Cassandra has moved. Ugo Bardi publishes now on a new site called "The Seneca Effect."

Saturday, June 16, 2018

In Memory of David Lafarga Santorromán

I met David Lafarga only twice, at the two meetings on oil depletion held in Barbastro, in Spain, a few years ago. It was enough for me to be impressed by his dedication, his competency, and his friendly attitude. It was a shock for me to hear of his untimely death, this month. I leave to Antonio Turiel - who knew him better than me - to write a memorial for him on Cassandra's Legacy. The text below is Google-translated (with some retouches of mine) from the original in Spanish published on Turiel's blog "The Oil Crash." 

Rest in peace, friend and colleague David.

by Antonio Turiel Martinez

Perhaps some people will be surprised to learn that two of the most important meetings (and with good international presence) on the issue of the depletion of fossil fuels that have taken place in Spain have been held in Barbastro (the First International Congress in May 2011 and the Second International Congress in October 2014). Despite its undeniable charm, the capital of the Somontano region is quite far from the main urban centers of Spain and does not occupy a position too central in modern communications networks. That in this place two editions and of great quality of these meetings have been celebrated, doing much necessary publicity of the problem of peak oil, is the result of the eff(ort of many dedicated and conscientious people who work in the UNED
(Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia); and among them there has been one who stood out for the quality of the work, his commitment and his human qualities: David Lafarga Santorromán. 

I met David in early 2011, when he was organizing the first congress. At that time The Oil Crash was a blog of minor importance (did not add up to 100,000 page views) and my dissemination activity still had a very modest impact. Nevertheless, David found me and asked me to give a presentation on petroleum liquids. I was very interested in the subject, and thanks to the bibliographic search that I did at that time I was able to write a few related articles.I did not meet David in person until I arrived in Barbastro, in May. He was a young man (he was or at least appeared to be then in his thirties), tall, good-looking, athletic, always polite, and always friendly but with that closeness and familiarity so Aragonese, and above all a frank and honest person. David was the factotum of the meeting, the person who had devised the whole structure, a cultured person and very well aware of what was involved there; and even more, very aware of the seriousness of what was being talked about. A man who, with his personal commitment, the support of his superiors and the complicity of his colleagues had managed to move forward a congress of this magnitude. And he made the most of the occasion, getting UNED and even TVE (Televisión Española) to do several interviews with the attendees. 

During the days of the congress, especially after each session or at the end of the day in a more relaxed atmosphere, I had the opportunity to talk at length with David. When I left Barbastro, I promised to keep in touch and meet again when the occasion permitted.A year later, I returned to Barbastro, again invited by David. On that occasion, I gave a plenary lecture. I was by then a little better known (within the marginal that is this world of peak oil). Again, David took full advantage of my visit and also, being a much smaller event, we had more time to discuss personal issues during dinner. I think it was then that he told me about his serious illness, fortunately overcome at the time; but how it had forced him to make important changes in his life. He explained it with simplicity and naturalness, with that smile of a bit of a rascal that he had. David 2.0, he said. We toasted to that. 

We saw each other again in the vortex that was the congress of 2014. On that occasion, David entrusted me with the inaugural talk, an honor considering who the speakers were. With my colleagues from the CSIC, we worked with David to write the conclusions of the congress. David, as always, was kind and correct, focused and close. I could not see then the shadow that loomed over him. 

A few months ago, I contacted him. I had had no news and I feared the worst. I decided to write him an email with the excuse of asking if there would be a new edition of the world-renowned Barbastro congress. Always kind, he answered me, and with the simplicity of a good man he told me that the disease had returned. He wrote positive sentences about his future prospects, but it was clear between the lines that this time he faced an enormous problem.Almost a week ago he wrote an emotional farewell on his Facebook profile. He knew they were about to administer terminal sedation to him, and he wanted to take advantage of his last hours of lucidity to leave us a message that sums up very well the kind of person David was:
"Dear friends, my star fades out very fast, I never thought I would write something like this in FB but these days I received so much and so good that I dare to do it to tell you that today I will try to be available for a last hug to anyone who wants to come to the hospital. I love you and thank you all for being part of my life and making it so full in spite of its brevity."
I could have called him, but I was not able to. I almost can't even write this.On June 8, David lost his last game, and he left us alone here for our disgrace.

Rest in peace. Goodbye, friend David.


Ugo Bardi is a member of the Club of Rome, faculty member of the University of Florence, and the author of "Extracted" (Chelsea Green 2014), "The Seneca Effect" (Springer 2017), and Before the Collapse (Springer 2019)