want to be known, but the ultimate goal of our civil disobedience is to go to the meat industries and get them to stop production."

It seems that the protests will continue to increase in intensity.





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Source: elparis

All news articles on 2023-02-06

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