All posts by GOB Menorca

29 January, excursion, concerning unsustainability, Albufera des Grau

A new excursion for the campaign Menorca, InSOStenible (Unsustainable) will take place on Sunday 29 January. This time, the main subject will be the environmental effect resulting from the lowering of the water level and the lack of control over fresh water resources.

The Albufera des Grau is symbolic of Menorca’s nature. The largest wetlands area of the island suffered from repeated attempts for it to be urbanised, but the constant public response was to paralyse urban growth, the projected golf course and intentions to convert the lagoon into a nautical harbour.

In addition was the initiative of people who planted hundreds of plants and recovered the dunes area near the beach, and over the area that had been designated for a golf course and was nearly destroyed. Today, this area has completely recovered.

Nevertheless, the Albufera is dying. The progressive reduction of freshwater going into the lagoon means that it is becoming seriously saline. The impact is such that the bird populations are collapsing, which is not happening in other wetlands on the Island.

In 40 years, the Albufera has lost 90% of the usual bird population that was living there. Yes, it is a Natural Parkland, but, the uncontrolled taking of fresh water for other uses is killing off many of the natural values of this emblematic space.

The excursion, Menorca In-SOS-tenible, on Sunday will be to raise awareness of the problem, to understand the evolution of the place and consider possible solutions. People interested should meet at 10 am in the carpark of the Es Grau beach. It is estimated to end at 13.30.

It will be of low physical difficulty and there is no need for prior booking. It will not be cancelled even if the weather is bad. Please pass on this information to all your friends and, if possible, share a vehicle.

You can watch here the video commemorating 45 years of GOB in Menorca.

Es Castell is showing the exhibition of photographs called La Menorca que Estimam

The exhibition of the “The Menorca we Love” photographic competition can now be seen at the Public Library Angel Ruiz i Pablo in Es Castell. This competition was organised to commemorate the 45 years since GOB Menorca started. You can visit it on Mondays to Fridays from 9 – 14 h and 16 – 20 hours, until 28 February.

The competition was looking for photographs that impart the natural values that Menorca still conserves. 106 people participated. The exhibition is showing the 30 photographs selected by the judges. They capture emblematic species, landscapes and all the diversity of the island’s environment and show why it matters to keep working to preserve it.

GOB thanks the entities and everyone who made this competition possible. We would especially like to thank Joan Carrés, who coordinated and commissioned the competition and the exhibition with the help of Bep Taltavull, Jaume Franch and the Foto Club F/Llum in Ferreries, the Foto Club RevelArt of Es Castell and Damià Rotger. We would also like to give special thanks to the members of the committee of judges, Antoni Cladera, Fina Salord and Magda Seoane. Also, our thanks to the Library and the Town Hall of Es Castell for the use of the exhibition space.

Greetings from the President of GOB Menorca

I would like to share with you the satisfaction of seeing how our association, after 45 years of life, is continuing to grow stronger, full of ideas and projects working towards our objective of making human activity compatible with the environmental values of the island, so necessary for the welfare of its inhabitants. Our work is rigorous, consistent, and open to dialogue and is recognised and supported by an increasing number of people who have joined our association that this year has reached over 1500 members.

We have much work to do. We are confronted by complex situations that require the involvement of society as a whole. The climate emergency, the management of water and tourist overcrowding are huge problems that threaten not only the environment but also the welfare of people and the economy. In order to address these problems effectively, much dialogue, based on rigorously researched information, is necessary to come to a social consensus that must not be deferred. It is upsetting when we see, quite often, contrary views that animate outdated partisan and sterile disputes.

From GOB we try to contribute to social debate by providing thoroughly researched information, opinions and above all, alternatives. Often when arguments from a different point of view are contributed democratically, the reality is that the solution to grave problems is lost and public interest is superseded by private demands. However, not everyone acts in this way and the growing strength of the entity shows that more and more people understand and share our approach.

Time has proved us right. Our successful campaigns in our first years to protect many beaches and natural spaces from being urbanised are now profitable in being able to offer a sought after tourist destination that differs from other places enjoying our environment. GOB has spent thirty years talking about climate change, when few people considered it and some even denied it.  It is now a few decades since GOB started the Land Stewardship Scheme, seeking viability for the economy of the countryside while keeping the characteristic Menorcan landscape and its biodiversity. Recovering local varieties and its agriculture could be described as maintaining the Island´s traditional values. Currently, the economic potential of differing agricultural production linked to the local economy is well recognised, as is the sovereignty of food in its gastronomy included in the quality of tourism. 37 farms have signed the agreement with GOB to work together with these ideas.

The problem of water preoccupies us as always. We believe that the solution happens more efficiently by the improvement and reuse of water from treatment plants and the collection of rainwater. With this in mind, 25 years ago GOB started the Es Viver garden centre for Menorcan plants aiming for sustainable gardening using plants adapted to our climate and, furthermore, avoiding the enormous water consumption that is used for lawns and tropical plants. This practice is now being used more frequently in private gardens, tourist establishments and by gardening professionals, but there is still a long way to go.

