Even in death, people in Spain cannot escape the economic crisis. Funeral services carry the highest VAT (value added tax) rate, alongside entertainment like nightclubs, and luxury products.
"You live there for free, don't you?" asked a woman as she passed by the Buenaventura "corrala", a community in a building in this southern Spanish city occupied since February by families evicted from their homes for falling behind in their mortgage payments due to unemployment.
A 280-square-metre warehouse in Coín, a municipality in the southern Spanish province of Málaga, is home to a unique type of farm, where insects are raised for human consumption and the production of animal feed. But despite FAO’s endorsement of insects as food, there are numerous obstacles holding back the development of this industry.
Economy professor Arcadi Oliveres has become a popular face of the growing discontent in Spain because he calls a spade a spade.
The people in the textile factory where Lourdes Soler presented the design of her skirts had never seen such detailed “blueprints” of a garment. Spain’s depressed labour market forced the technical architect to reinvent herself and create her own job – a growing trend in this crisis-stricken country.
The economic crisis began in the United States under the administration of then-President George W. Bush, following the collapse of the Lehman Brothers Bank. It came as a result of unregulated globalisation and a neoliberal ideology that places usurious markets, offshore bank accounts, and money for the sake of money, above state power. It is an ideology that ignores citizens, even as they starve.
The death of a young Senegalese man from tuberculosis in Spain, following alleged lack of medical care, triggered a new outcry by civil society organisations against the law passed last year that excludes undocumented immigrants from the public health system except in emergencies.
Capannori, a rural town in the Italian province of Lucca, in Tuscany, boasts a proud history. Six years ago, it became a trendsetter and leader, not just in Italy but throughout all of Europe, as the continent's first Zero Waste town.
For a long time it was a given that while Europe was based on defending a more just society, with social values and solidarity, the United States was based on the glory of individualism and competition, and anything public was considered “socialist”.
Spain has more large-scale plantations of genetically modified seeds than any other country in the European Union (EU).
Public outcry against evictions this week led Spain's parliament to accept a popular initiative against mortgage-related evictions for unpaid debts, which in the past seven days have led to four suicides.
The Spanish public is well aware of the widespread exploitation of workers in the globalised garment industry. But low prices, shrinking buying power and the lure of brand names act as strong disincentives to responsible clothes shopping.
The severe crisis crippling Spain is also sparking some creative responses, such the Okonomía project, a teaching initiative that helps individuals and communities to understand the workings of the economy and make more informed decisions to manage their finances.
"That's where I sleep," says Fernando, indicating a puddled area under a bridge. A 62-year-old Portuguese citizen, he has lived in Spain for 15 years, and he is part of the growing number of homeless people in this country wracked by a merciless economic and financial crisis.
Having survived the announced end of the world on Dec. 21, we can now try to foretell our immediate future, based on geopolitical principles that will help us understand the overall shifts of global powers and assess the major risks and dangers.
When the Desertec Industrial Initiative (DII), an alliance of 21 major European corporations, first unveiled plans to install a network of solar thermal, photovoltaic, and wind plants across the North African Maghreb region to generate electricity, the project was greeted as a ‘green utopia’.
The austerity programmes being rolled out in virtually every member state of the European Union (EU) - particularly in Greece, Portugal, Spain and Italy - have failed to reach their stated objective of consolidating public finances in order to solve sovereign debt crises.
“Look out there, the blue one…. that is a European Union fishing vessel that is threatening our livelihood,” says Lallmamode Mohamedally, a Mauritian fisherman, as he points to a boat offloading its catch at the Les Salines port, close to the country’s capital Port Louis.
"This is war. Parliament has got to go! They're trying to make civil servants take the blame for a situation that was caused by the banking sector and which the government has allowed to happen."
A filthy vacant lot is now sprouting strawberries, tomatoes and carrots. This small community garden in the centre of the southern Spanish city of Málaga was created by the "Indignados" protest movement, which is celebrating its first anniversary Saturday by taking to the streets across the country.
Though Vitoria-Gasteiz, capital of the Basque Country, was elected the European Green Capital of 2012 – an award presented by the European Union to promote and reward efforts to mitigate climate change – Spain still has a long way to go to earn the label of ‘sustainable’ for others cities around the country.