License to drill.
they say that good things take their time, so now we guess is the perfect moment to welcome you in dub. We know each other for many years and i love your work, but as some of our dear readers don’t know you let’s start from scratch, shall we?
Hello Andy, yes we go back a long way, I am fan of dub Magazine and really appreciate this interview, let me answer your questions in the best possible manner.
Wen did you arrive to the island for the first time? And why?
It was in 1988 when I was out partying in Amsterdam in the ‘Roxy Club’ where I met a doorman who worked in Amnesia during the summer months. At the same time I met as well a male Gogo dancer with a moustache working in Pacha. Both recommended to visit Ibiza as they knew my fable for the nocturnal life and for dancing, so I came down to the island. I arrived on the 13th of May 1988 and instantly fell in love with the island, its climate, people, the freedom, its craze and its beauty. I was raised and educated in Holland but I come from Creta, so I am an islander by origin…
Then you decided to stay, what was your first job on the island?
I was a dancer, decorator, painter, waiter, cloakroom attendant and everything I needed to be able to stay. As you see it was a constant change, I aways like to try new things. In 1994 I opened a Tattoo shop in combination with fashion and music which lasted three years. In 1995 I gave birth to my twins… In 1997 I started to create my own fashion and the famous ‘cleaning rag fashion’ was born. In 1999 we ran the Chiringuito of Es Codolar and in 2006 ‘IxChel’ came to life, my second fashion brand, which I run until today. From 2014 onwards I got involved in the fight against the oil drillings but what I like the most is fashion, my favourite way to relax.
The origins of the famous ‘Cleaning Rag’ fashion:
In this era the island was very different, tell us about your experiences back in those days.
The island was indeed different, more ‘familiar’. Everybody knew and helped one another, it was a give and take, at least this was my impression. There were no mobile phones or social networks, but we were very connected. Not that I am against the changes because the world constantly changes and it’s not up to me to say if it is for the better or not? But when the big promoters arrived to the clubs the locals got somehow left over. The tickets to get in became very expensive, and not only that, the party simply was not the same any more. New laws to cover the club’s terraces and others did change the whole scene as well. The best was dancing under the stars, Amnesia was a ‘garden’, Ku the playground and suddenly they got transformed in Macro Clubs with roofs, VIP areas and thousands of people, so many that you couldn’t even dance any more simply because there was no space left. Back in those days the rich and famous melted with the locals, now everybody ready to pay the price can get his VIP area, no matter if he is famous or not…
We the locals, rebels with a cause, started to do parties in the campo where no entrance fee existed, no VIP zones or roofs, no bars with expensive drinks, everybody brought their own drinks and there was enough space to dance. But those parties got more and more popular not only for us but as well for the Guiris (tourists). We were various party organizers, one of them being our so beloved and unforgettable Sola and we always took care of everything, cleaning the sites completely, with a very high awareness and responsibility for possible fires, parking spaces etc. And not only the organizers but all people who attended were very aware of nature and kept it clean. With the time those parties grew from about 500 people to around 3.000, so we decided to stop as it became too big. Too much responsibility for people that did not follow our strict rules and we did not want to be held responsible for their ignorance.
Apart from nightlife I as well see a lot of change in the daily life, our beaches changed a lot, Beach Clubs started to appear and grew constantly. There was no meeting point like Montesol any more… Well, and the highway which, in my opinion, changed the face of Ibiza brutally – but changes happen everywhere and are inevitable – nothing lasts forever. On top I think the time we had was our time, we also change, and future generations will say the same about the time now in 20 years, as did the ones being here before us and so on. And I still love this island!
You are very connected to fashion and, as we said before, started your own label, Ix Chel – tell us a bit more about it.
Ix Chel was born in 2006, I started with sewing machines and at the same time worked wit existing cloth. All is made by myself at home, no huge productions but exclusive pieces. I consider myself an artisan, and as I already said I love to create, it gives me peace as I can do it my way, at home, at my pace. Then I leave the pieces to the shops as the sales part is not mine, creation and sales do not go well hand in hand, at least for me. Right now we are building a studio out of hay bales with a green roof, 100% bio construction!
