The "human mosaic" will be formed on Saturday. | Europa Press

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I don't recall the politician - this was some twelve years ago - but I do remember what was said. The environmentalist group GOB was told to either put up, by becoming a political party, or shut up. Twelve years on and GOB have done neither, but they are edging towards a parliamentary presence by wishing to introduce a popular legislative initiative.

This is a means by which non-political (?) entities or indeed individuals can propose legislation within certain boundaries. An example comes from Catalonia, where it was a popular initiative that started off the parliamentary process to ban bullfighting (a prohibition subsequently declared unconstitutional by the Constitutional Court in Madrid).

Initiatives need to be supported by petitions with minimum numbers of signatures. These minimums vary according to the region of Spain and the size of population. Parliaments are not obliged to process these initiatives, but they have to give good reasons why not. Typically, rejection would be because proposed law does not conform with the parameters for popular legislation or, and important since the Catalonia ban was overturned, it is deemed unconstitutional. A usual determinant of unconstitutionality is if proposed law "invades" the powers of the state.

The initiative that GOB have in mind is a law for guaranteeing the well-being of present and future generations in the Balearics. It was registered with the Balearic parliament some months ago, and the petition-signing process is now gathering pace ahead of a deadline next month.

A model for this proposed law comes from Wales and the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015. Under this law, public bodies are required to think about the long-term impact of their decisions in a way that accords with the principle of sustainable development. There are seven key tenets - a prosperous Wales; a resilient Wales; a more equal Wales; a healthier Wales; a Wales of cohesive communities; a Wales of vibrant culture and thriving Welsh language; a globally responsible Wales.

The president of GOB, Amadeu Corbera, has described the proposal as a step towards "a change of the model", which can be taken to refer to a variety of things, tourism being one of them; GOB were a key component of the Assemblea 23-S, which organised the large protest in Palma against tourism "massification" on September 23, 2017.

I can't comment on any impact that the Welsh law has had - perhaps there are those who can - and nor is it possible to comment on the GOB proposal without seeing the full text. But one can guess. And as such, does this represent a form of political manifesto from an organisation that will next year celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of its founding? In political terms, GOB occupy a space that roughly speaking equates to that of Més, who are often referred to as eco-nationalists (from a socialist perspective).

Sustainable development is a concept which can appear to be as broad as it is long. Subject to vagueness, it is also influenced by political philosophies and policies. Is the intention therefore to define it - in law - according to a set of philosophies?

The opposition parties in the Balearic parliament are certainly not opposed to sustainable development, but they do take issue with this concept being within a framework of prohibition. As GOB are the promoters of the legislative initiative, their prohibition antennae have been alerted.

For the Balearic government, according to its multi-tasking spokesperson and minister for tourism, employment and the economic model, Iago Negueruela, the proposal is "interesting". He has said no more, for now at any rate, but could legitimately point to legislation which has been introduced that has sustainable development at its core. Sustainable even appears in the title of legislative text, as with the sustainable tourism tax and the law now about to be given definitive parliamentary approval - that for the sustainability and circularity of tourism. There are other laws, e.g. for climate change and waste. So why is a well-being law really needed?

The Welsh law, given its tenets, appears perfectly admirable. A Balearic law may be equally admirable. But the timing of the GOB initiative leaves one to wonder if it has the 2023 election in mind and the possibility of a shift to the right in particular. So is it a popular proposal or a political initiative?

In furthering the promotion of the legislation, GOB have organised a "human mosaic" to be created in Palma's Plaça Major this coming Saturday. This will visualise measures "to protect future generations".

"We want to do everything in our power so that the children and young people of today and those who will come tomorrow will enjoy a decent and optimal ecological environment, an essential basis for any economic and social well-being."