Bosque andino colombiano antioquia.jpg
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Keywords Latin America, Countries
Authors Phil Green
Liz Kimbrough
Published 2010
License CC-BY-SA-4.0
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Colombia ( (listen) kə-LUM-bee-ə, -⁠LOM-; Spanish: [koˈlombja] (listen)), officially the Republic of Colombia, is a transcontinental country spanning South America and an insular region in North America. It is bordered by the Caribbean Sea to the north, Venezuela to the east, Brazil to the southeast, Ecuador and Peru to the south, the Pacific Ocean to the west, and Panama to the northwest. Colombia comprises 32 departments and the Capital District of Bogotá, the country's largest city. It covers an area of 1,141,748 square kilometers (440,831 sq mi), with a population of 50 million. Colombia's rich cultural heritage reflects influences by various Amerindian civilizations, European settlement, African slaves, and immigration from Europe and the Middle East. Spanish is the nation's official language, besides which over 70 languages are spoken.

Biodiversity[edit | edit source]

Proyecto Tití Cotton-top Tamarin conservation program[edit | edit source]

Cotton-top Tamarin in Colombia. Rights for this image provided by morguefile.com
Proyecto Titi is the name of an environmental program centered in Colombia with a special focus on the conservation of a critically endangered primate species endemic to the country, the Cotton-top Tamarin (Saguinus oedpipus). Due mainly to destruction of forest habitat and human colonization, the population of Cotton-top Tamarins has reached devastatingly low numbers in recent years. Proyecto Titi, which was founded in 1985, aims to bring awareness to the plight of the Cotton-top Tamarin through community education programs that focus on sustainability, as well as by encouraging field research studies that would hopefully allow us to better understand these secretive primates and protect the greater Colombian ecosystem as a whole.[1]

Biodiversity of Colombia[edit | edit source]

Colombia is one of the megadiverse countries in biodiversity, ranking first in bird species. As for plants, the country has between 40,000 and 45,000 plant species, equivalent to 10 or 20% of total global species, which is even more remarkable given that Colombia is considered a country of intermediate size. Colombia is the second most biodiverse country in the world, lagging only after Brazil which is approximately 7 times bigger.

Colombia is the country with the planet's highest biodiversity, having the highest rate of species by area as well as the largest number of endemisms (species that are not found naturally anywhere else) of any country. About 10% of the species of the Earth live in Colombia, including over 1,900 species of bird, more than in Europe and North America combined. Colombia has 10% of the world's mammals species, 14% of the amphibian species and 18% of the bird species of the world.

Colombia has about 2,000 species of marine fish and is the second most diverse country in freshwater fish. It is also the country with the most endemic species of butterflies, is first in orchid species, and has approximately 7,000 species of beetles. Colombia is second in the number of amphibian species and is the third most diverse country in reptiles and palms. There are about 1,900 species of mollusks and according to estimates there are about 300,000 species of invertebrates in the country. In Colombia there are 32 terrestrial biomes and 314 types of ecosystems.

Trees, woodland and forest[edit | edit source]

The government of Colombia has launched the Amazon Vision Project. The Project, with the financial backing of Norway, Germany, and the United Kingdom, aims to completely eradicate deforestation of Colombia's Amazon by 2020. In the Climate Summit of 2015, Colombia, Germany, Norway, and the United Kingdom signed a Joint Declaration to strengthen collaboration on the climate and forests in Colombia. Norway has committed to a total of 1.8 billion Norwegian crones to Colombia within 2020.[43] The project has been adopted as a national policy and priority in the new National Development Plan 2014-2018.[44] The inclusion of the Program in this PND meant that for the first time in the country there is a framework for development policy that promotes green growth strategies with concrete goals of education of consequences of deforestation and goals of conservation and sustainable use for the Amazon region, offering the opportunity to influence national policies by inserting specificities of the Amazon region that help the region reduce deforestation.[45] The project aims to improve forest governance, plan a sustainable sector development, begin environmental governance with indigenous people and enable conditions for the environment to thrive. W

Environmental issues in Colombia[edit | edit source]

Decades of civil war and political unrest has impeded biological and environmental research in Colombia. The political unrest in Colombia catalyzes the alteration of land patterns through the cultivation of coca and opium crops, the redirection of extractive activities, and land abandonment in some areas.

There are many environmental issues in Colombia. Issues include deforestation, soil erosion, illicit drug crops grown in national natural reserves by mafias (not peasants), pollution on major bodies of water by corporations (backed up by unregulated / unsupervised policies and by the corruption of local and federal authorities) among others.

There is soil and water quality damage from contamination by the use of chemicals in the coca-refining process, spillage of crude oil into the local rivers as a result of guerrilla sabotage of pipelines, overuse of pesticides, and air pollution (especially in Bogotá) from vehicle emissions. Natural hazards include highlands subject to volcanic eruptions, occasional earthquakes, and periodic droughts. W

Cycling[edit | edit source]

Ciclovía[edit | edit source]

Ciclovía (, Spanish: [θikloˈβi.a]), also ciclovia or cyclovia, is a Spanish term that means "cycleway", either a permanent bike path or the closing of certain streets to automobiles for cyclists and pedestrians, a practice sometimes called open streets.

The inspiration for Ciclovías is credited to Bogotá, Colombia, although the National Capital Commission in Canada's capital Ottawa already organised open streets for active transportation in 1970. The events have taken place since December 1974 when they started through the efforts of organizer Jaime Ortiz Mariño and others cyclist aficionados. However, it was until 1976 when Bogota's Mayor Luis Prieto Ocampo signed the 566 and 567 decrees that Ciclovia became an official program promoted by the City government and supported by the Transportation Department. In Bogotá, permanently designated bikeways are also known as ciclorrutas, while streets temporarily closed for that purpose are called ciclovías.

