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SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT: THE PUERTO RICO EXPERIENCE Prof. Carmen González-Toro Environmental Education Specialist Universidad de Puerto Rico Recinto de.

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Presentation on theme: "SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT: THE PUERTO RICO EXPERIENCE Prof. Carmen González-Toro Environmental Education Specialist Universidad de Puerto Rico Recinto de."— Presentation transcript:

1 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 RULE Institute, January 2007 By

2 Sustainable Development: The Puerto Rico's experience Background information Background information Puerto Rico as a territory Puerto Rico as a territory Economy Economy Sustainable development definition Sustainable development definition The ecological footprint The ecological footprint Puerto Rico’s experience and results Puerto Rico’s experience and results Discussion Discussion

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4 Puerto Rico as a territory has USA citizenship (since 1917) USA citizenship (since 1917) US Constitution and US federal law US Constitution and US federal law USA currency USA currency English and Spanish languages English and Spanish languages US Social Security benefits US Social Security benefits Minimum wage Minimum wage USA border patrol rules and regulations (INS) USA border patrol rules and regulations (INS)

5 Puerto Rico as territory has One resident commissioner with voice, but no vote in Congress One resident commissioner with voice, but no vote in Congress No vote in Presidential elections No vote in Presidential elections USA defense USA defense Army, Navy, Reserve, National and Coast Guard Army, Navy, Reserve, National and Coast Guard USA Postal Service USA Postal Service No federal tax for individuals No federal tax for individuals

6 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. 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. Altogether, more than 150,000 Puerto Ricans served in World War II, Korea and Vietnam.

7 Map of Puerto Rico

8 Puerto Rico Island – 100 miles long, 35 miles wide Island – 100 miles long, 35 miles wide 3.9 million people 3.9 million people 1,124 persons per sq mile 1,124 persons per sq mile 9,000 persons per sq mile in San Juan metro 9,000 persons per sq mile in San Juan metro 71% Urban – 29% Rural 71% Urban – 29% Rural 78 municipalities or townships 78 municipalities or townships Unemployment rate: 12.5% Unemployment rate: 12.5% 58% live under US poverty guidelines 58% live under US poverty guidelines 50% fertile soils 50% fertile soils 30% land has over 60% slope 30% land has over 60% slope

9 Economy Agriculture…………… 1% Agriculture…………… 1% Industry……………….45% Industry……………….45% Pharmaceuticals Pharmaceuticals Construction Construction Services……………..54% Services……………..54% Tourism Tourism Retail stores Retail stores

10 Employment Alternatives Industry Industry Service jobs Service jobs Farming Farming

11 Puerto Rico - Agriculture 1% gross national income 1% gross national income (3% labor force) (3% labor force) Major agricultural productos Major agricultural productos Milk Milk Poultry Poultry Starchy crops (bananas, root crops) Starchy crops (bananas, root crops) Coffee Coffee 50% fertile soils 50% fertile soils 27% land has 36-60% slope 27% land has 36-60% slope 30% land has over 60% slope 30% land has over 60% slope

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13 Coffee Production The economy of 22 municipalities depend on the coffee production The economy of 22 municipalities depend on the coffee production coffee production was 175,000 hundred weight (quintales) coffee production was 175,000 hundred weight (quintales) We do not produce enough coffee to supply the local demand We do not produce enough coffee to supply the local demand

14 Coffee plantation

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16 Coffee shrub with green fruits

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18 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. 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.

19 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 upscale vacationers — and investing significant resources to enhance their tourism infrastructure and hotel room counts, according to the study. Puerto Rico's weak performance comes as other Caribbean nations with lower operating costs are successfully courting travelers — including a growing number of upscale vacationers — and investing significant resources to enhance their tourism infrastructure and hotel room counts, according to the study.

20 Industry Most manufacturing companies are gone Most manufacturing companies are gone Factories are closing or outsourcing Factories are closing or outsourcing Pharmaceuticals are reducing operations Pharmaceuticals are reducing operations Construction prevails as the main industry Construction prevails as the main industry

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

22 Sustainable development Requires action to promote the: Economy Economy Community involvement Community involvement Natural Resources Natural Resources Social values Social values Security Security

23 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. 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.landpopulation technologylandpopulation technology The term was first coined in 1992 by Canadian ecologist and professor at the University of British Columbia, William Rees. The term was first coined in 1992 by Canadian ecologist and professor at the University of British Columbia, William Rees. University of British ColumbiaWilliam Rees University of British ColumbiaWilliam Rees

24 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. 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. It is commonly used to explore the sustainability of individual lifestyles, goods and services, organizations, industry sectors, regions and nations.

