Petro Opens New Botanical Project

By bogotapost June 18, 2014

IMG_1826Newly re-instated mayor makes a surprise appearance at inauguration


Bogota mayor Gustavo Petro visited the Botanical Gardens on June 6 to witness the opening of a new project, the Ruta del Agua.

The new initiative, which aims to educate young Bogotanos about the importance of protecting and respecting water, was officially opened when Mr Petro released the water flow.

The route, which includes interactive signs in Spanish, English and Braille, is made up of streams, water features, waterfalls and several varieties of flora.

Petro was not initially expected to make an appearance, but the start of the presentation was delayed by ten minutes before the recently-reinstated mayor walked through the doors at the rear of the auditorium.

The director of the Botanical Gardens, Luis Olmedo Martinez, introduced the project, highlighting the importance of the relationship between man, water and nature, as well as warning against the abuse of water’s natural cycle. Directing his comment to the mayor, Mr Martinez claimed, “all successful big cities have something in common – support for the environment.”

Petro then paid tribute to the work done by those at the Botanical Gardens, claiming that it was a “different institution” to that of a few years ago when, he said, corruption was rife. He hailed the gardens, and especially the new project, as a “stronghold for the fight against climate change”.

His speech was followed by a walk around the new section of the gardens, which offered the mayor several photo opportunities with groups of schoolchildren and excited passers-by.

The gardens, which include the world’s only ex situ paramo and a tropical zone which is still an under-construction, have received in excess of $90 million COP worth of investment. Next year, in celebration of their 60th anniversary, a number of social projects will be put in place, with work already being done in 358 schools as well as hospitals. In addition, Plan 60 will aim to showcase 60 artistic and cultural works that hope to transform the city.

It is expected that the Ruta del Agua will add to the work already being done to create a greater understanding of the importance of effectively organising the use of water and natural resources.

Mayor Petro rounded off his speech with a stark warning: “short-term greed will lead to all of our deaths in the long-term. Without water, there is no life”.

By Azzam Alkadhi