- Waste Management
- Sustainable Tourism
- Fair and Local Trade
ACTIONS TOWARDS GREENER TOURISM
We are willing to work with touristic businesses in Minca; they are key actors for the local community growth. We aim to inspire a positive change in this tourist sector so they can be a leading example for the local sustainable development. For this reason we are creating a project for businesses to assist them in reaching a better sustainable management
WHY IS THIS RESEARCH IMPORTANT?
- The fast increase of tourist demand in Minca results in a rapid growth of tourist-oriented businesses in and around the village.
- The continuous opening of new businesses often occurs uncontrolled or unsupervised by public authorities.
- Higher levels of production, consumption and inappropriate waste management result in rapid resource exhaustion and waste generation.
- Short-term orientation of businesses with a main focus on immediate profit leaves behind important factors such as sustainability in the long term.
- The potential influence of touristic businesses in Minca to demonstrate successful sustainable management.
- The ability of businesses to be a leading example for the local society.
- Understand the current situation of existing sustainability practices among tourist businesses in Minca.
- Establish a realistic and feasible criteria for minimum level of sustainability as an equal playfield for all businesses.
- Develop a realistic and feasible action plan for businesses to implement and obtain a minimum level of sustainability in their management practices in accordance to the public policies.
Environmental Project: "Minca Limpia"
We want to create a better system of waste management for Minca. With the rapid increase of tourism in the area, it has become an increasingly important issue. In January 2015, we launched a recycling project in Minca to combat the increasing waste issue. With the help of local businesses, institutions, residents and visitors, we are working to reduce the amount of waste produced, as well as place value on the waste generated, to protect the local diversity and water sources of Minca.
Project Update: Minca Limpia
Currently, we have just finished our pilot proposal of waste management for the urban area of Minca. In this, we propose a collaborative plan with several local allies based on the three R strategy (reduce, reuse and recycle) to reduce the amount of waste production through its transformation into raw materials for agriculture.
Right now, we are searching for allies and partners who want to join and collaborate with us to solve one of the biggest problems that Minca and the Sierra Nevada are facing: waste management.
If you are interested in getting involved, email us at email@example.com.
- Launched a local recycling project: collecting, sorting and transporting over 2.5 tons of recycled material to date
- Partnered with the Association of Recyclers in Santa Marta and Recopila for the proper disposal of batteries
- Hosted various community workshops on sustainable practices
- Participated in more than 12 community clean ups with the local residents and police in Minca
- Developed educational campaigns for children and young adults using art as a pedagogical tool and waste as a primary material
- Involved public institutions; including the police, local schools and more than 14 local businesses
- Installed the first "Punto Limpio": a public infrastructure for waste management, in Minca (see more details below)
- Reduce the amount of waste generated in Minca and give value to the waste generated by local businesses and institutions
- Collect and ensure the correct disposal of hazardous materials; such as batteries, light bulbs and oil
- Develop practical lessons to promote adequate waste management
- Actively participate in community activities for waste management
- Promote community management and selective arrangement of solid waste
- Increase the quantity of points to recycle and dispose in Minca
- Develop a local strategy for the reuse of organic waste utilizing a system of compost
- Implement activities with children focused on environmental issues
WHY IS THIS PROJECT IMPORTANT?
- The growth of tourism development in Minca increases the amount of waste generated
- The presence of waste and hazardous materials in natural areas and water sources have negative effects on the local biodiversity
- The lack of infrastructure; such as public bins for the waste generated in town
- The lack of any system of solid waste management and classification leads to the accumulation of excessive trash in public areas, where abandoned animals (like dogs and donkeys) rip open the plastic bags looking for food
- The negative impacts on local tourism development due to the accumulation of trash in tourism sites
- The negative effects on human health; such as diseases generated by the irresponsible disposal of plastic
We are always looking to improve our impact and strategies. Working on the project, "Minca Limpia," offers a great opportunity for a Research Project about Waste Management.
Within the project, “Minca Limpia”, we have created a practical initiative for the residents of Minca to manage their waste properly. In March 2017, we installed a collecting and sorting point called "Punto Limpio". At this point, people dispose their waste and recycling in closed containers, preventing garbage to spread from varying external conditions (i.e. animals, weather, cars, people, etc); therefore, enabling public places to remain clean and attractive.
How does it work?
Punto Limpio consists of a basic infrastructure; a wooden box designated for waste disposal and a tank for recycled goods. Both containers are open all week to encourage use. This initiative remains new and we are actively in the process of improving the functionality of this space.
Solidarity Tourism & Cooperation
We encourage beneficial cultural exchanges and local cooperation by developing programs with volunteers and professional interns. In order to promote mutual understanding, we also provide Spanish classes.
WHAT WE DO
- Work with volunteers and interns year-round
- Engage with the community about the growing tourism industry by offering living and learning experiences
- Develop plans on how to achieve more sustainable growth
- Grow our volunteer and internship program
- Increase the number of foreigners learning Spanish to encourage and facilitate cultural exchange
- Encourage visitors to act responsibly while they are enjoying the outdoors
- Promote international understanding and foster a mutual sense of compassion and consideration
WHY IS THIS PROJECT IMPORTANT?
Tourism is rapidly becoming more popular and represents both a risk and an opportunity for the local community. It helps develop the economy by creating new jobs and presents opportunity for cultural exchange between residents and tourists. We are convinced that the new paradigm of tourism is defined by making people more aware of their impact on the places they visit, including both the environment and the people. This project emphasizes the enriching learning experience for both participants and hosts that tourism has to offer.
Fair and Local Trade
Misión Gaia promotes the commercialization of organic and natural products made by local producers from the Sierra Nevada of Santa Marta. We want to inform visitors about their power to make a difference by purchasing fair and local trade as an ecologic and economic alternative.
WHAT WE DO
- Collaborate with local producers and connect them with residents of Minca, local visitors and foreigners
- Manage a small shop that provides local, natural and organic products
- Raise awareness among visitors about how they support our different programs of sustainable development and education, but also the local economy by shopping with us
- Help develop the local economy by collaborating with more producers of Minca and other villages in the Sierra Nevada of Santa Marta
- Inform visitors about the importance of buying local and organic products
WHY IS THIS PROJECT IMPORTANT?
- Local producers struggle to compete with the bigger industries
- There is a large amount of small producers in the region; covering almost all needs from food to garmets
- As natural resources are growing scarce, it is important to raise awareness about the benefits of environmentally friendly behavior and consumption habits
- Adopting a more natural lifestyle is more than a trend but a real sustainable act: consuming organic and natural products encourages the alternative economy and helps preserve the planet