Interview with Lara Méndez: “Lugo is already in the vanguard to become a reference city in pioneering initiatives facing the great challenge of the environmental crisis”
The mayoress of Lugo, Lara Méndez, has a strategic leaf of present and future for Lugo since the beginning of the past mandate that involves taking advantage of the enormous potential of the municipality at a time of ecological transition.
You are constantly talking about the second great transformation of Lugo, but how does this transformation take place?
– The acceleration of climate change forces us municipalities to adapt to its effects, this is what Europe tells us, but for us, for years, is a government conviction because we believe that the future is in the hands of cities that know how to integrate urban green, renewable energy production, energy efficiency, less motorized mobility or circular economy in a territorial strategy of adaptation to climate change. That is why we fought in the past mandate to get the first European funds that would allow us to walk face this great challenge, and we succeeded in front of 1,400 applications submitted across Europe. Thanks to this we are already developing the strategies of LIFE Lugo + Biodionámico, which will be part of this great second sustainable transformation that complements the one developed by the Mayor Orozco.
But don’t you think that for citizens climate change is still an abstract concept?>
It may be, but we are all perceiving it because we notice the climatic transformations, although I believe that citizens take time to relate the effects produced with their daily lives, with housing, employment or standard of living. But this is also a challenge that we have ahead of us, that of awareness, because the fight against the environmental crisis is also a commitment to economic and social justice. It is a bet to improve people’s lives and to leave a better future for our children, but it is also an economic opportunity since the green economy is a path of dynamization that in Lugo we cannot and do not want to let pass.
Before you spoke of the first European funds, will there be more?
– We are working on this from the first minute of this new mandate, on finding new ways of funding from Europe to continue with this strategy. If we are now, hand in hand with the research of the Campus Terra and the Universidad Politécnica, positioning Lugo as the design centre for sustainable cities of the future with tools that can set an example and be replicated in other medium-sized cities, we have to apply the new strategies to our own municipality, with the configuration of new eco-neighbourhoods and with the impulse of the green economy. But the new funds we obtain must also be used to adapt the neighbourhoods we already have to this new reality of ecological efficiency.
What are the pioneering measures that Lugo is implementing?
– The LIFE strategy is very broad, but we can highlight three main ones: the Impulso Verde building, which will be the first public building erected with a Galician wooden structure in which eco-sustainable measures will be applied and which will mean the beginning of the multi-ecological neighbourhood that we will promote with private initiative, which will be the first in Spain of its kind. In addition, we have already finished a pioneering catalogue with sustainable measures, which will also be unique in Spain and even in Europe, as it will include meters and environmental objectives. That is why we say that from Lugo we are setting the design guidelines for medium-sized cities of the future, and we do it from the example.
And how will these measures dynamize the economy?
– This strategy is linked to one of the most powerful natural resources, wood, because wood is the structural element of sustainable urbanism that we defend. And Lugo and the whole province are a powerhouse in the timber sector. This new path will allow the creation of a whole green industry that can help to give added value to the sector. It is very important that between all of us, between public administrations and private sectors, we can also generate economic synergies around all the knowledge that the university provides us to be courageous and take the steps that Europe is marking us in this unstoppable ecological transition.
This interview was originally published in the Special on LIFE Lugo + Biodinámico published by El Progreso that you can download complete at this link