You always had a special connection with nature…
Oh yes, always! Already in my childhood, as I was raised in a village near Amsterdam called ‘Baarn’, surrounded by nature with lots of forests and green fields. My family always had pets – cats and dogs, rabbits and a horse. We always went on excursions to the mountains, the sea, summer as winter…
So when did you decide to dedicate part of your life to protect nature?
It started in January 2014, when we found out about the terrible plans for the oil drilling platforms. I couldn’t believe it, well, at least in the beginning I thought this can only be a bunch of rumors… We attended an assembly by the ‘Alianza Mar Blava’ in Formentera and I realized they are no rumors, it is true and about to happen!
Just one year before we had our first wonderful encounters with dolphins, meeting them almost daily during summer. I always loved dolphins, who doesn’t? And this summer was something special, so when I found out through this assembly about the damage that those drillings will do to the dolphins my only concern was how could I help fighting them? Together with my husband Manu and Merel from Worldfamily Ibiza we decided to get to work and started to print as much copies of the allegations as possible to collect signatures against this project…
You already produced three editions of your documentary ‘Hands Off Ibiza’ and are currently working on the fourth one, tell us more about this project, how did it come to life, who collaborates and how do you finance all this?
When the craze started we, David Suñol and Mireia Morató who run a production company for foto and video called Horseworks, and surely Manu, decided to produce an informative video about what was happening and what we could do to stop this terror. That’s how ‘Hands Off Ibiza’ was born. Together with Merel we wrote the lyrics to the video and with our mobile phones and a non-professional underwater camera which we already used to film the dolphins we produced the first video. It got shared throughout the social networks and was even broadcasted on TV. Then the massive collection of signatures started and more and more volunteers got involved, it was a unique feeling of unity in the island, so we decided to do a follow-up, a second part, to show those unique moments of unity. In the high season of summer 2014 the producers of ‘Ajoia’ donated a song for our video, and the lyrics of it inspired us to do the third part. The first part is ‘The Announcement’, the second is ‘The Union’ and the third ‘What is it that we defend’ – all three can be watched on Youtube (links at the end of this article) – right now we work on the fourth part – ‘The solution’, talking about the alternatives to petrol, the renewable energies. A topic that is the most normal to me as we live in our house for 21 years now, built by ourselves with lots of recycled material and 100% sustainable. We live of solar energy, water from our pond and rainwater and… we live like Kings.
How we finance the work on our videos? No idea, we will see, we have faith and the desire to continue. The ‘Zooproject’ did donate 1120 Euros to our project in 2014 off which we used a small part to produce shirts, folders and stickers, and the rest we forwarded to the ‘Alianza Mar Blava’. It is them who do all the technical work that costs money they don’t have. We have our costs as well which we pay off our pockets, and ‘Horsework Films’ did dedicate lots of time to the ‘Hands Off Ibiza’ videos as well. The fourth part will not be as expensive as the others, and we plan to produce more shirts and sell them to finance our project. Our homepage is under construction as well, and our team has other projects in the pipeline too, not only videos, that will cost money, but as we are creative people with lots of energy and zest we will find a solution.
You collaborate with the ‘Alianza Mar Blava’ – tell us more about this cooperation.
As i said before, the ‘Alianza Mar Brava’ does a lot of technical work and we, the volunteers, do the ‘street job’, we helped collecting the massive amount of accusations, organizing the manifestation and events, we fed the social networks, we helped where we could. With ‘we’ I mean not only ‘Hands Off Ibiza’ but as well ‘Eivissa Antipetrolifera’, ‘Eivissadiuno’ and all the countless volunteers that were at the ready. The ‘Alianza Mar Blava’ is an intersectional alliance composed of public administrations (local governments and councils of Ibiza and Formentera), associations of economic sectors potentially affected like tourism, fishery or the whole nautic sector, social and environmental organizations and public and private labors. The union of all those sectors, currently more than 80, working together for the same objective, creates a milestone of great importance, almost never achieved, and grants the ‘Alianza Mar Blava’ a social presence of extraordinary importance. The objective of the ‘Alianza Mar Blava’ is to finally put end to the oil drillings in the Occidental Mediterranean that would practically surround the Balearic Islands, with the aim to preserve the ambiental plentifulness that makes those islands so unique, and with it the employment sector, their citizen’s wellbeing and the right of future generations to enjoy a well preserved environment. They have a great project to collect capital, it is called ‘Adopt one meter of the Sea’. The cost is 10 Euros and it is very original. You can find it on their homepage www.alianzamarblava.org. Easy-to-do and ten Euros is nothing to each but all together we can protect this island and the sea.
