The Mexican government is joining forces with two United States environmental associations in a $4 million effort to help the seabirds near Baja California recover. The project, which will run from 2012 to 2016, will work to restore 17 species of seabirds on the islands off of Baja California. …
A bi-national consortium made up of several environmental associations will coordinate the restoration and conservation work. Environmental associations include the Fondo Mexicano De Conservación de la Naturaleza and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, a unit of Cornell University in Ithaca, New York.
"Decoys, fake bird colonies, mirrors and soundtracks of songs and calls will be used to attract the birds to the islands, with the goal of having individuals return to the sites from which they left and once they recognize, their offspring will return to the site year after year in a natural way," said Juan Rafael Elvira Quesada, Mexico’s Secretary of the Environment.
A number of factors are to blame for the decline of seabirds in the area. In addition to predator species introduced by humans, oil spills and chemical use in the U.S. have also played a part. Secretary Elvira hopes that this new effort will help counter human pollution and restore the seabird population in the area.
View photos of seabirds on MexicoToday’s Flickr Page.
The Green Solutions 2011 fair was recently held in Mexico City to showcase some of the best eco-friendly products on the market. More than 115 companies attended the three-day fair to share products and discuss environmentally sound business practices. …
Green Solutions at COP16 was the first forum for dialogue between the public and private sectors included in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, Conference of the Parties (COP). More than 3,300 people from around the world attended the event, including businesspeople, opinion leaders, professionals and envoys. In addition, a total of 44 conferences, panels, seminars and round tables took place during the four days of the forum.
Notable attendees included ProMexico’s General Director Carlos Guzman Bofill, US Business Council for Sustainable Development’s Executive Director Andrew Mangas, Mexican-German Alliance for Climate Change Project Ninel Escobard, and Forest Dialogue’s Executive Director Gary Duninng.
Additionally, international organizations such as the World Bank, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, and the Inter-American Development Bank were present. Academic and civil organizations included Green Momentum, AMEXCAP, and ITESM.
Ecopipo, which manufactures “green” diapers, was among the companies in attendance. The cloth diapers can be washed up to 600 times before disposal, which translates to "significant cost savings" and helps avoid “the generation of tons of waste," said Ecopipo representative David Gonzalez.
Carbon Diversion America Latina, based in the western state of Jalisco, showcased a system that uses agave biomass leftover from the tequila making process. Company representative Francisco Javier Diaz said, "It's cheaper than diesel and more environmentally friendly because the emissions are minimal. If left to decompose in the countryside, (agave biomass piles) emit large quantities of methane that are very harmful to the environment."
Green Solutions 2011 hopes to increase the number of small and mid-sized business working to “go green.” Overall, the goal of the fair is to create a dialogue and exchange ideas on how to develop eco-friendly business models.
Silver mining in northern Mexico gained another boost recently, when Prospero Silver Corporation announced the acquisition of a 6,353 hectare property in the state of Durango that covers a new target zone in the Santa Maria del Oro silver and gold district.
The new project in Santa Maria del Oro is adjacent to the Magistral del Oro mines which produced high-grade gold from the 17th century until the 20th century. This area of Mexico features a vein system hosted in older basement rocks including Paleozoic schists and a weakly transfigured andesitic volcanic pile.
Prospero used remote sensing data to identify a potential new lineament under post-mineral cover. The company will perform testing and surveys to see if the lineament corresponds to preexisting vein systems.
"We plan to deploy some of the same techniques used on our Campana project to explore these buried targets," said Tawn Albinson, Prospero Silver President and head of exploration. "Our Mexican exploration team is familiar with the silver and gold district and we anticipate that an exploration program can be quickly defined."
The U.S. and other countries are looking to shale gas, a type of natural gas found beneath the Earth’s surface, to satisfy their energy demands and generate jobs.
With regard to energy production in Mexico, shale gas has the potential to positively impact the nation’s economy. On Thursday, November 17, several professors, scientists and diplomats met at the Foreign Relations Secretariat headquarters to discuss shale gas production in Mexico and abroad.
"Our country should take advantage of new technologies," said Mexico’s Energy Secretary Jordy Hernán Herrera Flores. “The development of shale gas is very important for the development of the country.”
