d'Estudi de sa Naturalesa" (GEN) has successfully survived for its twentieth
anniversary (Congratulations!) which is a very long life, considering the extraordinary
power of the opponents (Money, money, money, money...).
You must also
consider the total absence of ecological and protective laws really effective
for the local environment in those days.
And don't forget
the amount of personal insults and other harder difficulties that the members
of the group have had to face and overcome for its survival.
had the sympathy and support of a great majority of the people of the Pitiusas
Islands, which helped guarantee its necessary survival. And - hopefully - it
will keep on guaranteeing its existence for as long as the great of the capital
continue to possess and exploit the entire Island as if it was their own casino.
complicity of some of our politicians makes it necessary, for the preservation
within the legality of our still beautiful natural values and our own cultural
But GEN is much
more then just a hammer for guilty consciences and a brake for uncontrolled
egoistic and destructive ambitions because it also has a much more pleasant
side. This is the task that GEN has been doing all these years with the young
people of the Islands: teaching them the little secrets and the values of Nature,
helping the new generations to develop love and respect for the environment
and self-respect for our culture.
In fact, if
it weren’t for GEN, and later some other N.G.O., environmental education would
be practically non-existent in our Islands. The people of Eivissa and Formentera
know well the amount of work and effort that GEN's members do for free for our
youngsters and for the ecological legality, therefore they are respected and
supported by most.
GEN has been
the embryo of relevant progressive politicians and the founders of the "Green"
political party on the Balearics. It has also helped to form a new generation
of botanical, biological, and environmental engineers, most of them members
of the group at present, working in scientific ways on a new catalogue of our
Flora and Fauna and collaborating to find the solutions for our chronic environmental
This local "Non-Governmental
Organisation" (N.G.O.) has its roots in the beginning of the 1970s, when
plans for building a macro-urbanisation in "Ses Salinas" of Eivissa,
with hotels, apartments, shops, clubs, exclusive marina and private areas, were
presented by the owners, "Salinera Española. S.A.", in Sant Josép's
Town Hall, to which this unique and beautiful area belongs. Then a group of
local people (botanicals, intellectuals, artists, architects, professors and
some visionaries) got together to found a platform that in 1977 became officially
"Comissio per la defense de Ses Salinas" under the slogan "Salvem
Ses Salinas" (Let's save Ses Salinas).
on local radio and in newspapers the extraordinary importance of "Ses Salinas"
of Eivissa and Formentera, the necessity of keeping them as a natural reserve
for the autochthonous Flora and Fauna, as a refuge for many kinds of emigration
birds and for wildlife in general.
out that it was one of the most significant wet areas of the Occidental part
of the Mediterranean Sea and reminded everyone of the enormous meaning of the
salt flats industry in the Island's history. They highlighted the traditions,
the historical rights of the Islanders and the joy for our future visitors.
From the very
beginning, the motto "Let's save Ses Salinas" had a large popular
acceptance. In 1978, the platform organised a rally with this motto and 4,000
(mostly young) people participated.
Then in 1982
a couple of dozen of these youngsters, fans of Nature, and some of the veterans
from the platform, founded the group "GEN" (Group d'Estudis de sa
Naturalesa), with the journalist Antonio Pedro Marí as the first president.
of the new-born group were basically the same as the old platform: to study
and protect our Nature and History, to work against the natural destruction
of the Islands, to develop new and more protective laws for the environment,
for the ecological legality, and to start programmes for environmental education
with the schools.
In 1983 GEN
started its first protest campaign, in this case the "irregular" construction
of two blocks of apartments, already being built, on the beach of "Es Codolar"
In 1984 GEN
began a radio program "De la Terra i de la Mar" about Nature in the
"Cadena Cope, Eivissa". It lasted until 1987.
proved GEN was right and the two blocks of "Es Codolar" were declared
illegal. (The constructor knocked down the structures a few years later).
the second protest campaign against the building of five big villas on the small
island of "Tagomago", Northeast of Eivissa. Finally, only one of the
five was built.
In 1986 GEN
published the studies done by the group about the actual environmental situation.
They checked the amount of urbanisation of the Island's coast and the tremendous
ecological impact and also presented a document "l'Opció GEN," plans
and propositions in matters of ecology, culture and economy for the near future.
By 1987 GEN
created the awards "Savina" and "Formigó". "Savina",
the name of one of our most genuine trees, is the positive award, given for
the first time to the local poet Mariá Villangomez. "Formigó" (concrete)
is the negative one. The first concrete block was given as a "vitalise
title" to Abel Matutes Juan.
1988 was not
a good year for GEN. The protest over the construction of a big urbanisation
in "Sal Rosa" (Sant Josép) was a fiasco and only 400 people assisted.
The urbanisation was legally approved and built. Antoni Pedro Marí resigned
as president and there was a serious risk of the group disappearing. The amount
of letters send by the people to local papers and to the group, asking them
to carry on with their magnificent and indispensable task, helped them to decide
to continue. Joan Lulls Ferrer was nominated as provisional president.
1989. GEN recovered
new energies with new and enthusiastic people in its leadership, including Josép
Ramón Balanzat, the speaker of the group, later one of the members of the "Govern
Balear", Fanny Tur, the Counsellor of Environment in the "Consell
Insular", Mariá Marí and Neus Marí, among others. Joan Lluís Ferrer is
the only one left of the anterior directorship.
