Editorials | Environmental
|Waterkeeper Alliance Meets in Mexico|
John K. Glaab - settlement-co.com
June 19, 2010
A dispute between fishermen and a chemical company on the Hudson River gave birth to the concept. Instead of violence and demonstrations a company was sued. The fishermen were awarded the princely sum of $2000 USD. That will provide you with an indication of how long ago the dispute was settled and the movement started.
The Waterkeeper Alliance group really gained impetus, when the environmental activist Robert F. Kennedy became its President in 1999. Now it is affiliated with 200 like minded organizations on six continents. It is playing at the moment, a major adversarial role over the disaster in the Gulf of Mexico.
Each year the organizations get together to listen to biologists and other scientists. Only twice has it met outside of the U.S.A. Recently the Annual Conference was held for the first time in Mexico in La Paz, Baja California Sur.
Attendees came from countries such as India, Bangladesh, and China (I had the pleasure of speaking for a few moments with Yongehen Wang, Chief Editor of China's Green River News) from Nayarit, Jalisco, Sinaloa, here in Mexico and the U.S. states of Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas and the District of Columbia. Also coming to La Paz were former Mexican President Vicente Fox and his wife Marta (the Fox Foundation is a supporter of Waterkeeper) and Bobby Kennedy.
Of the five presentations made at the Public Forum (simultaneous translations were provided) for me the most memorable was the one delivered by Biologist Benito Bermudez Almada. He is Regional Director of the National Protected Area Commission (CONANP). Benito explained the ambiental and economic importance of our wetlands, world wide and the penalty if they are allowed to deteriorate.
There are 20,000 species of marine life on the pane at 40% live in wetlands. In Baja California Sur there are seven protected areas, and "we need more," he said. The mangroves are particularly important because they serve as an area for wildlife to reproduce and also as a filtration system for lagoons and the Sea.
More than 200 attended the public forum which concluded with a tour of Balandra. This is a precious, recreational area near La Paz. It includes five bays and was scheduled for development. Citizens of La Paz and others from outside, put pressure on the government to prohibit development of this special place. It will not be developed.
He also spoke of the substantial contribution the reef at Cab Pulmo on the East Cape, not far from La Paz, makes to the reproduction of fish in the Sea of Cortes. Protection of the mangroves in the Bay of La Paz such as at el Mogote is urgent.
For further information go to waterkeeper.org. There on the home page you will see the featured campaign, "Save Our Gulf."
John Glaab has been a member of NAR's International Section for over a decade. He has earned the Certified International Property Specialist designation and is a founding member of AMPI Los Cabos. He spends half the year in La Paz, Baja California Sur and the other half in Uruapan, Michoacan. For further information, contact John at John.Glaab(at)settlement-co.com.