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Protect the purest water in the world

Promoting local and sustainable tourism in Patagonia is key to protecting the world's cleanest waters from mega-projects.

Photo of Federico Jensen
10 14

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Edicion PDF en español / PDF Spanish edition.


Summary:


The extreme zone of the Chilean Patagonia has enormous natural rich resources, among which we can emphasize its numerous glaciers and clean waters. In recent years mega-projects have threatened to destroy the sector and today a growing unsustainable tourism threatens to deteriorate one of the last places in the world without pollution. The tourism industry is one of the most effective ways to protect in Chile, the Patagonia from large/destructive projects. But antecedents already occurring in Chile show how an uncontrolled invasive tourism can destroy more than develop. It is imperative that the Patagonian settlers are those who lead and have the tools and possibilities to be empowered in the rural and controlled tourism. We plan to create a non-profit autonomous organization that grants and manages all the necessary tools to promote sustainable tourism based on the local culture and care of the unique environment, managing to generate empowerment and leadership of the inhabitants and, therefore, the protection of culture and ecosystem, unique in the planet.



Context:


Chile is characterized by its natural and cultural richness, having a unique flora, fauna and geomorphology, as well as being located in its Patagonian territory, one of the most extreme areas of the earth, the purest water in the world(1). In fact, in the area of Patagonia, which is south of the country, isolated from large cities, there are 15,500km2 of glaciers, which represent 60% of the glaciers in Latin America and translate into more than 3,175km3 of Fresh water of the world(2). This sanctuary have been affected not only by global warming in recent years, but also by unsustainable mega projects of mining and energy as well as uncontrolled tourism in some sectors (11).

Unfortunately, Chile is also characterized as one of the few countries where water is privatized(3), where the environment is constantly threatened by mining projects or mega-dams, because of a weak law that defends glaciers (3) and the lack of detailed Sustainable tourism plans for the conservation of the environment and indigenous culture.

A few years ago we were able to see how the local movement “Patagonia Sin Represas”(4) managed to protect the most important rivers of the zone of a biological genocide. Now we can see how, thanks to this success, we might be able to save the most pristine water on the planet; Information revealed by scientific research that was released by the University of North Texas in collaboration with Chilean institutions (1). This study showed that there are less than 2 parts per million chemicals in the waters of Patagonia; A figure that broke records. At the moment the alarms were ignited again by mining projects that want to be installed near glaciers, which threaten to contaminate very large sectors of a unique bioethics.


On the other hand the increase in tourism in Chile has been explosive in the last 10 years, where the number of tourists has doubled to 4.4 million(5,6) in 2015 and the last year an incredible growth of 21.8%. Chile in 2016 was ranked 4th globally as a destination of tourist interest and Patagonia as one of the mandatory sectors to visit (7). This has provoked a huge movement in investments, a 37% increase in the economic activity of Patagonia between 2011 and 2014 (8). The creation of new tourist spaces in the sector have been an expected result considering all the previous factors. 2016 achieved a 98% occupancy rate. This shows that the trend will continue to rise, only in 2016 more than 200 thousand people visited the region of Aysen (9) (part of Patagonia). Recall that almost all the tourist attractions of Patagonia are sectors linked to nature and are exactly those that have had increases of up to 60% of tourists (10). Several towns in the sector are in full economic expansion and although this may sound like  very positive news, the reality is that they are vulnerable to being consumed by foreign or local investors without considering the settlers, generating projects that come to carry the culture and the biotics of the place.


