Green organizations for sustainable future
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Green organizations for sustainable future
Green organizations for sustainable future
Green organizations for sustainable future
Green organizations for sustainable future
Green organizations for sustainable future
Green organizations for sustainable future

Newsletter

Newslatter July 2019

"Blue Economy": the wealth of the future is underwater.

99% of the living space is found in the seas and oceans. Hence, they keep a lot of resources, such as fish, minerals, energy from waves and tides, or algae, which are already being replaced by plastics.

 

When this summer is on the coast and looks towards the sea you will see one of the main resources that will be exploited in Europe during the next years. The limitations imposed on sources of supply that are the most polluting for human health have led to the promotion of the use of natural resources. The water, and what it keeps under it, is the largest of all because beyond representing 67% of the surface of the planet, counting its depth and depth, it forms 99% of the habitable space throughout the world.

 

This is what Gunter Pauli, author of the book "The Blue Economy", remembers, as it has been called the recognition of the seas as a source of wealth, without forgetting the environmental benefit that its use over other resources implies. In Europe, surrounded by seas and oceans, it has not overlooked the importance that the Blue Economy can have for the set of national accounts that are being remade in recent years. In fact, the sector has experienced a sustained increase even in times of crisis. "According to the first report of the European Commission in this regard, it has experienced steady growth over the last decade."

 

Job

 

However, although in the United Kingdom achieve greater productivity of the Blue Economy, Spain is a leader in terms of jobs that are generated. In 2016, there were 700,000 employed persons who were part of this sector, when in the British nation and Italy it remained at 400,000. If the sum of workers is greater than in the United Kingdom, but they get less benefit, it is because what they stand for requires more labor and generates a lower profit margin.

 

The best example is the extraction of oil and gas from the seabed, which depends more on technological efficiency than on direct human intervention. In addition, both resources allow obtaining high profitability in the market, thanks to its high demand and limited supply. However, 40 years ago, the United Kingdom found gas sources in the North Sea and, recently, hydrocarbons west of the Shetland Islands. The exploitation of these deposits means that the nation occupies 56% of the total of European jobs destined for the extraction of oil and gas, from which they obtain 66% of added value, very far from their persecutor, Denmark, with 16 %. Spain, on the other hand, leads other types of work that generate less added value such as the extraction of living resources, that is, fish, molluscs, crustaceans, aquatic plants ... In this regard, we generate 22% of employment in Europe , almost overwhelm those who follow us, the Italians and the French. However, not so much productivity is achieved, because only 17% of added value is achieved, 2% more than France.

 

And it should continue to grow almost out of necessity because according to Gunter Pauli "we eat too much of the land and not enough of the sea," and we will have to change our eating habits to give a necessary respite to the overexploited provisions of the land. The use of marine resources will be related to a sector that many still have trouble imagining today, such as textiles. But Pauli also maintains that "in 100 years we will no longer grow cotton, but it will be replaced by algae."

 

And not just cotton. The plastic has already begun to be replaced by plastic in bottles and other packaged products, whose packaging of algae is biodegradable. This recent innovation has an environmental implication, since among its objectives is to provide a solution to the pollution of the seabed. "In the United Nations program for the environment, eight million tons a year are said to be dumped into seas and oceans. In 2050 there will be more plastics than fish and 99% of seabirds will have ingested it, "explained Santi Mier, founder and CEO of Ocean 52, at the company's presentation on May 17.

 

Although it is one of the last companies to join the Blue Economy market, its presence has not gone unnoticed due to the novelty of its product. It is a drink made with minerals from the depths of the oceans (up to 600 meters in the North Pacific) and sources of magnesium.

 

Fishing

 

Innovation, as demonstrated by Ocean 52, is the order of the day to expand the extraction of resources the seas and oceans. But, in this sense, the most important activity of all is the most traditional, fishing. Spain is the highest producer of the European Union in this sector, representing 20% โ€‹โ€‹of the quota, reaching in 2016 more than 898,335 tonnes of fish and shellfish, according to the latest statistics from the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, Food and Environment . With Spain at the forefront, living resources (mostly fish) have experienced an increase of 22% in the period 2009-2016, mainly thanks to the promotion of the European Common Fisheries Policy.

 

This initiative, born in the 70s, was last updated in 2014, with an allocation of 6,400 until 2016 through the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (FEMP). The Secretary General of Cepesca and President of Europêche regrets that, despite the importance of the role of continental policy in the rise of the sector, "only 11% of the aid has been used due to bureaucratic and foreign problems. » Furthermore, he adds that "it is contradictory", with the favorable that the European Commission has shown to the "Blue Economy", that the allocation for Spain for the years 2017-2021 has been reduced to 6,140 million euros.

 

Tourism

 

Fishing is not the sector in which the leadership of Spain is most prominent. This is tourism, occupying 25% of European employment and added value. Cruises are the main source of wealth for maritime tourism. The ships arrive at the ports, which are the letter of introduction of our country to them. Hence, the application of the principles of the "Blue Economy" in the infrastructures has reached the national coasts, highlighting the Port of Vigo, as indicated by the last report of the European Commission.

 

The President of the Port Authority of the Galician city, Enrique César López Veiga, explains that one of his main projects revolves around the regeneration of the seabed. To counteract the degeneration they have suffered, especially by the dumping of garbage, biotechnology is used. This sector, currently faces several challenges to regenerate the depths of the oceans and seas or how to extract discharges or how to apply marine resources such as algae to reduce CO2 emissions.

 

Like Vigo, another Spanish region that has opted for this line of research is the island of Gran Canaria. The University of Las Palmas and the Island Council have created the brand Bioasis Gran Canaria, the new corporate identity of the Platform of Excellence in Biotechnology and Aquaculture. With this, it aims to promote projects around these two sectors and, thus, promote the work of companies in this innovative way.

 

The regions that can benefit most from the "Blue Economy" have opted for it and time is right, as seen in their own experiences. López Veiga says that generates an "active and participatory consultation", because in their workgroups aimed at studying this economy, there are about 300 people. Thus, he continues, "there are representatives of sectors that did not speak to each other and now they know and share ideas. There is a feeling of community, a lot of power in the port and, specifically in Vigo, many projects are made with the technology of Galician origin ».

 

Renewables

 

It is difficult to find an economic activity that can be rid of some "but", and this was not going to be the exception. Many regions of Europe do not fully exploit their potential in the "Blue Economy", because, despite all the coast that has the European territory, not yet power as it should the tidal energy, produced by the tides, nor the wave, the one coming from the force of the waves. The United Kingdom is once again the European reference in this sector, followed by Denmark and Sweden. However, from the Port of Vigo, Spain, they are implementing the use of Natural Gas to reduce CO2 emissions by 30% in 2030.

 

The future for Europe in the seas is quite promising. The Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, Food and Environment estimated that the Blue Economy will grow twice as fast as the general economic increase until 2030. This, they point out, will mean 10.8 million jobs and an additional billing of 1 billion euros.

 

 

Source: Diario La Razón. Spain

The photo was taken from the site https://pixabay.com/.

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