For the next two questions I would like to introduce you to Carlos Bravo, Coordinator of the technical sector at the ‘Alianza Mar Blava’, as he knows so much more about it.
Hello Carlos, it is our pleasure to speak to you, could you please tell us what is the actual situation after the massive manifestations, backed up by a huge amount of signatures against the drillings and the majority of the islands politicians against the platforms?
Regarding the project of the Scottish company Cairn Energy in the golf of Valencia the actual situation is to wait for the ministry of Agriculture, Alimentation and Environment (MAGRAMA in Spanish) to publish the corresponding Declaration of the Ambiental Impact (DIA in Spanish). This declaration should have already been made public months ago, with no technical motive that could justify such delay.
At this moment, especially after knowing the result of the expertise by the General Head Office for coastal sustainability and the sea by MAGRAMA about this project, disadvising its realization reaffirming it being incompatible with the legislation of the protection of the marine environment and the biodiversity, all points to the DIA resulting in negative. This becoming true would avoid the realization of this project and would eventually put and end to the license for investigating the hidrocarbon reservoirs.
The whole Balearic society stood united against this project. The more than 128.000 registered allegations in the administrative process are a clear proof of this, amongst other things. Apart from that hundreds of other allegations were submitted by administrations, scientific institutions, ONG’s (non-governmental organizations), private entities, the touristic sector, fishing cooperatives etc. – all together united against the project.
Cairn energy is not the only company trying to get a license to drill?
No, others have presented their projects as well. Apart from Cairn Energy, who solicited permissions in the gulf of Leon (actually dependant on its reception) too, there are two more companies present, Seabird Exploration and Spectrum Geo Limited. Seabird Exploration pretends to realize a project of seismic exploration ‘coincidentally’ similar to the solicitation of two permissions by Cairn Energy in the gulf of Leon. This project would have a deep impact on the ‘Corridor of Migration of Whales in the Occidental Mediterranean’ (ZEPIM), amongst other adverse effects on the marine fauna and commercial fishing. As well as the project from Spectrum Geo Limited to realize sonic bearings which is in process too, all depending on the accusations of the ambiental impact. But we can already count on a devastating study by the General Authority for the coastal sustainability and the sea by MAGRAMA resulting negative for its deep ambiental impacts.
Thanks Carlos Bravo for this explicit explanations!
What can each one contribute to conserve the beauty of Ibiza?
I guess the most logic first step and a great start for everyone is to NOT dirty, to recycle as much as possible, to maintain our beaches and bays clean and to opt for more renewable energies, avoid unnecessary constructions and, most of all, preserve an urbanistic planification that adapts to the island’s needs without destroying it, supporting the rural development or better said the real Ibiza – who does not want to walk our fields in full almond blossom and watch the farmers herding the sheeps. The true essence…
How do you see Ibiza in 25 years?
I find it difficult to look into the future, but I would love to see an island 100% sustainable. In any case I believe in renewable energies, not only here in Ibiza.
And finally, how does your perfect day look like?
A rich early breakfast, then take the boat and go out on the sea with my dogs and beloved, meet the dolphins to swim with them, and, after a great picnic at some coastline, more swimming, snorkeling, a sunbath and enjoying it to the max, finishing it off with a beautiful sunset around Es Vedra… And if there is some good outdoor party, dance a good while, open air!!
Thank you so much for your efforts Daphne, as well as all the other people involved in the fight against the ‘license to drill’ – together we stand, together we win.
Here are lots of links to the videos of ‘Hands Off Ibiza’, involved companies, volunteers, and all you need to know around this unique unity that once more shows that people united can never be divided: