Author: Marta Baena (UCO)
Editor: Miranda García (AEIDL)
We interviewed Sara Díaz Martín, a Madrid-born resident in Val d’Aran since 2014. Sara is a mountain lover and she has studied Forestry Engineering specialised in Industry at the Polytechnic University of Madrid (UPM). She is also a Mountain and Climbing Sports Technician (Level I) at the Madrid High Mountain School and an Interpreter Guide of the Aigüestortes i Estany de Sant Maurici National Park at the Escola de Técnics Esportius Val d’Aran.
Since January 2009, Sara is also a web developer, designer and content creator of the blog Bailando con Sarrios. She writes articles about mountaineering, ski mountaineering, trail running, road cycling, and all kinds of mountain activities. For these reasons, MOVING decided to get her view on the work carried out by the project and the need to give mountains the place they deserve.
Q. Are mountain value chains given the relevance they deserve and the necessary support?
Currently, mountain value chains are not given the importance or the support they would deserve. Mountains are essential for our lives, and the objective of the MOVING project is to improve existing mountain value chains and/or to create new ones. All of this is to strengthen mountain production systems in the face of the challenge of climate change or depopulation.
Q. How do you think a project like MOVING benefits mountain territories?
MOVING benefits mountains in all its aspects as it analyses the future of European mountain areas. The main objective of this project is to identify the existing value chains of mountain areas and to determine their vulnerability to obvious threats such as climate change, depopulation or changes in land use. In other words, MOVING helps to understand the reality of mountain areas.
If MOVING partners manage to analyse existing threats in mountain areas, we can also identify the possible scenarios for the future of these territories in the medium and long term.
Q. What do you think about the objectives pursued by the MOVING project?
I believe that policymakers and researchers in mountain areas should have focused on analysing the value chain of goods or services, from its starting point until its marketing, as this would have allowed to valorise their local resources in mountain areas. Unfortunately, this has not happened.
They also should have investigated how mountain value chains are generated in order to assess their connectivity, resilience and sustainability.
For this reason, I think that we should all support the MOVING project, mainly because we should all be interested in the future of our mountain areas, in the future of our country and, in the long run, in the future of our planet.
Q. Do you consider relevant the role of Spanish mountain value chains in MOVING?
Spain plays a very relevant role in the MOVING project. Three value chains have been chosen and are currently analysed. These are the Sierra Morena Iberian ham Value Chain, the Spanish Pyrenees mountain wine Value Chain, and the Organic olive oil from the Betic System.
The three value chains are nationally and internationally known products, of very high quality, and all have been affected, among other factors, by climate change. Climate change is increasingly accelerated in our country by depopulation, land abandonment or the endangerment of the habitat where each of these products is developed.
Q. According to you, is there still a lot to do about the contribution to resilience and sustainability provided by mountain areas?
We have to insist on the added value of mountain areas for all of us, both to past generations (our parents and our grandparents) and future generations (our children and our grandchildren).
Today, our children and grandchildren are more concerned about new technologies and social networks than about the environment, and it happens the same with our parents and grandparents. Although past generations lived in other times more in harmony with or in contact with the natural environment but more complicated in all aspects (economic, political, religious, etc.), it seems they have forgotten the importance of the environment.