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The defense of common natural assets

"The common goods are not for sale, they are not negotiable, precisely because they are common, they are neither" public "nor" natural "even though they rest in the millenary nature and are within the predatory reach of the public. The concept of "public" ("total is public") is virtually associated with depredation and the use of free will, not the concept of belonging of an entire people, a meaning that should be used as valid. Then we talk about common goods, not "public goods" or "natural goods." (...) in any case natural commons ... "Javier Rodríguez Pardo.

The first Earth Summit, in the 70s, was promoted by massive demonstrations in the USA. so that the political representatives take the defense and protection of the environment in their agendas.

These actions were continued in 1972 at the first International Conference on the Environment, the Earth Summit in Stockholm, where they aimed to raise awareness among world leaders about the magnitude of environmental problems.

Since then, awareness has grown in the world population about the transversal nature of the environmental problems that clearly cross our daily life, while communities are taking in their hands the defense of the environment when their representatives do not or make decisions They attack life by affecting ecosystems, native forests, water and territories in different ways. The historical experience, in the country and in the world, shows that this defense can occur through institutional mechanisms such as public hearings, popular consultations, plebiscites, etc., or through the path of direct mobilization before the impermeability of the powers of the moment.

"The reality of the metropolitan overpopulation serves to illustrate that to the extent that environmental problems are becoming the problems of the common citizen, it is becoming more relevant that this has contact not only with environmental rights that national and international laws foresee, but with the environmental duty that is intrinsic to them, a duty that requires mechanisms to be exercised and, at the time, be the articulation of an environmental citizen participation capable of influencing in a relevant way in the treatment of the problems to which faces.

Citizen participation arises as a consequence of the democratic principle and is supported without regard to the right to information related to environmental projects, or that are likely to cause an injury to natural resources and the environment, and the guarantee of a effective participation in decision making. Therefore, it is not enough to provide information on a specific project to satisfy this postulate, but it is necessary to give an eminently important role to the affected population in decision-making "(1).

Local participatory processes

At the local level, our NGO has promoted and encourages citizen involvement in the defense of the environment, informing and educating for a responsible participation that also allows preventive action and not only after environmental damage. There the creation of the Urban Coastal Reserve in 2004 was registered, which was driven by a group of citizens aware of the need to protect the ecosystem of the Río Gallegos estuary, stop the advance of the city on it and start to see this site apparently "empty" for what it is: the shelter of a wonderful biodiversity and a provider of environmental services necessary for the city. This was a process in which different actors of society had participation.

Another of the fundamental milestones of citizen participation for the environment in Río Gallegos was the holding of the first Public Hearing in 2007. Not coincidentally, the first time this Institute was used in the city had as its axis an environmental issue, the creation of a System of Urban Natural Reserves (SRNU), which led to the enactment in 2009 of municipal ordinance No. 6762 that created the System. This instance was a genuine participatory process where various sectors of the community expressed their opinion and it was made explicit in the sanctioned norm that this could not be modified without a prior public hearing, in addition to contemplating the creation of a Participative Management Body that involves sectors of the State, 's, University and neighbors. The Entity was formally conformed, which our organization integrates and was part of the promoter group.

This experience has been replicated in other Patagonian cities, where workshops and participatory meetings have been held for the creation of R.N.U., as in the cases of El Chaltén and Río Grande, opportunities in which Ambiente Sur provided technical assistance and resources.

Also, from our work in local reserves, we have greatly encouraged participation through support groups for reserves made up of neighbors and friends, with which plenaries are held and work priorities are established for conservation, prevention and environmental education.

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