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Prof. Carmen González-Toro Environmental Education Specialist Universidad de Puerto Rico Recinto de Mayagüez Colegio de Ciencias Agrícolas Servicio de Extensión Agrícola SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT: THE PUERTO RICO EXPERIENCE RULE Institute, January 2007 By

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sustainable development the puerto rico experience
Prof. Carmen González-Toro

Environmental Education Specialist

Universidad de Puerto Rico

Recinto de Mayagüez

Colegio de Ciencias Agrícolas

Servicio de Extensión Agrícola

SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT: THE PUERTO RICO EXPERIENCE

RULE Institute, January 2007

By

sustainable development the puerto rico s experience
Sustainable Development: The Puerto Rico's experience
  • Background information
    • Puerto Rico as a territory
    • Economy
  • Sustainable development definition
    • The ecological footprint
  • Puerto Rico’s experience and results
  • Discussion
puerto rico as a territory has
Puerto Rico as a territory has
  • USA citizenship (since 1917)
    • US Constitution and US federal law
  • USA currency
  • English and Spanish languages
  • US Social Security benefits
  • Minimum wage
  • USA border patrol rules and regulations (INS)
puerto rico as territory has
Puerto Rico as territory has
  • One resident commissioner with voice, but no vote in Congress
  • No vote in Presidential elections
  • USA defense
    • Army, Navy, Reserve, National and Coast Guard
  • USA Postal Service
  • No federal tax for individuals
puerto rico as a territory
Puerto Rico as a territory
  • Puerto Ricans have been fighting in the U.S. armed forces since World War I, when the island became a U.S. territory and its residents became citizens.
  • Altogether, more than 150,000 Puerto Ricans served in World War II, Korea and Vietnam.
puerto rico
Puerto Rico
  • Island – 100 miles long, 35 miles wide
  • 3.9 million people
    • 1,124 persons per sq mile
    • 9,000 persons per sq mile in San Juan metro
  • 71% Urban – 29% Rural
  • 78 municipalities or townships
  • Unemployment rate: 12.5%
  • 58% live under US poverty guidelines
  • 50% fertile soils
    • 30% land has over 60% slope
economy
Economy
  • Agriculture…………… 1%
  • Industry……………….45%
    • Pharmaceuticals
    • Construction
  • Services……………..54%
    • Tourism
    • Retail stores
employment alternatives
Employment Alternatives
  • Industry
  • Service jobs
  • Farming
puerto rico agriculture
Puerto Rico - Agriculture
  • 1% gross national income
    • (3% labor force)
  • Major agricultural productos
    • Milk
    • Poultry
    • Starchy crops (bananas, root crops)
    • Coffee
  • 50% fertile soils
    • 27% land has 36-60% slope
    • 30% land has over 60% slope
coffee production
Coffee Production
  • The economy of 22 municipalities depend on the coffee production
  • 2004-05 coffee production was 175,000 hundred weight (quintales)
  • We do not produce enough coffee to supply the local demand
industry
Industry
  • Historically, Puerto Rico, (manufacturing makes up roughly 42% of the economy), has underemphasized the territory's $3 billion tourism industry because its leaders concentrated on bringing in U.S. companies by offering federal tax breaks.
tourists choosing caribbean neighbors over puerto rico usa today 9 2006
Tourists choosing Caribbean neighbors over Puerto Rico USA TODAY 9/2006
  • Puerto Rico's weak performance comes as other Caribbean nations with lower operating costs are successfully courting travelers — including a growing number of upscalevacationers — and investing significant resources to enhance their tourism infrastructure and hotel room counts, according to the study.
industry20
Industry
  • Most manufacturing companies are gone
  • Factories are closing or outsourcing
  • Pharmaceuticals are reducing operations
  • Construction prevails as the main industry
sustainable development
Sustainable Development

Definition

Economic development that is achieved without undermining the incomes, resources, or environment for future generations.

sustainable development22
Sustainable development

Requiresaction to promote the:

  • Economy
  • Community involvement
  • Natural Resources
  • Social values
  • Security
ecological footprint
Ecological footprint
  • Used to depict the amount of land and water area a human population would hypothetically need to provide the resources required to support itself and to absorb its wastes, given prevailing technology.
  • The term was first coined in 1992 by Canadian ecologist and professor at the University of British Columbia, William Rees.
ecological footprint24
Ecological Footprint
  • Footprinting is widely used around the globe as an indicator of environmental sustainability. It can be used to measure and manage the use of resources throughout the economy.
  • It is commonly used to explore the sustainability of individual lifestyles, goods and services, organizations, industry sectors, regions and nations.
why measure our use of nature
Why measure our use of nature?
  • If we cannot measure, we cannot manage. To make sustainability a reality, we must know where we are now, and how far we need to go. These are essential tools for government, business management and grassroots for organizing the use of natural resources.
  • The ecological footprint concept is used to assess the sustainability of nations.
ecological footprint26
Ecological footprint

We need measuring rods to track progress for:

  • Sustainability and people's use of nature
  • Measures of carrying capacity and human impact on the Earth
pr ecological footprint
PR Ecological Footprint
  • Carl Axel Soderberg, EPA Director for PR indicated that PR FP = 2 X Cuba
  • Cuba (745mi x 124mi) = 7 X PR
  • It means that we need an island 26 times bigger to be sustainable
my footprint quiz results
My footprint quiz results

CATEGORY:

ACRES FOOD 3.5; MOBILITY 1; SHELTER 6.4; GOODS/SERVICES 6.7 TOTAL FOOTPRINT18IN COMPARISON, THE AVERAGE ECOLOGICAL FOOTPRINT IN YOUR COUNTRY IS 24 ACRES PER PERSON. WORLDWIDE, THERE EXISTS 4.5 BIOLOGICALLY PRODUCTIVE ACRES PER PERSON.

