Puerto Vallarta Weather Report
Welcome to Puerto Vallarta's liveliest website!
Contact UsSearch
Why Vallarta?Vallarta WeddingsRestaurantsWeatherPhoto GalleriesToday's EventsMaps
Sign up NOW!

Free Newsletter!

Puerto Vallarta News NetworkMexico & Banderas Bay Area News 

NAFTA Allies Discuss Eco-Symbiosis
email this pageprint this pageemail us
go to original
July 18, 2012

Washington – The top environmental officials from Canada, Mexico, and the United States came together in New Orleans last week for discussions about regional cooperation in shared environmental issues.

The Commission on Environmental Cooperation (CEC), created under the North American Free Trade Agreement, also engaged in a dialogue with citizens from the three nations, who offered the international panel a fundamental, grass-roots view of environmental issues.

The public dialogue was organized by the Joint Public Advisory Committee (JPAC,) an adjunct panel to the CEC. The committee conducted a comprehensive, wide-ranging discussion about local issues and what communities can do to build resilience to challenges such as natural disasters, environmental decline, and social discord.

Highlights of the discussion are featured in a report that quotes Oscar Contreras of San Mateo Almomoloa, Mexico, describing his community’s concern to "identify the main triggers of environmental damage" in order to preserve the migration sanctuary of the monarch butterfly. He said poverty and the lack of social and territorial organization can influence environmental degradation, along with the lack of understanding of conservation and environmental impact.

Jon Yazer represented a group in Toronto – Project Neutral – that is working to help neighborhoods aspiring to become carbon neutral.

"The project is benchmarking neighborhood emissions, providing data to residents to make informed choices and offering workshops with leaders in sustainability," Yazer said of the effort to bring the problem of greenhouse gas emissions down to a community scale.

The JPAC summary of the citizens’ session said that the event filled the participants with a sense that they were part of a North American community working to influence and overcome common challenges.

CEC heard further reports on community-based environmental improvement projects, including an environmental health initiative to protect children from waterborne disease in Mexico, and a wood stove replacement project to improve indoor air quality for Alaskan native populations.

In the aftermath of the recent Rio+20 U.N. Conference on Sustainable Development, the CEC discussed ways to foster greener economies. The North American environmental commission directed its staff to consider projects such as better disposal of electronic waste and trilateral clean energy initiatives.

The CEC Secretariat is working to develop a regional report on the recycling of dead lead-acid batteries, like those used in cars and trucks. Calling these batteries the most-recycled consumer product in North America, CEC documents on the project say the batteries have materials that can be of value in recycling, but can also present significant environmental hazards when mishandled.

Canadian Minister of the Environment Peter Kent, Mexico’s secretary for environment and natural resources, Juan Rafael Elvira Quesada, and US Environmental Protection Administrator Lisa Jackson are the principal representatives of their governments on the CEC. All three participated in the New Orleans meeting.