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Saving the Bay of La Paz & Gulf of California

by Rainbow Hawk Friday, Feb. 10, 2006 at 3:56 AM

This is a brief summary of our groups efforts & progress towards saving, preserving and restoring the Bay of La Paz & Gulf of California, the most bio-diverse body of water on earth.

Saving the Bay of La...
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A Brief History of:
Ciudadanos Preocupados A.C.

Our Civil Association was born on April 3rd, 2004 in an effort to save the ecologically essential mangrove forest region and dune area of the El Mogote Peninsula in the Bay of La Paz, Baja California Sur, Mexico. It has since grown to include the entire Bay (one of the Great Bays of the world) and the Gulf of California/Mar de Cortez beyond, the most bio-diverse body of water on earth.

The primary methods used have been the raising of public awareness and challenging ill thought out development on all levels via:
a) The media (to date we have accomplished having over 250 articles in the local and national press);
b) Educational public forums, of which we have successfully done 18 to date;
c) Creating and compiling scientific studies of the impacts of development, that are the most complete studies ever done on the region;
d) Outreach to groups worldwide and today our mailing lists are comprised of over 5,000 groups and networks, which by extension reach hundreds of thousands-millions worldwide;
e) Petition drives of local citizens which now comprise nearly 5,000 signatures, of which over 250 are post graduates, PhDs and Masters from the three leading Marine Biology Institutes in Latin America, e.g. The Autonomous University of Baja California Sur (U.A.B.C.S.), the Center for Biological Investigations Northwest (CIBNOR) and the Center for Marine Sciences (CICIMAR).
f) The establishing of an official Civil Association, Ciudadanos Procupados A.C. whose Board of Directors is comprised of 13 members, all from the universities cited in section f; and several dozen active members involved with various aspects of our endeavours. As well as a group bank account requiring the signatures of the Board President and one of three Board Members appointed for that purpose.
g) Photographing and creating videos (5 to date) of our actions and many of the species affected, of which several are on the endangered species list and/or on the verge of extinction (including a species of crab here-to-fore unknown).
h) Geological studies of affected regions and the natural phenomena which can affect them, e.g. hurricanes, tsunamis, earthquakes, drought, winds and tides.
i) The establishing of legal teams to address the various issues involved and to date three teams are participants, with the Mexican Center for Environmental Rights (CEMDA www.cemda.org.mx) being the Ciudadanos Preocupados A.C.s’ primary attorney group.
j) Environmental clean-up programs for the beaches and mangrove areas in the Bay of La Paz region.
k) Filing suits regarding the issues of development in ecologically sensitive areas, which today includes cases involving the five States surrounding the Gulf of California/Mar de Cortez.
l) Petitioning the Mexican National Senate to establish Nationally Natural Protected Areas in the zones in question.
m) Setting into motion a Presidential Investigation into the corruption and fraud issues involved with development projects.
n) Encouraging Greenpeace Mexico and Oceano (the Greenpeace Ocean Waters division) to become more active in the region, which has resulted in its’ ship the Arctic Sunrise being on station here for three months (Nov. 2004-Jan, 2005), with plans to station a ship permanently for the Gulf of California by the end of this year (2006).
o) Group members working with other organizations such as Seawatch to produce a documentary aired on the local T.V. news regarding illegal fishing and the results where the monofilament netting ensnares sea lions and other marine life, often attached around the necks of the young so that as they grow they are choked to death and/or cannot swallow food becoming subjects to starvation.
p) One of our Board of Directors serves as the director of the Amigos de Cabo Pulmo, which oversees the National Marine Park there, one of only four coral reef systems in North America; along with other relations being established with Propeninsula, the assessor group for Amigos de Cabo Pulmo.
q) Working with other Civil Associations in the States of Baja California Sur. Baja California Norte, Sonora, Sinaloa and Nayarit toward a broader strategy to address the issues in North-western Mexico, with an emphasis on the Gulf of California Bio-Region.
r) Obtaining seed funding, for which Global Green Grants, I.F.A.W. and The Norcross Wildlife Foundation have contributed.
s) Establishing a complete office, with three workstations, which we have maintained since Dec. 2004.
t) Examining and planning to put into place a project to protect the fresh water sources originating in the Sierra de Laguna, a National and UNESCO World Heritage Bio-Reserve that supplies 60% of the fresh water needs for this State. The primary threats being mining and agriculture, using toxic substances.
u) Establishing projects/excursions that have taken local citizens into environmentally threatened areas so that they see first hand the ecologically essential wonders that must be protected for the health of the Bay and Sea beyond. For this we have utilized kayaks, catamarans and pangas (24-26 ft. open, outboard powered, boats), which included professional guides, professors, post graduate students and environmentists to educate them as to the importance of the species and ecological & geological sensitivities of the areas.
v) Petitioning the State Congress of Baja California Sur to intervene in the sales and misuse of Public Lands by the ex-governor (which is a part of the Presidential Investigation as well).
w) We have enlisted political parties to make the issues of the environment, and ill thought out development projects, a more major part of their 2005 State-wide election campaigns, which of course further raised public awareness.
x) We are formulating plans for obtaining the Federal rights to research the primary mangrove regions of this area; too restore damaged areas; to replace/reforest the more than 50% of this areas mangrove forest that have been destroyed in the process of ill thought out city growth and commercial applications.
y) We have initiated criminal indictments against Federal Officials for violations of environmental laws and the Constitutional Rights retained by the people. This extends to five other States as well.
z) And currently we are endeavouring to obtain adequate funding to continue our work and expand its’ scope.

