Sanxenxo, the town where I was born and my family still lives, was a small fishing village that became the tourism capital of Galicia, a region in the northwest of Spain. Because of this it grew enormously over the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s, but did not protect its architectural heritage and many natural spaces.
Many stone houses were demolished to construct buildings both in the center and beachfront, leaving almost nothing of the historical heritage of the town. When building the new marina was not taken into account its environmental impact on the tides, which drained sandy beaches and had to be filled in some cases even with river sand. The housing prices soared making it very difficult for new generations to have access to it and so have to go live to inland villages when they were born by the sea. Tourism was prioritized over the impact of changes on the lives of the villagers.
Moreover, that tourism has brought economic growth, an improvement in the lives of people in many other aspects, such as access to better education. Paradoxically, perhaps if a humble family had not sold their land or their typical stone house, it would not have been able to give their children the education that makes them now aware of that could have been grown in a sustainable and respectful way with the heritage and environment, and inspires them to fight to protect what is left nowadays.
Reviewing albums of different families of Sanxenxo, I have selected photographs that show its people and the town and I reproduced them today in the same place with the same people or their descendants. By that I invite in a non-critical but reflexive way, to think about the changes in our environment, how our own personal choices influence them and our responsibility about it.