PENELOPE Cruz and Pedro Almodovar have joined the likes of Madonna and a host of Nobel prize winners in a new fight against the ‘return to normality.’

In an open letter published in the French daily Le Monde and promoted by the actress Juliette Binoche and her compatriot and astrophysicist Aurelien Barrau, it is claimed that although the coronavirus crisis is a tragedy, ‘it has the power of inviting us to confront essential questions’ in order to reinvent our way of life and consumption.

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Spanish filmmaker Pedro Almodóvar is one of the signatories

The letter asks that other ways of returning to ‘productivity’ be studied to avoid maintaining the critical levels of contamination which is provoking an ‘ecological catastrophe’ and leading to a ‘global collapse.’

The manifesto highlights that even though COVID-19 has caused a huge impact and health crisis, nature is ‘breathing more than ever.’

‘Adjustments are not going to be enough. The problem is systemic,’ they say in a text backed by more than 200 artists and scientists including Spanish actors Javier Bardem, Carmen Maura and US star Joaquin Phoenix.

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Oscar winner Joaquin Phoenix calls call on people to change their way of life because of the pandemic

Consumerism, according to their claim, ‘has led us to deny the value of life itself: that of plants, animals and a great many people. Pollution, warming and the destruction of natural areas are leading the world to a breaking point, and for these reasons, combined with growing social inequalities, it seems unthinkable to us to return to normality.’

“Now is a key moment to think about how to respect the planet when we return to activity,” the signatories plead.

It’s an opinion shared and signed by Argentinean producer and director Santiago Amigorena, Spanish singer Miguel Bose, Italian actress Monica Bellucci, Australian Cate Blanchett, Hollywood stars Robert De Niro, Willem Dafoe, Jane Fonda and Barbra Streisand and Mexican Kate del Castillo to name but a few.

As air pollution falls by unprecedented levels in major global cities because of coronavirus lockdowns, it is important to take heed of what scientific studies have been highlighting for years; that life on Earth is limited, and pollution will destroy the planet.

Spain itself is under threat from desertification.

A large part of the Spanish territory, an estimated one fifth, is currently at risk of turning into deserts. Some 31.5% of the country’s land mass is already affected by desertification.

In the Guadalquivir river basin, years of over-abstraction to irrigate rice fields and olive groves have led to serious water deficits.

In currently affected areas, desertification is likely to become irreversible if the environment becomes drier.

Climatic conditions makes the Mediterranean region one of the areas most severely affected by land degradation.

Experts say the time is to act is now. Long-lasting positive environmental change after the pandemic can be maintained, but it’s all down to how governments and individuals move on after lockdown.

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