Published: 11/25/2006 - Updated: 09/30/2018
The depopulation of rural areas is one of the socioeconomic problems that affect Spain. Currently only 18% of Spaniards live in the area, thus losing the opportunities of development for these regions. Since the 60s the country has become an urban nation, where 65% of the population is crowded into large cities and 17% in intermediate cores.
Hence the importance of initiatives like the "Embrace the Earth", a group of 15 rural development communities of Castilla y Leon, Cantabria, Aragón and Comunidad de Madrid seeking "to maintain people alive. "
The "Embrace the Earth" is directed to people who want to develop their project work and life in rural areas, with their own initiatives and viable in the town in which to live, participating in the life of that community and its activities and integrating with the rest of the neighbors.
Back to their ancestral lands
For more than a year, a reception has been launched that offers information and advice on business plan (feasibility, potential access to aid, existing communications) but also on the draft living (rental or purchase options for housing, existing services in the municipalities).
“Embrace the Earth” offers support and monitoring during the initial stages of arrival by a figure, the guardian of the people that a person is charged with facilitating the integration of the new neighbor in the new environment and in everyday life.
The project hopes that the return of people to rural areas and the gradual increase of the population in these areas an increase in the quality of life, relieving the feeling of loneliness that accompanies the winter in many places of the Spanish (in Castilla and Leon, for example, 78% of the municipalities have fewer than 500 inhabitants).
It is also expected to increase the political clout of rural areas for which they may benefit from increased investment and have better services, as well as the revitalization of the territory with the launch of new business ventures, and enhancement of the rural lifestyle.
For its part the "neorurals" can in this way work as employees or entrepreneurs to access to opportunities for employment and residence in rural areas that have hitherto not been sufficiently promoted, attend a reception that contrasted guaranteed a solution, and enjoy the value that the rural areas have.
There are other similar initiatives to the project “Embrace the Earth”, such as "ecovillages" which put more emphasis on coexistence between people and nature. Iberian Ecovillage Network describes itself as "a project of life", which aims to "learn to share between people" and "grateful care" of nature that makes human existence.
The philosophy of ecovillages is based on four cornerstones: objectives, collective decision-making, integration of vital aspects (ecological, social, cultural, economic, technological, political, spiritual) community structure and dynamics.
This way of rural life is not only because there are "urban ecovillages”. The best known example is Christiania in Copenhagen, but there are others in Berlin, Amsterdam or Stockholm. The Valdepiélagos, a village of barely 350 people in Madrid, has been defined as "peri-urban ecovillage" and there is also a project in Seville to "bring nature into inhabited areas."
Other arguments put forward by “Embrace the Earth” invite urbanites to make a change of life is that from the 80's began a gradual process of returning to rural areas whose values are attractive to many people, also improving infrastructure and facilitating communications in rural areas to develop business initiatives that are not only linked to the primary sector.
Recently proposed cooperation between Embrace the Earth was the winner of the second edition of the Prize Info Rural Castilla y León. The award is part of the fifth Rural Info Forum, a meeting point and space for reflection on such topics as the information society, new technologies and education.
“Embrace the Earth” won unanimous recognition from the jury because of the approach since it deals with rural development and the importance that the initiative is given to the use of new technologies on employment.
In the award ceremony, the spokesperson of “Embrace the Earth” Concha Hernandez thanked the award noting the importance of the initiative means that the recognition of his work in combating depopulation.
“From the rural areas for many years studying and observing the depopulation, Embrace the Earth is a practical response that comes after an analysis of the initiatives that have taken place in rural areas with the aim of attracting people. In the work phase in which we now have the opportunity to see beyond the depopulation, the factors necessary and urgent for the people that come to life, neighbors and future, "Concha Hernandez.