Furthermore, the Secretary said that investing in the shale gas industry will boost revenues in the country, create roughly 1.5 million new jobs over the next 15 years, and reduce foreign dependence on energy for Mexico.
At a time when conservation is key, and future energy demands remain unpredictable, it’s critical for countries throughout the world to explore new resources related to energy production.
Last summer, American marine biologists from several universities spent a month together in Mexico's Sea of Cortez near Baja California to learn more about El Niño’s impact on Humboldt squid during the winter of 2009-2010. Specifically, the team conducted research to see how the species is… recovering.
In May 2010, marine biologist William Gilly and a Stanford undergraduate class of biology students spent time in the Sea of Cortez, where they discovered that the generally abundant Humboldt squid were largely missing. Two months later, Gilly and two of the students found large squid in an area about 100 miles north of their usual habitat, near the Midriff Islands.
So, exactly what happened? Why were the squid so far from home? During an El Niño, nutrient-poor water from the ocean flows into the Sea of Cortez, displacing the cold nutrient-rich water that enables marine life to flourish and provides food for the squid. Thus, the squid had migrated to the area around in the Midriff Islands in search of food.
In 2011, Gilly revisited the area once again. With oceanographic conditions back to normal, he thought many of the squid would have returned to their home in the Sea of Cortez. While large squid were still only to be found near the Midriff Islands, many small squid had in fact returned to their previous habitat, and were beginning to repopulate their old feeding grounds.
Despite this, it remains to be seen whether or not the spawn of the squid that moved north will stay in the Midriff Islands and create a new, stable squid fishery.
With fall slowly fading to winter, millions of monarch butterflies make their way from Canada and the United States to the biosphere reserve located between Mexico state of Michoacán. This monarch butterfly migration has become a major tourist attraction. One of the sanctuaries is located in the… Sierra Chincua mountains near Anganguo, Michoacán. Butterfly sanctuary caretaker Francisco Ambrosio Martinez describes the sanctuary as "a cool, moist place, which is what they [the butterflies] look for here." This place did not become a butterfly sanctuary by chance. The locals believe that each butterfly represents the soul of a loved one. In addition, the locals understand the importance of preserving the habitat that the butterflies need. The butterflies are in such abundance at the sanctuary, that anyone walking through the trees must be careful not to step on them. However, the beauty of the monarch butterfly migration has presented a wonderful opportunity for tourism. The Sierra Chincua butterfly sanctuary has recently been transformed to not only make the environment safe, but also attract tourists. For example, it now includes rest rooms, restaurants, handicraft stores, a cable car, and organized excursions on foot, bicycle or horseback. "Three years ago Mexican President Felipe Calderón came here with his family and decided that the place ought to have an ecotourism hotel," says Mexican Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Juan Rafael Elvira Quesada. Promotions will soon be launched to increase tourism and help encourage visits to small businesses. However, it is a great challenge to increase tourism during the monarch butterfly migration while respecting the environment and improving Michoacán’s image. "It is our obligation to preserve the ecosystem. The National Protected Natural Areas Commission looks after this biosphere reserve as one of the 176 areas regulated that way nationwide," says Elvira Quesada.
Environmental officials from Mexico and the United States are working together to clean up the New River which flows south to north from Mexicali, Mexico, to Calexico, California. Once highly polluted, environmental workers have reduced the toxicity of the New River by a factor of 10 in just three… years – thanks to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)’s U.S. – Mexico Environmental Border 2012 program, and a $42 million dollar investment by the United States. This accomplishment showcases the success of the program’s mission – which is to shift Mexico’s natural resources to improve air, soil, and water quality along both sides of the border.
The Border 2012 program results from the collaboration between Mexico and the United States to improve the environment and also protect the health of the roughly 12 million people who live along the U.S.-Mexico border. Border 2012 takes a more local approach to the issues through stakeholder involvement, among other efforts.
Scientific research being conducted at the School of Engineering at the Autonomous University of Tamaulipas is imperative to the… environmental and economic livelihood of Mexico, especially in the face of global climate change. Gerardo Sánchez of the School of Engineering at the Autonomous University of Tamaulipas stated, “We are working on the science that is required by climate change. We need to generate solid science so that when a problem arises, we can propose solutions.”