IF EVERYONE LIVED LIKE YOU, WE WOULD NEED 3.9 PLANETS.

puerto rico s experience
Puerto Rico’s Experience
  • Puerto Rico has been a United States territory for more than a century.
  • Considered self-governing, with no voting representation in the U.S. Congress.
  • This Commonwealth status has given Puerto Rico many advantages over other low-income economies.
puerto rico s experience30
Puerto Rico’s Experience
  • During the 1950s and 1960s, Puerto Rico consistently outperformed similarly populated countries such as South Korea, Taiwan and Singapore.
  • All that has changed - the prosperity of the post-World War II decades has ended.
  • The island economy has become recognized for its destitution and joblessness.
puerto rico s experience31
Puerto Rico’s Experience
  • Since the 1970s, Puerto Rico's economy has steadily deteriorated, (poverty levels twice those of Mississippi).
  • Unemployment (officially reported 12 – 14 %) is more likely to be 40 - 50 % because of the island's low labor participation rate.
  • Only 46 % of the population has a formal job, and nearly half (1/2) of the island's salaried employees work directly or indirectly for the government.
puerto rico s experience32
Puerto Rico’s Experience
  • The Commonwealth's government expenditures are now over $9.6 billion, leaving the tiny nation with a steadily-rising deficit of $3 billion.
  • Puerto Rico's paternalistic bureaucratic and political policies have turned the island into a no-growth, debt-ridden economy.
puerto rico s experience33
Puerto Rico’s Experience

Puerto Rico's drastic economic decline can be blamed on many factors:

  • the unintended consequences of an expanding government role in the provision of welfare services.
  • a sharp rise in the amount of federal transfer payments to citizens (increased from $69 million in 1968 to over $8 billion in 2002 for disability, unemployment, and welfare payments) now account for one-fifth of the island's personal income.
  • This massive social spending, which began in the 1970s and continues today, has resulted in severe domestic disinvestment in the economy.
puerto rico s experience34
Puerto Rico’s Experience
  • Domestic capital investment has declined from 32 % of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 1970 to 16 % in 2000.
  • This means that the Puerto Rican government, rather than supporting the creation of jobs and market incentives, relies primarily on tax-induced revenue and foreign investment for any growth in the island's GDP.
puerto rico s experience35
Puerto Rico’s Experience
  • Changing the island's economic activity from production to distribution, the Puerto Rican bureaucracy has crowded out community solutions and business incentives.
  • These policies have created: labor distortions, private disinvestment, and have left a large segment of the population without the skills or ambition necessary to achieve economic mobility.
puerto rico s experience36
Puerto Rico's experience
  • Puerto Rico's rising welfare expenditures have created unsustainable economic trends, and have brought devastating consequences to the island's entire population.
results of our experience
Results of our experience
  • Puerto Rico to continue its present urban sprawl in 60 years, half of the Island will be urban and in 75 years, all the Island will be urbanized.
    • (Based on a study by the Metropolitan University, San Juan)
results of our experience38
Results of our experience
  • This dramatic transformation has resulted in:
    • Climate changes
    • Pollution
    • Health related problems
    • Diminished tourism
    • Lost of social and cultural legacy
    • Economic decline
puerto rico experience
Puerto Rico experience
  • Water quality problems
  • Reservoirs reduced storage capacity
  • High unemployment rate
  • Poor infrastructure (maintenance)
  • High demand for land use
  • Lack of environmental understanding
  • Need for collaborative work
  • Loss of family values
  • Waste management problems
  • Community – Environmental concerns
puerto rico s experience40
Puerto Rico’s Experience

Soil erosion

Water pollution

Endanger coral reef

puerto rico s experience41
Puerto Rico’s Experience
  • Conclusion

As Puerto Rico has shown, when public solutions (government) replace market forces, the loss of privately-produced goods and services can lead to economic stagnation and decline

lets talk about
Lets talk about…
  • What relevance does this situation have to the state of Pennsylvania or your home district?
  • What can be done to make it sustainable?
recommendations
Recommendations
  • Community land use is fundamental to sustainability
    • plan the physical layout,
  • Change from poorly-managed sprawl to land use planning to maintain efficient infrastructure
    • Restoration and rehab of urban centers/ vertical construction
    • Less vehicle dependency
    • Create public space/land preservation
    • Educate citizens and elected officials
references
References
  • The Ecological Footprint of Nations by Mathis Wackernagel
  • Smart Communities Network http://sustainable.doe.gov/landuse/luintro.shtml
  • The Smarter Land Use Project http://landuse.org/guidebook.html
  • To calculate your footprint http://www.mec.ca/Apps/ecoCalc/ecoCalcHousing.jsp
  • USDA-NRCS Area-wide Conservation Planning Course, National Employee Development Center.
  • Smart Growth, Lorri Jones, Lifescapes Texas A&M, Vol.4, No. 2, Summer 2004, P. 6-8.
virtual visit
Virtual visit -

www.geog.nau.edu/courses/alew/ggr346/ft/overseas/?epr