1990. GEN organised
the first sailing trip around the Islands, with the restored sailing boat "Rafel
Verdera", on which the young pupils had good fun and practical experiences
in sailing, plus a better understanding of Nature. It also started a cycle of
conferences, films, books and all kind of positive information in Eivissa about
environmental matters, given by university professors and other relevant personalities
for the ecology, such as Xavier Pastor, president of "Green Peace"
1991. A new
campaign started against the reform of the LEN (the Law about the protection
of Natural Spaces). The political party P.P. wanted to change or reduce this
law to be able to build more and in more areas, such as Ses Salinas and a new
golf course in Cala d'Hort.
The reform of
this Law was finally approved by the "Govern Balear", with this political
party in control of all Town Halls on the Island, the "Consell Insular"
and the "Govern Balear". A lot of new building licences, even in what
were supposed to be legally protected areas, were given in those days. We still
suffer the effects of it now. Most of the new constructions at present
were approved then; the situation was very critical. Josép Ramón Balanzat left
the GEN to start his political career in the new local party "Es Verds".
Mariá Marí was elected new president of the group.
1992 GEN and
GOB (Grup Ornitologic Balear, already stabilised in Formentera) got together
for a better profit of their task. Since then the group has been called GEN-GOB.
a new campaign against the construction of a new golf course and two urbanisations
in Cala d'Hort. The campaign lasted until 1999 and was the hardest of them all,
with a lot of manifestations, denouncements to tribunals, all kind of meetings,
Neus Marí was
the leader of the new platform "Golf No -Cala d'Hort Park Natural."
There was a serious risk to her life as well for the people working by her side,
as one could read in threatening paintings on walls, just by Sant Josép Town
Hall, the police station and all over the district, together with all kinds
of insults. Nobody stopped those paintings and they were left untouched for
l'Equip de Natura, a new team formed by young naturalists, biologists and other
students, Joan Carles Palerm, Oliver Martinez and Esteban Cardona, who joined
GEN. A lot of scientific programs started with them, such as a new census for
birds and plants (more then 10.000 birds of different kinds have been ringed
by the group since then), walks and field works with school pupils, recycling
In 1995 Ses
Salinas was declared "Reserva Natural" (Natural Reserve, protected
area), this new law coming from the central government in Madrid, and against
the will of our local P.P. government, who wanted to give licences for building
in all the area.
against the construction of 1,000 new apartments to be built in "Ses Feixes
de Talamanca" and "Es Pla de ses Monges". The entire area was
finally declared as a "Protected Area".
the construction of a big house on top of a hill in a "ANEI" by Santa
Agnes, (protected area of special natural value), denouncements to tribunals
were presented by GEN, though the villa was finally build. Five years later,
the tribunals proved GEN right and the house was declared illegal and condemned
to be demolished.
January, GEN organised the biggest manifestation ever in Eivissa, 11.000 people
and the support of all political parties apart from P.P., the motto was "No
of the golf course and the urbanisation in Cala d'Hort started, three days later,
the new "Govern Balear"- "Pacte de Progres"- (for the first
time in our democracy, the government of the Balearic Islands is not for the
conservative party, P.P.), stopped the constructions and started to prepare
a new law to declare the area as Natural Park. The entire area was finally declared
"Park Natural" in 2001.
GEN also started
to have representation in the local government and can vote about new land and
Marí, GEN's president started working with the schools in environmental education.
The experience of this new environmental camp is a big success, increasing the
number of pupils the following year. Joan Carles Palerm was nominated new president.
agreed about the illegality of the house in Santa Agnes and the house was condemned
to be demolished.
This is just
a resume of the amount of activities that GEN did along those years. Yet as
we can see there have been a lot of actions with very important results. But
in my opinion the most important thing that GEN-GOB is still doing is the everyday
work, the anonymous and quiet work, the task of all the members of the group,
sacrificing their valuable time and energy for free, for the love they feel
for Nature and for our Islands, for a better future for all.
I had a long
list of names of people who have collaborated in or with GEN that I wanted to
mention in this article, but it is a loooooong list and I'm sure that it is
for me impossible to even know them all... And the article itself is probably
So! To all of
you: Thank you very much. Many Happy Returns!
March 16th in Vila the local authorities officially presented the
fifth volume of the "Nova Enciclopedi de les Illas Balears" (the New
Encyclopaedia of the Balearic Islands), in which appears part of the botanical
information collected by the local botanicals, already published this year by
the "Societat d'Historia Natural de les Illes Balears" as well as
in the British Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society (2001), 136: 313-322.
This is a resume of the latest work done last year by this group of botanicals,
some of them founders and active members, and all of them backers of GEN, Néstor
Torres, Mario Stafforini, Guillem Puget, of the "Institut d'Estudis Eivissencs"
Juan Miguel Gonzalez, the "GOB-Mallorca", Llorenç Saéz and Jordi Duñó,
from the University and the Garden School in Barcelona. "Notes floristiques
de les Illes Balears" 2001. (XIII). Boll. Soc. Hist. Nat. Balear. 44: 57-66.
ISSN. Palma de Mallorca.
from the Balearic Islands. Data about 48 vascular plants from Balearic Islands
are presented. The following taxa are new records for the Balearic Islands:
Abutilon teophrasti Medik. Bidens aurea (Aiton) Serff, Coriandrum sativum L.,
Launaea arborescente (Batt.) Murb, and Opopanax chironium (L.) Koch.
As a result of the revision of herbarium specimens, the following taxa are excluded:
Aphyllanthes monspeliensis L., Piptatherum paradoxum (L.) Beauv. And Silene
vascular flora, Balearic Islands.
This is the
http://www.gobmallorca.com for those people who want to contact the
GEN-GOB here in the Baleares.