Mexican universities working to combat climate change in Mexico through a series of new research developments. Sánchez is in the process of conducting research on “hydrological modeling and water availability in the context of climate change in the region.” His research is expected to show how climate change will affect the environment, as well as the Mexican economy, in both the immediate and distant future.
His research will also focus on the importance of water as a natural resource for Mexico and how to preserve water availability. Sánchez claimed that, “water is the most important resource, because it has a cross-cutting impact on all the others.” Water availability, as a natural resource for Mexico, has been one of the key sustainability issues facing the country in recent years Global warming has impacted Mexico’s water supply through increased droughts, severe weather, hurricanes, flooding, and rising sea levels.
Volunteer vacations, or voluntourism vacations, are new trends for both college students and average Americans seeking the experience to revel in the culture, society, and history of Mexico, while also significantly helping those in need. Opportunities include teaching English to adults and children in Mexico, building houses,… planting trees, feeding ranch animals, and taking care of children. You can also help alongside doctors, journalists, computer engineers, marine biologists, researchers, and veterinarians in Mexico on a variety of projects.
There are many different international volunteer organizations, including Go Overseas and Go Voluntouring, to help individuals organize trips abroad and community projects. Another program, called Global Vision International, allows volunteers to become involved in different Mexico programs dedicated to coral reef preservation. Efforts include surveying turtles and crocodiles, developing sustainable tourism and economic practices, and helping educate children in Mexico about how ecosystems work. Voluntouring and volunteer vacations in Mexico give individuals from all over the world the unique opportunity to see the country in a new light and make a significant difference in the lives of many.
While farms across the world use pesticides and other chemicals to protect crops and increase food supplies, there may be other eco-friendly alternatives to achieve these same goals. In particular, new research from a team of scientists confirms that insectivorous cavity nesting birds can help protect crops… and encourage production without the use of chemicals.
"Insectivorous birds are often overlooked as sources of pest predation, however, they are likely providing pest control services in many agricultural fields, we just need to look for it", said University of California Berkeley’s Dr. Julie Jedlicka, who led the study.
Having previously studied bird-friendly coffee farms in Chiapas, Mexico, and Dr. Jedlicka wanted to see if she could take knowledge gained from her work in the tropics and apply it to agriculture as a whole in North America. Hence, having recently moved to California, Dr. Jedlicka was inspired by grape growers who had established bird nest boxes in their vineyards.
The subject: Western bluebirds, insectivorous birds found across the U.S. and Mexico. Previous research indicated that the birds have higher reproductive success when placed in natural cavities. To implement the study, the team selected a vineyard and placed a nest box in it, documenting where the birds spent most of their time.
The study found that the sites with nest boxes were better protected from potential pest infestations, and that there was no evidence that other grape-eating birds were attracted to the boxes.
Dr. Jedlicka commented: "I think it is important for the public to know that agricultural systems can provide habitat for wildlife. There are ways to design and structure [agricultural areas] so they are highly productive and beneficial for wildlife." Lastly, she went on to say: "It has been a black hole in the community ecology literature for a long time because prey items are so small and birds are so highly mobile. We are just beginning to gain the tools we need to answer these questions."
What sets Oaxaca apart from other Mexican coastal states? According to Blue Channel 24, “The Escobilla” beach in Santa Maria… Tonameca is home to one of the largest sea turtle nesting sites in the world.
Each year, Ridley turtles, the smallest sea turtle species, flock to The Escobilla to lay their eggs. The Ridley turtles stay anywhere from a few hours to a few weeks, with more than 1.2 million females laying eggs each year.
Mexico’s Secretary of Environment and Natural Resources, Juan Rafael Elvira Quesada, claimed the phenomenon only pushes the country to increase its conservation efforts focused on biodiversity.
Oaxaca is among a handful of areas to witness the massive arrival of turtles each year. In addition to Mexico, coastal areas in India and Costa Rica also play host to nesting turtles. The National Commission of Natural Protected Areas claims that two factors – patience and perseverance – are to credit for the survival of Ridley turtles.
