BETWEEN HEAVEN AND EARTH

THE STORY

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In 1976 a development project, which included the construction of apartments for 64,000 people in the Alt Empordà, went public. The construction would have destroyed forever the last real-wetland migratory bird sanctuary of the Gulf of Roses.

 

Between Heaven and Earth is the story of young people who dared to challenge the system. Fighting with all their courage and ingenuity, they stopped the destruction of what eventually became the largest bird reserve in southern Europe. It was no easy task; they met opposition at every turn.  First, a construction company that came to claim damages in the amount of 4,000 million pesetas in 1978. Second, justice and police forces that besieged them with arrests and reports. And finally, the frustration and difficulty in dealing with newly created institutions that had no experience in environmental issues. Nor was it easy to convince the citizens, who expected new jobs with the urbanization of the area, about the importance of preserving the site.

 

With admirable skill the daring young people figured out how to find legal chasms to help paralyze the works. Despite a weak legal argument in 1972, (calling the area a "Picturesque site") along with the support of prominent European naturalists, they were able to delay the construction process. They taught the locals in the area about the importance of preserving the wetlands, and earned the favor of politicians and institutions. Thus, on 13 October 1983, seven years after the start of the fight, the Empordà Marshes Natural Park was declared.

 

Between Heaven and Earth is not just another nature documentary. It is a retrospective look at a transitional time period, and the construction of a country: Catalonia. The documentary paints a historical portrait of the sociological and environmental landscape and the inhabitants of this beautiful place. We see the park today, its nature and wildlife, interviews and archived images from the beginnings of democracy. It discusses subjects as diverse as urban planning and tourism development in the "developmentalism", the emergence of ecological awareness, social mobilization, and strengthening regional institutions.

 

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