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Sustainability Matters – December 2020

As the sun sets on 2020, IbizaPreservation returns with some reflections on the past year and offers some sustainable New Year’s resolutions

Photo courtesy of Jon Izeta for IbizaPreservation

Winter is always a special time of year in Ibiza. Aside from the odd storm passing through, the days are still fairly sunny and warm, and - in a normal year - it's a chance for the island and its residents to recover from the excesses of the season and enjoy the natural beauty of the place at a somewhat slower pace.

Of course, as we know all too well, this has been far from a normal year; a global pandemic arriving on these shores back in March soon saw to that. Ibiza usually welcomes around 3 million visitors per year, the vast majority of those in the summer months; the latest official data shows that the number of tourists dropped by over 80% between January and October this year compared with the same period in 2019.

Pros and cons

From a purely environmental perspective, there's no question that the sharp reduction in visitor numbers has had a positive impact. Our waters were cleaner and clearer, and dolphins were regularly spotted frolicking in areas that would normally see heavy boat traffic. Meanwhile the grounding of planes during the lockdown led to a 98% reduction in CO2 emissions registered on the island, according to data collected by our Sustainability Observatory.

However, the heart and soul of this island – not to mention its economy - are inextricably linked with its foreign visitors and, without them, many businesses and families are struggling. The number of people being helped by Cáritas, a local social relief charity, has already tripled and is sure to increase as winter wears on. Other food bank initiatives, such as Ibiza Food Bank and Carritos Solidarios Marco Martín, are similarly overwhelmed with demand.


Protect what you love

With this in mind, for all the environmental benefits it may bring, we at IbizaPreservation are not by any means calling for tourists to stay away. What we do wish to promote, however, is a more environmentally conscious and sustainable form of tourism. We want to preserve and protect our natural resources as much as possible, so that future generations of visitors can get to enjoy them just as much as we do.

12 sustainable resolutions

So, as the year draws to a close, we would like to offer you 12 New Year's resolutions for making your trip to our beautiful islands as sustainable as possible:

  1. Carbon offset your flights – there are many schemes available, such as ceroco2.org. You can also carbon offset bookings on platforms like Expedia, Airbnb and Booking.com, plus purchases with lots of other retailers, for free via UCapture.com.
  2. When choosing accommodation, check out their “green” credentials. Many villas now have solar panels, while some hotels have committed to reducing plastics as part of our Plastic Free Ibiza and Formentera initiative. There are also a number of eco-resorts and boutique hotels to choose from.
  3. Consider whether you really need a vehicle while you are here; if you do, perhaps try a hybrid or even fully electric car. Ask your rental company if they offer this option.
  4. Bring a refillable water bottle and a tote bag for your shopping to cut down on single-use plastics.
  5. In bars and restaurants, ask for your drink to be served without a plastic straw or any other single-use plastics.
  6. At the beach, take your rubbish away with you when you leave and dispose of it in the correct waste or recycling bins. If you're a smoker, don't leave your cigarette butts in the sand. They can take up to 10 years to decompose and also release harmful toxins into the environment.
  7. Consume locally grown produce as much as possible. It's better for our health and better for the planet as it helps to reduce carbon emissions. Check out this great directory put together by our Ibiza Produce project to find out where you can get your hands on km0 products. When eating out, support restaurants that serve local produce.
  8. If you fancy a day on the water, consider an outing on a sailboat instead of a motorboat. There are many companies to choose from but Saga Ibiza, La Bella Verde and Bohemian all offer charters, while iBi Foundation's catamaran is specially adapted to collect plastics from the sea. There are also several companies offering stand up paddle-boarding tours.
  9. If you do take a motorboat charter, check what the company policy is on disposing of wastewater. Dumping it into the sea is illegal within 12 miles of the coast and boats should be using the facilities offered in the marinas. Also ask the captain not to anchor in the Posidonia seagrass meadows. Doing so can damage or even destroy this precious plant. As part of our Posidonia protection project, we have funded the development of a special app for both iPhone and Android, mapping out the meadows as a guide to where and where not to anchor.
  10. Purchase sun cream made without chemicals, to help reduce pollution in the water, which harms the Posidonia and other marine life. There are plenty on the market; Sol de Ibiza is one option and by buying from them you are also supporting our work, as they donate 1% of their profits to IbizaPreservation!
  11. Save water by turning the tap off when brushing your teeth or washing your hands and keeping showers short.
  12. Become a member of IbizaPreservation! For just €8 a month or €85 a year you can contribute to our work and become part of a community committed to building a more sustainable future for Ibiza and Formentera. We offer family membership too – visit our website for more information and to sign up.

For those of you who are resident in Ibiza, many of these resolutions can easily become of your daily life - and of course they can be shared with any friends or family who are planning a visit.

We would like to take this opportunity to wish you and your loved ones very happy, healthy and, of course, sustainable holidays, not just at Christmas but all year round. See you in 2021!


You can find out more about IbizaPreservation and donate towards their work by going to their website: ibizapreservation.org. You can also follow them on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

Check out Ibiza Spotlight's recommended eco-friendly businesses whilst you are here and help to support a greener, cleaner Ibiza and Formentera.

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