Each Sunday and public holiday from 7 am until 2 pm certain main streets of Bogotá, Cali, Medellín, and other municipalities are blocked off to cars allowing runners, skaters, and bicyclists to workout in a more comfortable environment. At the same time, stages are set up in city parks. Aerobics instructors, yoga teachers and musicians lead people through various performances. The great variety of traditional food and drinks offered in snack stalls motivates many locals and tourists to go around the Ciclovía. Bogotá's weekly ciclovías are used by approximately 2 million people (about 30% of the population) on over 120 km of car-free streets.

In 2007, a Colombian congressman, José Fernando Castro Caycedo, proposed a law banning Ciclovia, charging that it caused traffic jams. Ciclovia users protested the change, and received support from ex-mayors Peñalosa and Samuel Moreno, as well as several members of the city council and other congressmembers. The proposal was defeated.

The Bogota Ciclovía provides service from 7:00 am to 2:00 pm Sundays and holidays of the year by the main roads of the city, connected in a circuit of over 121 kilometers long and covers all sectors of the city.

This time space was born in 1974. Since 1995 its management was taken over by the IDRD. Since then and gradually, it has been constructed to reach its present appearance and acceptance among its thousands of users. Its infrastructure allows nearly one million (1,000,000) users leave their homes to safely practice different types of physical activities.

The Ciclovía was awarded under the II International Competition 2005 Active Cities Healthy Cities, through its contribution to the development of an alternative and efficient physical activity in the city. W

Food activism[edit | edit source]

Solar cooking resources in Colombia

Sustainable transport[edit | edit source]

Urban transport[edit | edit source]

Urban transport systems have been developed in Bogotá, Medellín, Cali and Barranquilla. Traffic congestion in Bogotá has been greatly exacerbated by the lack of rail transport. However, this problem has been alleviated somewhat by the development of one of the world's largest and highest capacity bus rapid transit (BRT) systems, known as the TransMilenio (opened 2000), and the restriction of vehicles through a daily, rotating ban on private cars depending on plate numbers. Bogotá's system consists of bus and minibus services managed by both private- and public-sector enterprises. Since 1995 Medellín has had a modern urban railway referred to as the Metro de Medellín, which also connects with the cities of Itagüí, Envigado, and Bello. An elevated cable car system, Metrocable, was added in 2004 to link some of Medellín's poorer mountainous neighborhoods with the Metro de Medellín. A BRT line called Transmetro began operating in 2011, with a second line added in 2013. Other cities have also installed BRT systems such as Cali with a six line system (opened 2008), Barranquilla with two lines (opened 2010), Bucaramanga with one line (opened 2010), Cartagena with one line (opened 2015) and Pereira with three lines (opened 2006). A light rail line in Barranquilla is planned.

see also: Bogotá community action, Sustainable transport activism

Chiva bus[edit | edit source]

A chiva (Spanish for goat) or escalera (Spanish for ladder and stairs) is an artisan rustic bus used in rural Colombia. Chivas are adapted to rural public transport, especially considering the mountainous geography of the Andean region of these countries.

The buses are varied and characterized by being painted colorfully (usually with the yellow, blue, and red colors of the flags of Ecuador and Colombia) with local arabesques and figures. Most have a ladder to the rack on the roof which is also used for carrying people, livestock and merchandise.

They are built upon a bus chassis with a modified body made out either metal or wood. Seats are benchlike, made out of wood and with doors instead of windows. The owner or driver usually gives the vehicle a unique nickname.

Urban sustainability[edit | edit source]

La Ciudad Verde

Resources[edit | edit source]

Ecovillages[edit | edit source]

Gaviotas is an ecovillage located in the Llanos of the Colombian department of Vichada. It was founded in 1971 by Paolo Lugari who assembled a group of engineers and scientists in an attempt to create a mode of sustainable living in one of the least hospitable political and geographical climates in South America.

Centro las Gaviotas

News and comment[edit | edit source]

2021

Colombia's Medellin plants 'green corridors' to beat rising heat, Jul 28 [2]

2016

Colombia bans coal mining in the páramos! February 12 [3]

2010

2010 SEED Award Winners,[4] November 3

"BOSQUE HUMEDO BIODIVERSO" is a business initiative headed by a local NGO that uses fruit and pulp as ingredients for the local cosmetics and food industries. The use of non-timber products will reduce deforestation of tropical forests and local families will benefit from collecting value-added goods. This helps develop alternative income sources and promotes the sustainable management of local biodiversity.

2009

2009 SEED Award Winners,[5] May 12

A national NGO and local community associations are engaged in an initiative to reverse environmental degradation and social exclusion produced by illegal and uncontrolled mechanized mining. A mining certification process and capacity building program have been created created. More than 1000 artisan mines are now following social and environmental criteria.

"Camarones Sostenibles del Golfo de Morrosquillo". The partners of this project are a community-based organization, a local NGO and a small business which are aiming to establish a cooperative enterprise that includes families of traditional fishermen in the Morrosquillo Gulf, farming shrimp in a way which produces zero emissions.

2007

New national park created in Colombia's Amazon,[6] August 31

Near you[edit | edit source]

Bogotá

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External links[edit | edit source]

Wikipedia: Colombia, Environmental issues in Colombia

References[edit | edit source]