Tag Archives: Proposals

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 It is upsetting when we see, quite often, contrary views that animate outdated partisan and sterile disputes.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view are contributed democratically, the reality is that the solution to grave problems is lost and public interest is superseded by private demands.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

Innovative Projects to be discussed at the Ateneu

Starting on Thursday 3 February is a new series of round table discussion organised by the Maó Ateneu and GOB with the help of the Menorca Preservation Fund. On Thursday we will focus on publicizing innovative projects that aim to raise European Next Generation funds for their execution. These are ideas that can become opportunities in the future for Menorca, opening new economic development lines that can be important both from a social and environmental point of view. The discussions can be attended in person at the Ateneu or can be followed through you tube Continue reading Innovative Projects to be discussed at the Ateneu

Greetings from the President of GOB Menorca

I would like to start this salutation by thanking you for the confidence you have placed in me by re-electing me as president to the Menorcan section of GOB. It is a great honour that after four years I am still considered as a person to assume this position. It is a great responsibility that I expect to carry out with diligence. GOB is an emblematic entity within Menorcan society and with the help of all the associated people, the rest of the members of the board and the technical team, I hope we can continue contributing good ideas and experiences to move towards a more sustainable island from both social and environmental points of view. Continue reading Greetings from the President of GOB Menorca

Land Stewardship Scheme as a solution

Just three months ago on 29 July, we entered a global ecological deficit. It was called the Earth Overshoot Day 2021. That means that all the resources that we have consumed in the world since that date cannot be regenerated and we are going into the accumulated natural reserves that are diminishing at an alarming rate. It also refers to the pollution produced that cannot now be absorbed into the biosphere.

That organisation that annually calculates when Overshoot Day is reached has chosen 100 initiatives for the entire world that can help delay the date. The solution that they proposed is one that we promote from GOB: the Land Stewardship Scheme.

Specifically, a study has been done on the ecological footprint from the production of beef in the Land Stewardship Farms. They have taken into account factors such as the type of food given to the cattle – if produced on the same farm or, if imported, the distance covered; if the cows are out to pasture or are in cattle sheds etc; the energy resources consumed by the farms – electricity, fuel- and the use of fertilizers amongst other things.

The result has been that the production of beef on Land Stewardship Scheme farms has an ecological footprint up to 64% less than the national average. This is a really significant difference that comes from two factors.

The first factor is the resources consumed with each type of production and the associated pollution. To produce a kilo of beef from the Land Stewardship Scheme requires 15% less in financial resources than that required by conventionally produced meat. This contradicts the theory that to produce organic meat extensively is more costly than by intensive farming.

The second factor is the Land Stewardship Scheme itself. It is that much of the land for the Land Stewardship Scheme would not be considered by conventional farming as giving optimal production value. Land Stewardship farms take advantage of the mosaic landscape that combines cultivated land with areas of wild vegetation for agricultural production. The livestock eats partly from wild pasture roaming through wooded areas and scrubland. Furthermore, this type of management does not deplete the biodiversity but rather encourages it.

In this way, the consequence is not only the kilo of meat that is produced but also there are additional positive results such as the capture of carbon coming from the vegetation of the managed areas.

As consumers, all of us have the possibility to encourage the type of food that respects the ability of regenerating the World. Bear this in mind when you go shopping.

You can consult the available products of the Land Stewardship Scheme sold direct on https://www.gobmenorca.com/productescustodia. You can learn more about the program by watching the videos listed on our You Tube Channel.

You can see news on the Global Footprint network website.

The calculation of the ecological footprint for the production of beef has been possible thanks to the economic support of the MAVA Foundation within the Foodnected project.

We are presenting a People’s Legislative Initiative to Parliament to guarantee the welfare of current and future generations

GOB, together with other socio-ecological groups, has been working intensively for some time in order to focus collective proposals aimed at an Eco social transition. The law that we are proposing in the Balearic Parliament has as its main purpose to guarantee the welfare of current and future generations. Once the law is admitted for processing, we will start a campaign to collect signatures so that it can be discussed in a plenary session.

We are clear in thinking about the world and particularly about the Balearic Islands that they are heading towards a complex social and ecological scenario:  the climate crisis, the massive loss of biodiversity, the scarcity of resources, require a collective confrontation to a future full of challenges that will change our social and economic organization.

We have no way of knowing, yet, what the magnitude of the changes will be that we as a society need to face. However, we do know that they will have a significant impact on our lives and on that of future generations. We also know that individuals and companies are obliged to rethink the way we live and consume, in order to mitigate economic and social risks and be able to offer a future with guarantees for generations to come.

The main purpose of the law we are presenting to Parliament is to guarantee the welfare of current and future generations, therefore:

  1. Set the objectives to be achieved now for the welfare of current and future generations.
  2. Determine the necessity to carry out an impact assessment report on the welfare of current and future generations, showing the potential impact with positive and negative repercussions on future generations as well as the ability to define a social, economic and environmental model in accordance with the objectives.
  3. Determine the creation of a Commission for the welfare of current and future generations of the Balearic Islands. The Commission will be formed of a President, Secretary and a multidisciplinary technical committee with people who are experts in the fields of education, research and innovation, agro ecology and biodiversity, the mitigation of and adaptation to the climate crisis, social justice, the economic model, urbanisation, land and resources, equality and gender politics, immigration, culture, childhood and youth, public health.

We need an unprecedented legal framework that guarantees the preservation of life. We know that this is the only way out if we want to guarantee the future. We need a change in values and priorities that emanate from a standard framework that permeates throughout all economic, public and private sectors both in social spheres and in the areas of public health, and in the resources and the environment that sustain us. Only this way will life and our future be possible.

What is a People’s Legislative Initiative?

It is a mechanism for direct democracy:  the public can propose legal initiatives without the mediation of political parties. These proposals have to be supported by a number of signatures and, according to the current law in force in the Balearic Islands, 7,500 are required.

What do we want to achieve with this bill?

We want, by law, all these rules, plans, programmes and administrative acts to be assessed for their potential impacts and repercussions, both positive and negative, on current and future generations.  In summary, we want to know how the life of people and the environment will be affected by those projects that, by their magnitude, can decisively condition the environment and social justice.

Process

The proposed legislation has been registered in Parliament and is now pending admission for processing by the Parliamentary Office, as established. From that moment on an intensive, four-month campaign will be launched, to collect and notarise, the signatures required to be able to endorse the proposal. Thus, an intense social mobilisation throughout the land will begin in order to emphasise how the policies of today need to respond for the generations of tomorrow.

On 29 July, we entered into an ecological deficit. Watch what you eat.

The Earth Overshoot Day marks the day in the year when the natural resources demanded by humanity is greater than the earth is able to regenerate completely for the year. That day was 29 July 2021, when we humans had consumed the produce and emitted as much pollution as the earth is capable of generating and regenerating during this year. Continue reading On 29 July, we entered into an ecological deficit. Watch what you eat.