Besides the dedicated input from the grassroots membership and supporters, our outside funding has been limited to $7.000.00 (U.S. dollars) to date. That the incredible amount cited above has been accomplished demonstrates that Ciudadanos Preocupados A.C. is a truly grassroots effort that has been furthered by the genuine concern and support of the citizens of this immediate region and beyond. That grassroots represents a broad spectrum of the populous. Our petitions were completely random, outside of the few dozen actual participants/volunteers of the group, for signatures were gathered at events and locations frequented by the populous-at-large. Nearly 5,000 signatures have been obtained and the number of people not signing when presented with petitions equals approximately .50%. Our efforts to preserve the environment, and the culture of La Paz, obviously have the overwhelming support of the people as a whole.

That said, Mexico is still a “third world country” with a minimum wage in this region being less that $5.00 (U.S. dollars) per day. The La Paz region as a whole has an average income of approximately $26.00 per day. This does not allow people to have disposable income on the levels required to help fund the greatly expanded work of Ciudadanos Preocupados A.C. We have the people, an extremely well qualified core group of active volunteers and have accomplished all that set forth in the a-z segments above.

For more in depth information on Ciudadanos Preocupados A.C. please refer to our URL at: www.geocities.com/rainbow2004mexico. That site is a bit outdated and needs a lot of improvements, but gives a fair overview of our efforts, minus more recent developments, which have been included herein.

It is for this work that Ciudadanos Preocupados A.C. is now appealing to you all so that we may all continue the work cited; and expand that in proportion to our abilities and abundant non-financial resources outlined in this document. Not the least of which are our studies and legal actions which would have cost in the 7-8 figure range had an outside entity sought to finance such in depth studies, activities and actions.

Because of the overall scope of our efforts we are submitting Grant Proposals addressed to each aspect of the projects needs. The combined real needs cost factors to properly pursue each project/program involved and adequately fund them is to high for many/most funding sources. We would also like to greatly expand our network and by involving more diverse sources of funding that can be furthered.

Ciudadanos Preocupados A.C.

Board of Directors

President: Peter Patterson Cunningham – B.S. and Post Graduate Studies: Marine Biology. Co-founder, Co-Director & Field Operations Director/Coordinator.

Vice President: Dr. Gina Holguin Zehfuss – PhD and Research Scientist (CIBNOR): Marine Biology/Micro Biologist, Specialist in Mangrove Forest eco-systems.

Secretary: Emmanuel Ruiz Acosta – B.S. and Post Graduate Studies (UABCS): Marine Biology. Liaison for Indigenous Peoples groups and the Alternative Press sources.

Treasurer: Jorge Ramirez Gonzales – M.S. and Post Graduate Studies (CICIMAR): Marine Biology. Liaison with the group, CONCIENIA A.C.

Spokeswoman (youth groups): Dalia Jahana Alvarez - Student. Coordinates and organizes youth activities for the Association.

Spokesman (Cultural Outreach): Victor Manuel Ramos Pocoroba - B.A. Administrative Assistant for Theatro Juarez. Liaison with cultural groups and the arts community. Media outreach.

Special Commissions:

Administrative Commission Director: Erendira Valle Padilla – B.A. and Post Graduate Studies in Media Arts & Communication. Professor (UABCS). Group Video Production Coordinator and producer. Director of Amigos for the Conservation of Cabo Pulmo National Park and liaison with that Civil Association.

News Media Commission: Alejandro Vazquez Saldana - B.A. Media Arts. Owner of a video production studio and a film maker for the groups’ efforts.

Special Events Commission: Deni Ramirez Macias – M.S. and Post Graduate Studies in Marine Biology (CICIMAR). Specialist in Whale Sharks. Formulation and promotion of public events. Liaison with the group, Conciencia A.C.

Special Events Commission: Carlos Aguilera Calderon – B.S. and Post Graduate Studies in Marine Biology. Specialist in Marine Mammals/ Whale Species. Formulation and promotion of public events.

Ciudadanos Preocupados A.C. Oversight Committee:

Dr. Juan Guzman Poo: PhD Marine Biology (UABCS). Professor and Research Investigator. Presenter of scientific studies at our Public Forums, and contributor of Environmental Impact Assessments for the group.

Felipe de Jesus Morales Ramirez: B.S. Marine Biology. Active in our Public Forums and liaison with the group, CONCIENCIA A.C.

Edgardo Cortes Nares: B.S. Engineering. Active in group activities. Currently working on establishing an organic farm and eco-tourism business in the foothills of the Sierra de Laguna Mountains, a UNESCO World Heritage Bio-Reserve.

Ciudadanos Preocupados A.C.
Treasury and Banking Committee*

Peter Patterson Cunningham
Dr. Gina Hoguin Zehfuss
Emmanual Ruiz Acosta
Jorge Ramirez Gonzales

* The groups’ banking and financial activities require the signatures of its’ President, Peter Patterson Cunningham, and one other appointee of this committee.

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Balandra Bay

by Rainbow Hawk Friday, Feb. 10, 2006 at 3:56 AM

Balandra Bay...
balandra01.jpg, image/jpeg, 1280x960

This bay and its' mangrove forest area are vital to the ecological balance of the region. It is presently threatened by a mega-tourist development project that will cause irreversible environmental impacts affecting over 636 species.
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