25 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. 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. The ecological footprint concept is used to assess the sustainability of nations.

26 Ecological footprint We need measuring rods to track progress for: Sustainability and people's use of nature Sustainability and people's use of nature Measures of carrying capacity and human impact on the Earth Measures of carrying capacity and human impact on the Earth

27 PR Ecological Footprint Carl Axel Soderberg, EPA Director for PR indicated that PR FP = 2 X Cuba Carl Axel Soderberg, EPA Director for PR indicated that PR FP = 2 X Cuba Cuba (745mi x 124mi) = 7 X PR Cuba (745mi x 124mi) = 7 X PR It means that we need an island 26 times bigger to be sustainable It means that we need an island 26 times bigger to be sustainable

28 My footprint quiz results CATEGORY: CATEGORY: ACRES FOOD 3.5; MOBILITY 1; SHELTER 6.4; GOODS/SERVICES 6.7 TOTAL FOOTPRINT18 IN COMPARISON, THE AVERAGE ECOLOGICAL FOOTPRINT IN YOUR COUNTRY IS 24 ACRES PER PERSON. WORLDWIDE, THERE EXISTS 4.5 BIOLOGICALLY PRODUCTIVE ACRES PER PERSON. ACRES FOOD 3.5; MOBILITY 1; SHELTER 6.4; GOODS/SERVICES 6.7 TOTAL FOOTPRINT18 IN 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.

29 Puerto Rico’s Experience Puerto Rico has been a United States territory for more than a century. 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. 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. This Commonwealth status has given Puerto Rico many advantages over other low-income economies.

30 Puerto Rico’s Experience During the 1950s and 1960s, Puerto Rico consistently outperformed similarly populated countries such as South Korea, Taiwan and Singapore. 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. 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. The island economy has become recognized for its destitution and joblessness.

31 Puerto Rico’s Experience Since the 1970s, Puerto Rico's economy has steadily deteriorated, (poverty levels twice those of Mississippi). 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 % because of the island's low labor participation rate. Unemployment (officially reported 12 – 14 %) is more likely to be % 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. 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.

32 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. 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 paternalistic bureaucratic and political policies have turned the island into a no-growth, debt-ridden economy.

33 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. 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. 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. This massive social spending, which began in the 1970s and continues today, has resulted in severe domestic disinvestment in the economy.

34 Puerto Rico’s Experience Domestic capital investment has declined from 32 % of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 1970 to 16 % in Domestic capital investment has declined from 32 % of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 1970 to 16 % in 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. 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.

35 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. 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. 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.

36 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. Puerto Rico's rising welfare expenditures have created unsustainable economic trends, and have brought devastating consequences to the island's entire population.

37 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. 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) (Based on a study by the Metropolitan University, San Juan)

38 Results of our experience This dramatic transformation has resulted in: This dramatic transformation has resulted in: Climate changes Climate changes Pollution Pollution Health related problems Health related problems Diminished tourism Diminished tourism Lost of social and cultural legacy Lost of social and cultural legacy Economic decline Economic decline

39 Puerto Rico experience Community – Environmental concerns Community – Environmental concerns 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 problemsWaste management problems

40 Puerto Rico’s Experience Soil erosion Water pollution Endanger coral reef

41 Puerto Rico’s Experience Conclusion 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

42 Lets talk about… What relevance does this situation have to the state of Pennsylvania or your home district? What relevance does this situation have to the state of Pennsylvania or your home district? What can be done to make it sustainable? What can be done to make it sustainable?

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44 Recommendations Community land use is fundamental to sustainability Community land use is fundamental to sustainability plan the physical layout, plan the physical layout, Change from poorly-managed sprawl to land use planning to maintain efficient infrastructure Change from poorly-managed sprawl to land use planning to maintain efficient infrastructure Restoration and rehab of urban centers/ vertical construction Restoration and rehab of urban centers/ vertical construction Less vehicle dependency Less vehicle dependency Create public space/land preservation Create public space/land preservation Educate citizens and elected officials Educate citizens and elected officials

45 "We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children" "We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children"

46 References The Ecological Footprint of Nations by Mathis Wackernagel The Ecological Footprint of Nations by Mathis Wackernagel Smart Communities Network Smart Communities Network The Smarter Land Use Project The Smarter Land Use Project To calculate your footprint To calculate your footprint USDA-NRCS Area-wide Conservation Planning Course, National Employee Development Center. 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 Smart Growth, Lorri Jones, Lifescapes Texas A&M, Vol.4, No. 2, Summer 2004, P. 6-8.

47 Virtual visit -


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