Unfortunately, as private interest is commonly put ahead of that of the community, we need to have public ministries to look after our interests by making rules that guarantee the rights of individuals and collectives for society as a whole. The right to health, culture, housing, the environment, water, energy, employment…For this, GOB recognises the huge importance for a definitive approval of the new Land Planning regulations (PTI), the Law of the Reserve of the Biosphere of Menorca and the Welfare Law for Current and Future Generations, presented in the Balearic Government by popular legislative initiative.

In short, there is much to be done, and GOB continues to work with enthusiasm for the quality of life in Menorca. I wish to finish with giving special thanks to the many people who have made our work possible, those who form part of our organisation, the volunteers, the members, the Board Members, the collaborators, entities, institutions, the media…

VERY MANY THANKS and Season’s Greetings for a new year filled with health and happiness and wishes for a more just and healthy society.

Carlos Coll

President of GOB Menorca

Now we have grown to 1500

In the year that GOB Menorca celebrates 45 years of its existence, we now have 1500 members, having grown at a rate of practically one every four days. On Tuesday, GOB Menorca held an annual meeting where the work that has been done during the year and the forecast of the activities for the next year with the corresponding budget were approved. In addition, the Island Board of Directors and the interisland presidency were renewed.

During 2022, GOB has continued working at a good pace offering sustainability alternatives for Menorca, contributing to the wellbeing of its people. It has been a year of debate and mobilizations about tourist overcrowding, which will continue. The law of the Reserve of the Biosphere is pending in Parliament. Converting out of date hotels for current use worries us and, even more so, when we see that regulations and interests to maintain such a model, as in the case of the large hotels at Son Bou, to make the alterations they want, by our criteria, do not comply with the law. We have also shown how we are going ahead with the protection of the marine environment, despite lots of resistance and some backward steps.

The growth in the number of affiliated people has been accompanied by increased activity. 3700 people have participated in 92 public activities. 1857 students have taken part in the 101 environmental education activities. In six leisure activities such as camps and weekend outings, 103 young people have been involved. 155 people have an active agreement for volunteering. The Land Stewardship Scheme has been expanded with 37 estates signed up to the  agreement with GOB. The Centre for Recuperation for Wild Animals has taken in 1300 animals. The Es Viver garden centre has distributed 10,000 plants suitable for sustainable gardening, 20,000 ecological seedlings for the garden and more than 500 fruit trees of local varieties.

The assembly approved a budget for 2023 of 674,000 euros. Membership fees and donations represent 13% of the revenue, which guarantee total independence and allows us to finance so much work dedicated to environmental policies. The rest of the projects (environmental education, the Wildlife Recuperation Centre, etc.) require other sources of finance: 66% comes from the private sector (services, sales and sponsorships) and only 21% from various public ministries (town halls, the Island Government, The Balearic Islands Government, European Union…) that help with different GOB initiatives that are a clear benefit to the Island.

Bosco Febrer was re-elected as the president of the Interisland GOB, pending the results of the assemblies of Mallorca and Ibiza. The Island Board of Directors for Menorca was approved with Carlos Coll as President and another 25 people:  Bosco Febrer; Agustí Gómez; Xavi Camps; Cecilia Ligero; Jaume Obrador; Josep Mercadal; Santiago Udaeta; Tomeu Sánchez; Geroni Marqués; Aina Blanco; Ismael Peregrino; Marta Carreras; Vicky Bargiela; Granada del Río; Eduard Furró; Pepa Orfila; Jaume Franch; Magda Seoane; Xema Moya; Joan Carrés; Margalida Masferrer; Francesc Domènech; Isabel Pérez-Chuecos; Gemma Capdevilla; Giulia Massaro. Apart from being numerous, it is a board made up of people from diverse areas of experience and a large spectrum of ages.

2023 will be very challenging. In addition to the general uncertain situation, there is an opportunity to define a regulatory framework in response to the problems such as overcrowding and for the protection of water resources. The approval of the Island Land Planning and for the Reserve of the Biosphere Law are key regarding this and GOB will continue working to incorporate efficient measures for the sustainability of the Island.  We will continue working for the future of the Agriculture sector as a tool for improving the environment, the climate crisis, the protection of the marine environment, waste reduction, responsible consumption, the preservation of the landscape, sustainable transport… In all these fields and others, GOB hopes its work continues to add positively to the environmental sustainability of Menorca.

Happy Holidays!

300 views of the Menorca we love

Visit the exhibition of the photograph competition “La Menorca que estimam” (The Menorca we love) that has been organized on the occasion of 45 years of GOB in Menorca. It was inaugurated last Friday (25 November) with the prize giving to the winners of the three best photographs chosen by the judges. The exhibition can be seen in the Claustre del Carme until 20 December from Tuesdays to Saturdays between 10.00-13.00 and 18.00 to 21.00 hours. Continue reading 300 views of the Menorca we love

Saturday, a public event in recognition of Jaume Pons, as recipient of the Pere Prats Prize for the Environment

You are invited to attend the occasion for the public recognition of Jaume Pons as the recipient of the Pere Prats Prize for the Environment. It will be this Saturday 19 November at 19.00 hours at the Molí del Rei (Camí des Castell, 53, de Maó). It is an opportunity to thank him for so many years of his dedication as a professional vet voluntarily caring for the animals that enter the Recuperation Centre for Wild Animals of Menorca. Continue reading Saturday, a public event in recognition of Jaume Pons, as recipient of the Pere Prats Prize for the Environment