Recently in Cannes, France at the G-20 Summit, Mexico President Felipe Calderón spoke on the importance of the development of new green policies for… the re-establishment of the global economy and environment. Mexico is expected to host the G-20 group of nations’ summit in 2012. He stated amongst leading global business leaders that, “If we want to solve financial and environmental crisis, we need to find a solution for both—and that solution involves green sustainable growth.” He went on to say, “We need policies that are easy for consumers to understand and easy for governments to implement.”
In particular, he encouraged important global super-powers like the U.S. and China to focus their attention on energy efficiency and a move towards a more green economy. He urged the two countries by saying, “It is important, crucial for humankind that the world’s largest economy and the world’s largest emitter make a formal commitment.” He concluded by claiming, “The costs of climate change for humanity is several times more than the costs of reducing greenhouse gas emissions.” With the first commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol signed in1997 coming to an end next year, the world as a whole needs to commit to focusing their attention on green policies and sustainable ways of living.
When it comes to transportation in Mexico, cars usually dominate the roads; however, bicycles are making a comeback in Mexico City, paving the way for cleaner modes of transportation. …
Mexico City is home to the second largest subway system in North America, but the unpopular reputation discourages use of any public transportation.
Many Mexico City citizens view owning a vehicle as a sign of high status and feel public transportation is unsafe due to aggressive motorists. Motorists argue that bike riders do not follow the rules of the road.
However, local officials are encouraging bike riding by promoting flat Mexican landscape and comfortable climate.
It is hoped that these efforts will help lower pollution and traffic trouble caused by the large number of cars on the road.
Nowadays, the hassles of owning a vehicle leads to stress, slow commutes and an extreme shortage of parking space; which are encouraging drivers to abandon their vehicles and take up cycling, Soto says. "Owning a vehicle is increasingly more expensive in Mexico City," he says.
Five Bengal Tiger cubs were introduced to the local Vallarta Zoo (Zoologico de Vallarta) in the Pacific coast state of Jalisco, Mexico, on the day that… the recent Hurricane Jova hit the area. The Bengal Tiger is an extremely endangered tiger and is threatened by habitat degradation and wildlife hunting. The birth of the five tigers is part of the zoo’s notable tiger breeding program. The program has contributed to the birth of 20 tigers since 2010.
The zoo vet, Martin Martinez stated, “This zoo is built and constructed in a jungle. So, there are many people that come and enjoy the jungle not just the animals but also to see their habitat. This is purely a jungle.” He went on to claim, “The difference with other zoos is that we don’t separate the animals from visitors, here we have an interaction.”
Furthermore, Martinez said, “In this zoo we have six species of felines that you find in Mexico, jaguars, pumas, lynxes, ocelots, tigers and jagurundis. We have them and we're breeding them. On top of this we have other breeding programs for native species to this jungle as boas, coati, armadillos, black and green iguanas and we also have exotic species to educate visitors.”
In addition to providing a special environment for visitors to experience animals in their natural habitats, the zoo in Mexico has established a sanctuary for endangered species. The Vallarta Zoo in Mexico is set on spreading awareness on the threats that face endangered species all over the world and on finding ways to help these animals.
The influx of recyclable bags and new recycling policies in Mexico is benefiting the economy, the job sector, and the environment. The… Managing Director of Falcon Plastics de México SA de CV, Juan Antonio Hernández, stated, “Right now many people are collecting plastic bags and selling them and the price is going up.” He went on to say, “Material is expensive but there’s more of it.”
Over the past few years, Mexico has developed a number of different environmental policies to increase sustainability. For example, two years ago Mexico City tried to move towards biodegradable products over recyclable products. They also attempted to ban plastic bags temporarily.
However, today government officials have directed their attention towards recycling in Mexico and away from biodegradable practices. Today, recycling in Mexico has become commonplace. In May in Mexico City, they even passed a law making the separation of non-organic and organic waste illegal. Hernández, in an interview at Plastimagen Plásticas de México AC (Inboplast), a leading producer of plastic bags, stated, “Mexico City is always the leader and whatever happens in Mexico City is copied.”
His hope is that the rest of Mexico will follow the capital’s lead in creating a sustainable society through the practices of recycling, waste management and overall green living. The simple act of recycling has already secured jobs within the recycling business and has helped develop a more sustainable economy for Mexico.