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 It is upsetting when we see, quite often, contrary views that animate outdated partisan and sterile disputes.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view are contributed democratically, the reality is that the solution to grave problems is lost and public interest is superseded by private demands.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.
President of GOB Menorca