If you cast your mind back to January 2014, you may remember a whole lot of commotion in Ibiza as conservationists, concerned residents, protestors, politicians and celebrities rallied together to fight potential oil prospecting off the shores of our beloved white isle. (Can’t remember that far back? This blog may jog your memory.) As a matter of fact, the campaigning had been taking place for the entire three years prior, but it was at this time that the voices were at their loudest, a last ditch attempt to prevent Cairn Energy – a Scottish oil explorer – causing chaos in the Mediterranean.
This week, the voices have returned in full force – although this time the protests have turned to celebratory cries of victory, as the news unfolded that finally, Cairn Energy had withdrawn their plans for Ibiza to move to the north of Spain and off the coast of Catalonia, in addition to Senegal. Of course, as you’d expect, the company denies the massive opposition to the project had anything to do with their decision… but I believe it’s a classic case of tail-between-their-legs retreating and we (and I believe I can take the liberty of speaking for the whole island here) couldn’t be more happy! So to all those people and companies who contributed, protested, signed petitions, attended rallies and raised their voices on behalf of Ibiza… congratulations! YOU MADE A DIFFERENCE!
The anti-oil drilling protests caught the attention of the world when celebs like Kate Moss and Paris Hilton showed their support via Instagram. The world’s best DJs – including Luciano, Fatboy Slim and Carl Cox among many, many others – also got onboard, and the UK press quickly jumped on the story. Our main industry is tourism, and a huge percentage of tourists come directly from the UK, so it makes sense that our European neighbours also supported us. On-island, intense efforts to stop the project were made by Alianza Mar Blava and the Ibiza Preservation Fund – in addition to the dedicated islanders, born-and-bred locals and adopted residents who supported them in the ‘Ibiza says no’ campaign.
Our island has been saved – for now. IPF founder Serena Cook told British newspaper The Guardian that the work is ongoing, as new Ibiza prospecting plans have been announced by a seismic data specialist Spectrum. But we are here. We are ready. We’ve been heard once before, and we’ll make ourselves heard again when needed. And to the people of the Bay of Biscay, the Gulf of Lion and Senegal, where Cairn Energy are planning their next moves… take our story and make it your own. Raise your voices. Protest. Start petitions. Create awareness. Get out there. Because you can make a difference. After all, we did.