The above mentioned point is not an alarmist assumption, in Chile we already have several antecedents like those happened in: Pucón, Chiloe, Torres del Paine, San Pedro de Atacama and Cochamó (12); Where an exponential growth of tourism not driven by locals but by people outside the community ended up causing great damage for not being based on a sustainable but extractive model. Among these damages is the uncontrolled exploitation of natural resources, the loss of local identity, a flow of economic gain that does not remain in the sector but is transferred to investments outside the community and incredible damage to the original citizens of the Earth. But above all, those projects even if they are touristic, they do not consider the carrying capacity (maximum number of people that can access a natural area before causing irreversible damage) that has a certain place. Among the peoples of Patagonia, places like Cochrane and Rio Puerto Tranquilo have the same characteristics of exponential growth than the places already mentioned decades ago. Two towns in which its greatest attractions are the glaciers and the waters. We can only hope that if we do not strengthen the local community ahead of time, we will come to the same unfortunate outcome.


We can attribute the phenomenon of destructive tourism to two main factors. The first is that this phenomenon happen in such a short period of time, that there is not an adaptation and anticipation of the settlers as well as a governmental action issued. The second, and most important, is the almost nil support to local community and commerce compared to the investment in the outskirts. As mentioned earlier, the local residents are at great disadvantage of opportunities to implement a rural tourism, which respects local culture and resources, to larger projects that do not have a sustainable basis. This does not mean that the projects of greater investment are bad or not necessary, but if these are not accompanied by a healthy citizen growth, they have to be avoided; The imbalance that forms, ends consuming the total available resources generating an irreversible natural destruction and damage to the local and world society, as it would be in this case.


The incredible audacity of the villagers to defend their nature, their history, their effort and lives, has led to find solutions that manage to stop the loss of one of the last places on the planet where the destruction of civilization has not arrived. Propel the sustainable rural tourism industry in the area is a great alternative to protect it from harmful projects. But it is necessary to support the inhabitants, both young and old, to achieve this goal allowing them to lead the “baton” of sustainable tourism. They need to be able to empower themselves and equip them with the capabilities and opportunities to create a sustainable future and to be the guardians of an invaluable treasure for humanity.

Link to the documentation.


Issue:

Patagonia, which owns the cleanest water in the world, 60% of the glaciers in Latin America and have unique biospheres, are in danger because of the threat of dam construction and mining. Promoting sustainable rural tourism is an great alternative to protect the resources and culture of the place, something possible thanks to the increase of tourism in the area. Unfortunately the history of Chile shows that the emergence of tourism without plans for containment and support for citizenship causes destruction by not taking into account local people, not based on a sustainable model and be mostly foreign investments that do not favor or care about the local culture and identity. In addition to not generating both social and economic development in an egalitarian and ethical way. It is necessary that the inhabitants educate themselves, have spaces of entrepreneurial empowerment, networks of professionals and constant support. Empowering their territory is key to sustainable tourism; Directed, managed and led by them. This can ensure the expulsion of the area of future mega-projects. As well as a smartly managed tourism, inspired and developed under the “Design Thinking Process” not to cause the same disasters that happened in Chiloé, Pucón, Torres del Paine, Cochamó and San Pedro de Atacama.





Solution:

It is necessary to create a non-profit entity that has the capabilities to educate the population, unite efforts, provide tutorial help, generate nodes of national and international collaboration, have technological tools, educate both entrepreneurship and management and generate a Space of knowledge transfer and leadership so that the citizens will know much better their territory and they will be empowered to protect it. In this way the settlers themselves will be able to know how to invest in their territory and create a sustainable tourism that helps social development, cultural protection, sheltering the enormous wealth of water and biotic of the place. To be able to form local leaders who have the knowledge to be able to direct a correct tourist development that guarantees the protection of the Patagonia. Consequently the territory can not be invaded by megaprojects that attack nature, destroy the purity of waters, accelerate the melting of glaciers and affect the flora and fauna of the sector. It is important to point out the importance that this non-profit entity can adopt a financing method that assures its permanence in time.



Goals:

  1. To ensure that the most important sectors of Patagonia have an increase in the sustainable rural tourism industry, led by local agents to protect the culture, geomorphology, biotic, pristine water and glaciers of the place.

