Due to its privileged natural conditions, Chile has committed to sustainability in different aspects such as tourism, transport, and academic offer.
Chile’s geographic diversity makes it a territory with a broad range of climatic and natural conditions; these have been taken advantage of in order to produce renewable energy, with an emphasis on the conservation of biodiversity. In this way, Chile has slowly become in a model to follow in terms of sustainable practices.
Discover the sustainable initiatives that have been carried out in the country and the academic offer that has responded to these advances.
After the inauguration of the Tourism National Round Table in 2013, the National Service for Tourism of Chile (SERNATUR) created the S certification. This distinction is awarded to touristic operators that comply with different criteria established following the 3 universally acknowledged aspects of sustainability: the economic one, the socio cultural one, and the environmental one. The certification considers 3 different levels depending on the amount of criteria the operators have met. Today, more than 70 operators count with the certification in different levels.
Furthermore, 4 places in Chile made it to the most recent list of sustainable destinations. The list is made based on an open call for submissions, after which the nominees are reviewed by a panel of experts. Following their evaluation, the list is put together. Chile made it to the list with the Huilo Huilo Reserve, the Chiloé Island, the town of Curacaví, and Cape Horn. The latter counts with a miniature forest of around 1000 acres, where unique species of bryophytes can be found along with 450 different types of moss, and 368 species of lichen and insects.
It is expected that by the end of the year, the subway system of Santiago (Metro), the second biggest network in Latin America, will use 42% of solar energy in its operations. This thanks to project “Pelícano”, a solar energy plant of 186 acres located in Coquimbo, in northern Chile. The plant uses 254,000 solar panels that will provide the energy for the transport system.
It is expected that by 2018 the network will work using 80% of solar energy. This follows the efforts to reduce the country’s carbon footprint by 30% by 2030.
Sustainability and the protection of the environment are issues that a broad range of programs in different universities in Chile have addressed. Universidad del Bío Bío, for example, offers a blended learning Master’s program in Sustainability and Energy Efficiency. In Santiago, Universidad Tecnológica Metropolitana (UTEM) offers a similar Master’s program in Energy Efficiency and Sustainability with specialization in Edification, while Universidad Santo Tomás offers a PhD program in Conservation and Biodiversity Management.
Besides these degree earning programs, different institutions offer short courses that delve into these issues. Such is the case of the intensive 2-week courses that Universidad Andrés Bello offers covering topics like “Modular Sustainable Architecture” and “Business and Sustainability in Latin America”. In a similar vein, Universidad de Viña del Mar offers a 3 week-course on “Chilean Environmental Conflicts”.
Chile has taken important steps in the implementation of sustainable solutions with the aim of protecting the environment, complying with the highest international standards. Moreover, the country counts with a broad range of academic programs that reflect on these issues.