The "Grup 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,
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.
They always 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.
The corrupted 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 identity.
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 problems.
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).
It declared 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
They pointed 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.
The objectives 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" (Sant Josép).
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.
The Tribunals proved GEN was right and the
two blocks of "Es Codolar" were declared illegal.
(The constructor knocked down the structures a few years later).
GEN started 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
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" in Spain.
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 started 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, etc.
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 several months.
GEN created 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.
1996, Campaign 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".
Campaign against 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.
1999, 22nd 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
The construction 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 building
2,000, Mariá 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.
2001, Tribunals agreed about the illegality
of the house in Santa Agnès and the house was condemned to
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 too long.
So! To all of you: Thank you very much.
Many Happy Returns!
The Good News
On Saturday 16th March 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.
Floristic Records 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 tridentata
Keywords: Floristics, vascular flora, Balearic
This is the WebSite address http://www.gobmallorca.com
for those people who want to contact the GEN-GOB here in the
José P Ribas