  2. Generate a physical space managed by an autonomous and non-profit entity that provides, parallel to government institutions: new technologies, develop studies, coordinate entrepreneurship tools, national and international working nodes, talks and tutorials that aim to empower And empower local actors by providing them with greater opportunities

  3. Generate a culture of sustainable local tourism that counteracts foreign invasive investment that could destructively exploit the territory.

  4. Regulate the dichotomy of ecological and social development and destruction. Bone protect a healthy transition in periods of investment.

  5. Generate a business model based on donations and state contests that allows it to ensure its independence and permanence over time.


  6. Support existing organizations to play a key role in knowledge transfer and citizen representation.


Link to Supporting documentation


Explain your idea

The extreme zone of the Chilean Patagonia has enormous natural rich resources, among which we can emphasize its numerous glaciers and clean waters. In recent years mega-projects have threatened to destroy the sector and today a growing unsustainable tourism threatens to deteriorate one of the last places in the world without pollution. The tourism industry is one of the most effective ways to protect in Chile, the Patagonia from large/destructive projects. But antecedents already occurring in Chile show how an uncontrolled invasive tourism can destroy more than develop. It is imperative that the Patagonian settlers are those who lead and have the tools and possibilities to be empowered in the rural and controlled tourism. We plan to create a non-profit autonomous organization that grants and manages all the necessary tools to promote sustainable tourism based on the local culture and care of the unique environment, managing to generate empowerment and leadership of the inhabitants and, therefore, the protection of culture and ecosystem, unique in the planet.

Who Benefits?

This project will directly benefits the entire community residing in Patagonia (180.000 habitants), ensuring their social development. It protects the culture and ecosystems of the sector, especially the conservation of glaciers and the purity of the waters. Indirectly benefits the entire world community, ensuring the protection of a unique and irrecoverable resource comparable to the Amazon or Antarctica, such as freshwater

How is your idea unique?

It seeks to create for the first time in Chile, an establishment dedicated to the promotion of entrepreneurship and tourism development that ensures the conservation of culture and environment. An independent government and non-profit identity dedicated to supporting the protection of Patagonia is a key need for the preservation of nature, especially water and glaciers. It could become one of the first centers of entrepreneurship in an extreme region of the world.

Idea Proposal Stage

  • Prototyping: I have done some small tests or experiments with prospective users to continue developing my idea.
  • Piloting: I have started to implement my solution as a whole with a first set of real users.

Tell us more about you

I am Eduardo Testart, professor at UAI university and I met Federico at the “Garage”, a place at the university to develop projects. He is a hard working, smart and sensitive student that took the decision after winning a huge project to transfer it and move to Patagonia to regain energy, at a place that he has been visiting each year for the last 7 years. Being at Patagonia, he contac me in to look for funds in order to develop a project for the region in some terms. When I find the invitation by Ideo , I thought that this was a good project to work with. Both love science, education, the environment and people… therefore we decide to work together.

On the other side, Federico dedicated to the creation of projects with high social impact. With experience and success in the last years in the area of ​​natural disasters and medicine. Highlighting the patenting of a system to stop the essential tremor and parkinson. As well as the creation of a digital platform for the coordination of people in catastrophic situations, currently occupied by the national emergency office.

In Patagonia we have the direct support of 4 important and old organizations:

Sustainable Tourism Grouping (Agrupación de Turismo Sustentable). Constituted in 2013, with the purpose of contributing strategies and tools for the management and planning of a sustainable tourism development in its territory. It carries out actions of environmental education to transfer knowledge and alternatives of a good life.

Cultural and Environmental Grouping Rio Pascua, Villa O`Higgins. (Agrupacion Cultural y medioambiental Río Pascua. Villa O`Higgins). With 8 years of experience in projects in the area of ​​biodiversity conservation, heritage, residential solid waste reduction, among others.

Escualos Nautical Club (Club Náutico Escualos, Cochrane). Since 1999 with the purpose of taking care of the rivers and lakes of the area, as a space for entertainment, sporting, educational, cultural, environmental and historical training for Cochrane children and youth.

