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2016 July August Marina World

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July August 2016 Marina World


ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT Oscar Siches It’s time to take some real responsibility by Oscar Siches There are enough reasons to adopt environmental control practices everywhere, including in our marinas. The most common reasons are the “we should do it” approach, which is a bid for social acceptance, and the “we must do it” rationale, which aims to comply with regulations. But what’s the purpose? Is it just to be on the good side of things by ticking the rules and regulations box and letting people see how green you are (or seem to be)? Have you ever asked yourself if expectations could be raised? And what the legacy would be? Are you conscious of the difference of being proud of something and just being satisfied with it? Don’t worry, I’m not going to make an apology for spiritual, intellectual and emotional values but they are there nonetheless, and when it comes to ecological matters activating these values makes a whole lot of difference. The human being We are tired (and bored) of seeing advertising/propaganda about the end of the world and its living species due to human generated pollution. Those who feed us such information usually go in for such extreme statements that we, at street level, absorb them with the same (very low) interest as we do a horror movie and do not even think about their validity. In my opinion, this backfires and is a waste of an opportunity to make people aware of the situation. Yes, we spoil, we pollute, but we also realise, organise and clean. The problem lies in the ‘we’. Is it really us? Or the city’s rubbish and recycling collection services, the marina personnel and subcontractors who clean up our leftovers, the government that establishes a new policy on clean energy production? Here we come to one universal justification that works for almost everything: “I pay my taxes - a lot of taxes - the city/country/municipality must do their job”. Yes, you do pay, and that money is used (with a different degree of efficiency depending on the place) to cover the enormous costs incurred in running a society that aims to maintain a good quality of life. But let me be both pragmatic and provocative. Have you thought about generating less rubbish? Consuming less electricity? Investing in renewable energy? Cleaning the car with a couple of buckets of water instead of a hose? Driving an average of 10km/ hour slower than usual? Or do you think that it’s not worth it because it’s just you trying to save the world on your own, other people do not do it, and your effort is therefore wasted. We, as resource users, are the main players when it comes to environmental control. Expecting someone else to sort out our poor green practices means we are trying to sort out the situation by approaching the effect and not the cause. When we want to lose weight, we should start by eating less and following a balanced diet, not just by taking pills. Time for action While ignoring the extreme tone of the apocalyptic messages, we must acknowledge the real and chronically bad situation regarding pollution. Sperm whales, turtles and pelicans are found dead with stomachs full of plastic. New stronger species, having grown defences to cope with pollution, deplete weaker species. Smog levels remain above safe limits in many cities. Changes in weather patterns generate floods and stronger storms. What are we doing about this? Nothing, really. We just hope that a higher power will come up with an idea on how to deal with the situation. But most governments, including first world ones, are not succeeding as there is no budget assigned to the environment. Only highly developed countries e.g. Scandinavia, Germany Teaching children the value of their environment is the best step we can take to protect the world for the future. All photos: Organizacion Ondine 44 - July/August 2016

ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT and Benelux take the matter seriously. The environmental summits fail to reach compromises. It seems we will have to suffer the consequences until the gravity of the matter is given the necessary attention. Global press misinformation/ news manipulation does not help. A campaign, for example, against small family charcoal fires in India encourages us to think that they are responsible for our weather miseries. But when delving into the official reports, we discover that the output of a year’s worth of fires in India is equal to the output of a Chinese coal power station in just one single day. Everything, of course, counts but let’s keep a reasonable perspective. The marina environment Yacht clubs and marinas are hubs for society groups who take pleasure in the sea. Apart from environmentally conscious management and installations that reflect this, marinas have a relaxed customer base that is ready to take part in actions, events and sporting activities that relate to the sea. This is ripe ground for environmental awareness. Seeing a floating plastic bottle while watching a regatta from the shore affects us a lot more than seeing the same bottle at a street kerb. The fact is that when we are in a place we like and where we enjoy ourselves, our senses are magnified; making the ugly worse and the good, sublime. We should use this state of mind in our guests and clients and feed them the basics of environmentally respectful behaviour in a noncataclysmic, non-imposing way. We shouldn’t aim at the adults - we created the problem and we are maintaining it, so trying to teach us is a waste. We should focus on the children. We should create a consciousness in them that is as integral to their growing up as learning to swim or sail. What can marinas do? Marinas can do a lot. First of all, forget about being an inshore island and think more broadly. In most cases you are part of a community. You are occupying part of a community space for a purpose not shared by everybody. This is not a problem, because a swimming pool, a tennis club or an exhibition hall is in the same position. But with regard to environmental matters you have the advantage of being on the seafront and being surrounded by boats; a pleasant sight with an ambience that everybody enjoys. Every marina is a small laboratory. You can generate events that can involve the general public. Explain about the algae and marine growth in the pontoons and pylons, the rubbish generation and the collection process – and don’t keep the event concealed within the premises. A presentation about weather is an environmental subject. Cleaning a beach, introducing the local fauna and flora, watching the city services deal with selective waste, explaining the rain water collection and the boatyard water recycling system are experiences people do not forget because they are fun, they were presented in a beautiful place and in a simple way that everybody could understand - and everybody was invited. At the ISO Tourism Services Committee, norms are being created for industrial tourism, including visits to old mines and shut down nuclear power plants. But “Ah,” I hear you cry – “the municipality or government should organise this for the people in town, not us!” This is a big mistake, a way of thinking that has already done enough damage. We do not like to be seen as elite, right? The stigma of elitism is one of the issues that hurts boating at its core. We have been feeding off the Port-City integration. Well, let’s change that thinking and broaden our desire to do good for the sake of it and set a good example to our children instead of just telling them that something cannot be done because “it is complicated.” When at sea, collect floating debris during a boat rally. Clean a beach that can only be reached from the water. Organise a rally where lowest fuel consumption is the target. We know that every marina is an island, and that is to our advantage, because all of these simple actions can be tailor made to be interesting, uncomplicated, cheap and please everybody. People will learn a lot more from an event where they can go with their friends and family than from books, the press or the TV. Forget about government subsidies or external funding: such thoughts cannot prosper. Develop a conscience about having the next generation’s environmental education in your own hands. We do not have to aim to make a better world for our children; we have to educate them to be able to make a better world for themselves. Oscar Siches CMM runs the consultancy firm Marina Matters in Mallorca, Spain. He can be contacted on email: - July/August 2016 45

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