Marbella has a long way ahead to become sustainable. Sadly, despite the growing concern of both residents and visitors, the city of Marbella offers very few activities or projects that aim to tackle environmental issues and promote sustainable development.
There seem not to be many initiatives run by the local administration that address environmental concerns and aim to make of the 21st century Marbella a greener city. However, there is one educational project set up by the City Council which involves an exhibition of recycling and sustainability installed inside a road show trailer that tours schools so that children can visit it and learn about environmental issues.
On a more practical level, there is very little Marbella offers to the environmentally conscious tourist who does not want to increase his or her carbon footprint while on holidays in Marbella.
Two initiatives promote the use of bicycles as a means of urban mobility. One is Marbella on Bici, http://marbellabycivic.com that offers courses on Sustainable Urban Mobility and organises gatherings for people to cycle around the city. The other initiative is the parking underneath the central Alameda park, where you can get a bike free of charge if you park your car there.
As we all know, industrial food production is responsible for a large part of gas emissions and almost all fruit and vegetables for sale in supermarkets have travelled long distances and carry hefty carbon footprints. Luckily, Bionatura, the organic shop in the centre of Marbella offers a selection of locally grown fruit and vegetables, and Andalucía Ecológica, www.andalucia-ecologica.com offers certified organic fruit and vegetables home delivery service for those who want to eat healthy and support the local organic farms. Another option are the local markets (Mercados Municipales), where you can buy locally grown fruit and vegetables, however most of these have been treated with pesticides and fungicides.
The only vegetarian restaurant in Marbella, The Living Hut (Avda. Miguel Cano 11), is about to close. According to Helen, the restaurant manager, global warming is caused to a large extend by animal husbandry, responsible for 9% of CO2 emissions and 37% of methane and 65 % of nitrate oxide gases. If we were to stop eating meat, and start a vegetarian diet we could fight climate change and help our planet to recover.
The Michelin starred restaurant, Skina (C/ Aduar 12), in Marbella’s historic centre has started using organic fruit and vegetables. This is a significant initiative by a Marbella restaurant that aims to cater for a growing environmentally conscious public who prefer to eat fresh, healthy and locally sourced food. We believe that more restaurants on the Costa del Sol should follow the initiative of Skina. Hideaki, the chef, leads by example using locally grown vegetable in his exquisite dishes.
Another recent environmentally friendly initiative is called Arboretum, an educational forest concerned with environmental issues. Under the slogan: 100 people – 1000 trees, the Marbella Arboretum aims to gather 100 volunteers to plant and look after 1000 trees. They also offer an educational programme called “Permaculture and Sustainability” that includes subjects such as “Healthy Habitat”, “Bioconstruction”, “Renewable Energies”, “Sustainable Water Management” and “Sustainable Social Economy”. http://arboretummarbella.org/
The association Women’s trails are committed to clear the overgrowth of the ancient trails of the Sierra Blanca Mountains, just a few miles outside the city centre. Here, you can participate at your own pace, and learn a lot about the importance to preserve a unique habitat for plants and animals. http://mujeresenlasveredas.blogspot.com/
The Pinsapo Environmental Group of Marbella organises hiking tours to the Sierra Blanca and Sierra de la Nieves, and are a mayor player in the reforestation of the Marbella hinterland. http://www.ecologistaspinsapo.com/
It is clear, that there is still a lot that needs to be done to make Marbella a more sustainable place. Somos Marbella strongly supports institutional and private initiatives that aim to create a sustainable and environmental conscious Marbella. The future of our city depends on how we manage the environment and its resources, and on the development of local work places. Buying products that have been produced in Marbella and its surroundings minimises significantly the carbon footprint of each citizen and helps creating and maintaining local workers.