Tag Archives: Proposals

Thursday 9 May: Overcrowding and housing: information at GOB office

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Public institutions are trying to avoid confronting the problem of tourist overcrowding and its consequences, arguing that there is a shortage of studies. Meanwhile, the usual spokespersons for the tourist sector adopt denial postures for some of the problems that are already more than evident.

Continue reading Thursday 9 May: Overcrowding and housing: information at GOB office

Vehicle Limit (2): the Formentera experience

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Regulating the number of vehicles in the summer is a useful tool for combatting overcrowding. It has positive effects on the resident population and on the experience of all tourists to the island. Formentera paved the way in 2019 and obtained good results.

Here is a resumé as well as a video presentation made recently for the cycle of round table discussions “Menorca where are we going?” organised jointly by the Menorca Preservation Foundation, the Ateneo of Mahón and GOB.

Continue reading Vehicle Limit (2): the Formentera experience

The Cala Teulera ramp, projected over a protected area

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The Port Authority has tendered the construction of a dry dock ramp in the port of Mahon, in a protected area, with no possibility of parking and with the danger of affecting species under special protection. GOB has sent a letter to the port authority warning of these significant deficiencies.

Continue reading The Cala Teulera ramp, projected over a protected area

Christmas baskets of Land Stewardship Scheme products

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This Christmas you can give a special gift to friends, family or businesses with added value going far beyond our tables. On offer are our Christmas baskets filled with Land Stewardship Scheme products that are produced locally and sustainably. Cultivated in harmony with the environment, by local producers using sustainable agricultural practices and marketed at fair prices by farmers.

You can personalise the contents or chose from these three options: Continue reading Christmas baskets of Land Stewardship Scheme products

GOB coordinates its different island sections

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Organised civil society, that works to achieve collective interests, is now more necessary than ever in our archipelago: to work on environmental, social and economic aspects. During the weekend of 17 June GOB brought together its Balearic Islands sections and analysed the new political context.

The problem of tourist overcrowding would increase if the messages spread by the political parties forecast to form new government teams were applied. This route is considered wrong with loss of residents’ quality of life, with great pressure on natural values and a loss of positive economic results.

The impossibility of a large part of the resident population to visit certain beaches during the tourist season, the enormous difficulty to find parking in areas taken over by tourist vehicles, the price of housing that, in many cases, prevents exercising a constitutional right, are some of the social effects of the growing and unidirectional commitment towards mass tourism.

In economic terms, tourist overcrowding goes against per capita income as picked up by economic publications. In 1983, the province of the Balearic Islands was second in the state ranking. At that time, 4.3 million tourists visited the islands. In 2022, the Balearics appeared in 22nd place for state ranking, having received 16.5 million tourists.

It is clear that overcrowding does not contribute to the welfare of society, but only to certain activities that are extracted in economic terms, that is, extracting profits generated by the island and taken to other places.

This excess pressure shows repeated planning errors. Ibiza has three desalination plants and the aquifers are overexploited. Mallorca has been widening roads and new road infrastructures continue to be announced. In Menorca the sensation of saturation is growing and undeclared tourist accommodation takes up homes that should be for residents.

Faced with these growing problems, GOB has agreed for the society to work to promote control measures that will help social welfare and environmental recovery.

There are tools for these measures that can be used such as establishing a limit on the vehicles of each island, which has been successfully tested in Formentera; such as regulating the abusive extractions of water; such as management of the nautical offer without degrading natural values nor the quality of the experience of those using it; such as putting a brake on the promotion of summer tourism; such as the correct management of protected areas for conserving and recovering natural values.

Society is usually ahead of institutions in vision and commitment for the future. The islands need to organise themselves to find ways that balance conservation with non-speculative progress.

New alliances for a productive countryside

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GOB has signed an agreement with the Aland Foundation and the Association AIVelAL with the aim of giving support to the Land Stewardship Scheme and creating synergies with the action model of Landscape 4 Returns that is being promoted in various parts of the south east of the peninsula.

The three entities are agreed on the reading we make of the problems and the solutions we work on. We understand that both globally and locally we confront a grave problem of loss of soil fertility with its effects on agriculture. This situation feeds into other factors such as the need to adapt to climate change, the imperative to reduce greenhouse gases and to create a better coexistence with biodiversity.

The three entities also share a vision of agriculture as part of the solution. This means regenerative agriculture where the care of the soil is central, spaces for biodiversity are essential and where short chains of commercialization are promoted that revitalise the local economy.

The Land Stewardship Scheme will form part of the network of Landscape 4 Returns, an approach that seeks to restore agricultural management through four ways of action, or “returns” to use its terminology. The Natural Return that improves the soil, biodiversity and water management. The Economic Return that creates employment, professional networks and generates benefits. The Social Return that creates a better quality of life and welfare. The Inspiration Return that creates a reference community for other places with similar problems.

The Aland Foundation has been working since 2021 with the aim of catalysing initiatives for land regeneration through the model of Land 4 Returns. Their vision is of Iberian territory on which economy and ecology are aligned with regenerated countryside landscapes resilient to climate change. They want to promote a more energetic, active and professional world valued by an aware society and has the capacity to inspire others. The Foundation will help to find funding for the programme.

The AlVelAl Association was the first to become part of this network. Since 2015 it has been working in the regions of the Granada Plateau, Los Velez, Alto Almanzora, the north east of Murcia and Guadix all in the southeast of Spain. It is a local initiative that brings together agricultural and cattle farmers, entrepreneurs, researchers and people from different sectors of the population with the aim of restoring the country landscape of this area that is threatened by desertification, depopulation and lack of opportunities. The Association is committed to regenerative agriculture, the restoration of ecosystems and the creation of businesses that add value to local products and generate sustainable employment.

We at GOB celebrate the new collaboration that will improve aspects of advice, viability and knowledge of successful experiences in new farming networks. The Land Stewardship Scheme continues to enlarge its effectiveness and more and more producers and consumers are joining in.

To know more about the Land Stewardship Scheme we invite you to watch different videos that we have on our Youtube Channel

Greetings from the President of GOB Menorca

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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