 We have the support of three local leaders:

Violeta Flores Barria, Cochrane, daughter of a pioneer family, mother and artisan in local production wool. He is a social leader of more than 20 years and activists in the movement Patagonia Without Dams since the first hour.

Jorge Molina, Cochrane, great-grandchild of pioneers, physical education teacher. He is an environmental educator in projects of social and environmental innovation in localities such as Chie chico, Guadal and Cochrane. Campaign activist in Patagonia without dams.

Maria Paz Hargreaves, lives 20 years ago in Tortel, architect. Businesswoman. Activist and leader in the campaign Patagonia Without Dams and in the fight against salmon. Participates in the formation of the Coastal Protected Marine Area from the community. He also works in environmental education with the children of Tortel.

Expertise in sector

  • 7+ years

Organization Filing Status

  • Yes, we are a registered non-profit.
  • Other
View more

Attachments (2)

Full project in English.pdf

Project in pdf. Do not include links to extra documents. Please download the other document to access the sources.

Supportingdocumentation.pdf

In the following documentation are technical details and support to the data occupied in the planting of the idea and content for the OpenIdeo project.

10 comments

Join the conversation:

Comment
Photo of Karen Michell
Team

Me agrada la idea de fomentar el desarrollo local, además de proteger el ecosistema.

Photo of Eduardo Testart
Team

Gracias Karen: Muy importante concitar el apoyo de muchos para que pasemos a la segunda fase y asi poco a poco poder hacerlo realidad. Pide a tus contactos que nos apoyen votando y comentando.

Saludos

Photo of Hans Rojas Bruna
Team

Genial!!

Photo of Eduardo Testart
Team

Gracias Hans por leer este proyecto y apoyarnos con tu voto. Nos da gusto saber de personas como tu, nos da gusto saber que con Federico no estamos Solos.

Ojala sumemos muchos que lo lean y nos apoyen.

Saludos

Photo of Francisco Testart
Team

Excelente idea, ojala prospere y asi proteger el agua !!!

Photo of Eduardo Testart
Team

Gracias Francisco!! Comentalo con amigos para que nos apoyen si le parece.Al menos para nosotros es un gran proyecto y tenemos buenas ganas y esperanzas con Federico!!

Photo of Dulce Romii
Team

Me encanto!! Todo el exito y ojala se logre.

Photo of Eduardo Testart
Team

Gracias Dulce por leer y apoyarnos. No sera facil pues hay mas de 600 propuestas pero con Federico estamos convencidos que es un gran proyecto, una tremenda necesidad y algo muy importante para la humanidad.

Photo of Nicole Bañados
Team

Maravillosa idea! Soy Ingeniera Ambiental de profesión y aspiro a un desarrollo sustentable. Hace ya unos años vengo viajando y maravillandome de la naturaleza de Chile y de la Patagonia; y siempre he creído que el turismo es la "herramienta" clave que Chile necesita para su economía, potenciando lugares de forma sustentable y dejar de lado la visión extractiva a corto plazo que tiene hoy en día. He tenido la suerte de trabajar en las Torres del Paine (no como profesional ambiental) pero he podido aprender mucho, y conocer muy de cerca los problemas de capacidad de carga de senderos, de como unos pocos sacan provecho del turismo, y como las localidades cercanas, a veces, no sacan todo el potencial turístico.
Espero que este proyecto se concrete, y por qué no, en algún momento poder aportar de mi conocimiento, experiencias e ideas para que la sustentabilidad en la Patagonia sea un hecho y sea un ejemplo para ser replicado en todo Chile.

Photo of Eduardo Testart
Team

Nicole:

Bien venida al equipo si seguimos avanzando!! Por ahora debemos pasar a la segunda etapa. Gracias por tu comentario. Saludos, Eduardo Testart