Boneiru Duradero on Tour

Boneiru Duradero will travel around Bonaire to report about sustainable activities by companies, (non) governmental organisations and local people. The outcomes of these visits will be published here and on the Facebook page Boneiru Duradero Portal by means of a short interview and a visual impression.

Plaza Beach Resort Bonaire goes Solar!

Almost eleven months ago I received an email from David Rietveld, general manager of Plaza Beach Resort that he is willing to sit down with me and talk about Plaza Beach Resort and their sustainable efforts. Great news given hotels are extremely important stakeholders in regard of local sustainable development. During our tour on Plaza property, David explained to me the basic need for moving direction a more sustainable way of hospitality management, as hotels are massive consumers of water and electricity, resulting in an enormous monthly WEB bill. Besides the need to reduce the WEB costs the hotel also wanted to move direction a more sustainable way of hospitality management given Bonaire depends on its beautiful environment.

Asking about concrete examples of sustainable investments David informed me of their purchase of 4.000+ solar panels, watersavers and energy saving air-conditioning systems for every hotel room. Amazed by the amount of solar panels, I asked him where they were planning to place the panels and he surprised me with the answer: the tennis court. All tennis courts will be re-used as a solar-field, hosting more than 4.000 panels! Asking why the panels will be placed at the court and not at the roofs, David explained that this recommendation is one of the outcomes of a technical report done by energy professionals. The surprising outcome also had a big financial benefit, as it is cheaper to place them at the tennis courts than on the roofs.

As the current energy legislation is not pro-sustainable for local entrepreneurs or households, I asked David how he copes with the local energy regulation and how this will affect Plaza’s transformation direction sustainable energy generation. “At one point you need to make a decision” says David. “We have involved WEB in our start up plans and even proposed a public private partnership, but unfortunately it did not lead to a sustainable partnership. Nevertheless now I can say that I am very happy the way WEB is working together with us. They have shown interest and they are helping to realize a safe connection to the grid of the WEB. Making the decision to invest in 4.000 solar panels and a total replacement of all high energy using air-conditioning systems is a bit of a gamble, but sometimes you need to take a risk to move forward and encourage others to move direction sustainable investment and development”.

Besides sustainable use of energy and water, Plaza Beach Resort also supported local awareness campaigns in partnership with Boneiru Duradero. For these campaigns Plaza Beach Resort has co-produced several awareness video clips about waste disposal and hosted the event AWARE, which took place in May 2015. Besides awareness-campaigns, Plaza has been focusing on recycling waste by separating glass, paper and rest waste. A great example of reducing waste (re-use) is actually the agreement Plaza made with distributors of Zula. Plaza will only import Zula beers if Zula takes back the yellow beer crates to recycle, which are now scattered everywhere on the island.

Asking David about challenges to move direction sustainable hospitality management he highlights the importance of a few conditions, “you need to have: money to invest; contacts to help; work with experts; space for your investments; involve your co-workers; a favorable legal framework and you need to have the guts to do it”. It took eleven months, but the project is alive and Plaza is definitely showing some guts! We encourage all hotels on Bonaire to follow their steps and move direction sustainable hospitality management.

Outdoor Bonaire & Auriga Ecolodge

Did you know that Bonaire has an Eco-lodge located about 15 minutes from Playa???

And did you know that you can jump of a cliff while being secured on a leash? Well I didn’t so I decided to set up an interview with Hans Voerman the owner of Auriga Eco-lodge and Outdoor Bonaire to find out more.

The interview began with me standing on a cliff in Republiek while Hans was explaining to me how to make it down to the ground alive. Given Hans experience as an offshore survival instructor, I must say I felt really safe and I was able to write up this interview. Since 1990 Hans has been living on Bonaire. The tranquility and the stunning underwater world were his main reasons to anchor on this pristine island. In the beginning he worked as a dive master, but turning back from a short but necessary ‘island break’ the pleasure for diving turned into a frustration due to the changes in the local dive scene. During his years working as a dive master, Hans explored the outdoors of Bonaire and often took friends and visitors with him to show the natural beauty of Bonaire. This hobby turned into a small business and Outdoor Bonaire was born.

This was almost 12 years ago, since then Outdoor Bonaire has been taking residents and visitors of the island on kayaking, caves, climbing, bird-watching tours and if you felt the desire for extra adrenaline you can also abseil from a steep cliff. Besides outdoor activities Outdoor Bonaire also organizes teambuilding and fun group events, where colleagues really get to know each other in a different way. As a group Hans will take you “zip lining”, rappelling and climbing, this is a great way to find out how well you can rely on your colleagues, especially when you are standing on the ridge of a cliff.

After five years of outdoor activities and teambuilding events, Hans visited Saba and Ecuador and became inspired with the concept of managing an Eco-lodge. His inspiration was enough for him to actually start building his own Eco-lodge, Auriga. Asking Hans how he built the lodge, I was surprised to hear that he built it mostly by himself with the help of some friends, even though he has zero experience building constructions. Building the lodge took about three years with many challenges.

