Young African men enjoy a game each day at 7 pm, excluding Mondays, on the outskirts of Cuevas del Almanzora (Andalusia). The Almanzora River, which flows nearby, has almost completely dried out due to droughts and agricultural practices in the area. The water reservoir, located 7 kilometers to the northwest, is considered technically ‘dead’ and needs to be diverted from other rivers to supply the region with water. Cuevas del Almanzora, August 2020.

Greenhouse fields in southern Spain, also known as ‘Mar de Plástico’ (Sea of Plastic), in the province of Almeria. In the vicinities of Adra gates hide, not just hectares of greenhouses, but dying lands affected by waste pollution and chemicals. The agroindustrial complex was born in the 60's, during Franco's autarky. Almost sixty years later, this territory of southern Spain has become the largest greenhouse in the world. The unsustainable invasion of greenhouses has expanded to exceed more than 30,000 hectares of Mediterranean nature. Adra, July 2021.

An empty clean laboratory, affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. Sener Aeroespacial is a Spanish aerospace research and engineering company, with a vocation on monitoring and knowing the nature and scope of the problems caused by human activity, with special attention to desertification that advances throughout the peninsula. In November 2020, a ’human error’ caused the rocket carrying Spain’s SeoSat-Ingenio and France’s Taranis to deviate from its course, ruining a mission that cost 10 years of work and €200 million to track desertification and other climate change phenomena in Europe. Barcelona, February 2021.

Strabo already described parts of central Spain as ‘arid sprawling plains’ two thousand years ago, but each concession to coastal tourism, agribusiness, ‘zombie reservoirs’, over-irrigation, overgrazing, abandoned quarries, rural depopulation... has been proclaiming an accentuation and expansion of aridity around the peninsula during the recent decades, leaving a desertified future Spain. In the picture, the central plain of Castilla, where there are hundreds of thousands of hectares at high or very high risk of desertification mainly to unequal distribution of resources, political instability, deforestation, overgrazing, and poor irrigation practices negatively affecting soil productivity in Don Quixote's motherland. Guadalajara, March 2022.

The expansion of the Spanish desert entails its peculiarities. In the Monegros desert, in the north of the country, camels can be found living in captivity or semi-freedom. In the photograph, a camel owned by the Hotel Cueva Tardienta Monegros grazes in the Aragonese steppe. Tardienta, April 2022.

The touristic use of the Spanish desert. In Tabernas, where spaghetti westerns used to be filmed, are the authentic cowboy scenarios turned today into a theme park. This fictional town is enveloped by a surreal mysticism, inside, some of their visitors are invaded by western live-action role-playing. Tabernas has not just become a recreational oasis in the heart of a desert, it is also an environmental premonition of what Spain could be at the end of the 21st century. Tabernas, June 2021.

Spain reigns in the ranking of European countries where the sun always shines. Mediterranean Spain is the sunniest region in Europe and the climate supposes an overwhelming attraction for most foreigners. However, not everything shines during the warm days. More than 300 days of sunshine on average per year are common in southern parts of Spain where droughts and water-scarce in reservoirs are common. Tarragona, May 2022.

A lost door hit by torrential rains in southern Catalonia. Over 215 liters per square meter fell in the region during the 1st of September. This phenomenon exposes the poor urban planning of the southern Catalan coast. The growth of towns at the mouths of the streams has caused hundreds of victims since the mid-twentieth century. Meanwhile, Tarragona is the Catalan region most at risk of desertification. Contrary to what most people might believe, heavy rainfall can erode soil itself and cause waterlogging, subsidence, and consequently desertification. Cases d’Alcanar, September 2021.

A metal foundry in Òdena, Barcelona. Here, raw materials from mining activities are transformed into machining and daily-use components. The everyday transformation of our habitat for our material benefits is a worldwide phenomenon, while strip mining destroys landscapes, forests, and wildlife habitats at the site of the mine when trees, plants, and topsoil are cleared from the mine. Òdena, March 2021.

Dynamite explodes and the dust invades Alcover’s mountain. A quarry in southern Catalonia. Quarrying activities such as limestone extraction entail significant visual desertification. Despite the efforts of some companies, continued open-pit mining activities produce inert areas that are extremely difficult to rehabilitate. Alcover, March 2021.

The silicon head of Franco by Eugenio Merino. More than 40 years after his death, Franco is still capable of stirring up controversy in Spain, the opening of the exhibition 'Franco, Victòria, República' in Barcelona back in 2016 was another evidence of the eternal dialogue of a country dealing with its difficult past. Many statues of Franco were taken down a long time ago but controversy still rages over streets and buildings that retain names linked to the dictatorship. Forty years after the dictator's death, the dispute transcends politics. Barcelona, October 2016.