Auriga ecolodge is located near the route of Washikemba and consists out of 1.3 hectares. One part of the site is maintained, the other site is a fenced ‘wild area’ to give native trees the opportunity to grow back after years of goat gatherings. Hans shows me two photos, which illustrate clearly the impact of having no goats on the property for about 5 years and lots of rain as the fenced area is full with native flora and the presence of the birds in this area has increased.

Though ecotourism has become more popular over the past years, it still does not have a high presence in Bonaire. Hans explains that although ecotourism is the easiest way of tourism because you only need nature, it is also extremely difficult if your nature is in a semi arid region thereby facing challenges growing your own fruits and vegetables. In the past Hans tried to grow vegetables in his green house but rats and iguanas forced him to look for other alternatives, so the green house is now a chicken coop. Besides chickens; pigs and ducks are also residents of the lodge.

Visitors of Auriga are mostly residents from the Netherlands, United States or Canada. Their main goals are to withdrawn from the hectic society and enjoy the natural beauty of Bonaire by joining Hans on his tours.

Given Hans has been living on the island since 1990, I asked him if he thinks Bonaire has become more clean and sustainable over the past years. He highlights the improved work of Selibon and his guests also mention that Bonaire looks cleaner than Curacao, but on the other hand, he does notice more dumping of waste, as for instance the illegal dumping of waste at diabase sites. Which is a direct problem in the vicinity of the Auriga Ecolodge. The lodge is located within the new rural development plan (Plattelandsontwikkelingsplan) near the new Washikemba route.

Though the rural development plan aims to sustainably develop the rural sites around Washikemba, the collection of diabase seems to be a real problem in this area. Diabase is a soil of volcanic origin, which is used for road and housing construction on the island. Although a permit by law is required to collect diabase, there has been an increase of illegal collection of this natural resource.

A problem aligned to the illegal collection of diabase is the illegal dumping of waste at a diabase site to optimally use the trips of the trucks. So in practice natural resources are being replaced by illegal dumped waste, which should be a major concern. “So if Bonaire is cleaner depends on the way you look at it” says Hans. More education on waste management as in reduce, reuse and recycle of waste is very much needed, as is the regulation of diabase collection.

Last question, best thing of running an ecolodge? “Since I was a little boy I always wanted to be surrounded by nature and give something back to nature, which is what I am doing right now”.

 

Want to experience Bonaire from a different point of view check out their website or their Facebook page here.

 

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Shushu’s Divine Natural Products

Op 18 juni 2015 organiseerde Boneiru Duradero de eerste informatie avond over Marshe di Playa, welke vanaf eind september van start zal gaan. Tijdens deze avond waren er 42 geïnteresseerden voor de markt aanwezig waaronder Shurna van der Heijden-Windster. Shurna maakt luchtverfrissers en schoonheidsproducten met natuurlijke ingrediënten en daar wilden wij natuurlijk meer over weten! Sinds mei 2015 woont Shurna… Read more →

Phish Phaktory

Since November 2014 Bonaire has gained a new, young and innovative company called Phish Phaktory. The company is managed by Eunan Doherty and Suuz Zelders, who have both been living on Bonaire for three years. The reason for interviewing Eunan and Suuz is because of their inspiring sustainable business concept. They make new innovative products out of used materials with… Read more →

Fundashon Mariadal

Afgelopen maand was ik op visite bij Fundashon Mariadal en sprak ik met Cherel Kwidama en Javier Semeler over interne duurzame ontwikkelingen bij het Fundashon Mariadal. Cherel werkt al 11 jaar bij Fundashon Mariadal (FM). In 2004 begon hij bij FM als medewerker van de technische dienst bij de afdeling facilitair bedrijf. Sinds 2011 werkt Cherel bij de afdeling BKV,… Read more →

ONIMA

Last week Boneiru Duradero was welcomed by the backbones of Onima: Jaap Ensing and his daughter Sanny Ensing. About 20 years ago Jaap Ensing was working as a traditional pharmacist in the Netherlands. When he moved with his Family to Curaçao in the eighties, he was introduced to the various magical benefits of Aloe Vera, which immediately got his attention,… Read more →

Hugo Bernal

Hugo is recycling glass bottles in a very creative way! A few years ago, a friend of Hugo and his partner Gilberto stopped by in Bonaire. He brought them a present from South Africa: a vodka bottle candleholder. His gift inspired Hugo so much that he immediately spend all his free time figuring out how to cut glass bottles and… Read more →

Krusada

Afgelopen donderdag was Boneiru Duradero op visite bij Stichting Krusada op de Kaminda Lagun. Ik sprak met Eric de Jong, algemeen directeur, over de recente ontwikkelingen betreffende het groenproject. Krusada is van oorsprong een christelijke stichting welke zich lokaal inzet voor verslavingsproblematiek op Bonaire sinds 1999. De focus van de stichting is om meer structuur aan te brengen in het… Read more →

Pakus Di Pruga

Pakus di pruga is a second hand shop, or you could also say a second hand mini market including a mini bookstore, run by volunteers. All funds raised at this mini market, will go towards the Animal Shelter Bonaire. So you contribute in two ways, you provide affordable items and you financially support the animal shelter! Last Saturday morning I… Read more →