Collaborators in this issue
Baja California Sur
Juan Josë Cota
Miguel Ángel Torres
Elizabeth Frausto Sotelo
Irvin Uriel Aguilar Chávez
Agustín del Castillo
Marco A. Vargas
Griselda Franco Piedra
Silvia Susana Sánchez
Mario David Gamboa López
César Angulo (San Luis Rio Colorado, Son.)
Talli Nauman (San Ignacio, B.C.S.)
Debra Valov (Mulege, B.C.S.)
Sergio Morales Polo (Loreto, B.C.S.)
Carmina Valiente (La Paz, B.C.S.)
Miguel Ángel Torres (Aguascalientes, Ags.)
Consultants for Vol. 2, No. 1
Alba Reyna González
English Translations Vol. 2, No. 1
Thomas J. McGuire
SuMar - Voces por la Naturaleza, A.C.
Fondo de Acción Solidaria, A.C.
The David and Lucile Packard Foundation
Resources Legacy Fund
Gabriel Martínez; Hermosillo, Sonora
Primera Plana, Hermosillo, Sonora
Meloncoyote is a product of Journalism to Raise Environmental Awareness (abbreviated PECE in Spanish), an independent communications project founded in 1994 with the support of the MacArthur Foundation.
The viewpoints expressed are solely those of the authors.
This work may be reproduced in part or whole, with images and illustrations, as long as the publication source and authors are cited.
From far northwest Mexicali and other points within Mexico, whether in caravan, march, meeting or press conference, we were involved in the international debate on global warming that took place last December in the far southeast of the country. Women and men—indigenous peoples, activists, farmers, scientists and both national and international journalists—all came together at the 16th United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.
Through their presence at the convention, members of Melóncoyote were able to affirm the struggle to hold industrialized nations, above all the U.S., responsible for complying with compulsory measures that have been established through global consensus, in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions emanating in great part from the excessive consumption of dirty fossil fuels.
Even before the conference, we partcipated as representatives of an organized civil society, both in the design of the official conference site, and in the creation of the blog for the Network of Mexican Environmental Journalists. Our members at bionero.org and other websites provided independent coverage of the issues.
Representatives from all of the northwest Mexican states covered by this publication attended high level negotiation meetings that resulted in: a US$30 billion funding package that can be used starting in 2012 to take action against the effects of climate change; the establishment of the Green Fund that will provide US$100 million annually for adaptation and mitigation measures related to greenhouse emissions; and the creation of the REDD+ program (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation in Developing Countries) that will allow the transfer of resources to communities dedicated to forest conservation.
At the same time, we accompanied the groups that set forth the long term goals established at the April 2010 World People's Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth: explicit recognition of indigenous and family farmers' territorial rights; rejection of genetically modified plants and geoengineering; reduction of carbon emissions, rather than carbon credit offsets that only permit continued contamination through schemes such as the so-called Clean Development Mechanism; and development of climate change funds and policies that do not involve the World Bank.
When a rainbow appeared overhead during the culmination of the Global Forum for Life, and Environmental and Social Justice, we were there to witness the Hemispheric Social Alliance’s hopes for building a better world.
From the conference we have brought to the pages of this issue some of what we have learned. We also have a photo essay about the environmental services provided by mangrove forests, an ecosystem that is not only an intrinsic part of the Caribbean environment but also of our environment here in the Gulf of California region.
Not all of us had to travel to the far reaches of the country to think locally about global climate change. Grassroots journalists who won recognition for having written the best articles from previous issues of Melóncoyote were the deserving winners of a trip to the Mexican-US Border Energy Forum. They traveled to the city of Chihuahua and from there they contributed their reports about technologies to reduce contamination and global warming.
The forum inspired the short opinion piece about wind energy on page six. The trip was organized by the non-profit group SuMar-Voces por la Naturaleza, based in Guaymas, whose members also held a local meeting of the region’s environmentally responsible businesses, and which led to the note in this issue about that event.
The citizen journalists are themselves the subject of the article about Sawa. And in an already established tradition, alongside our grassroots journalists, some of the most well-known professional journalists from Latin America also share their writing in this issue. These include César Angulo, Agustín del Castillo and Miguel Ángel Torres, all of whom work in this region and keep us informed about important events of the Baja California peninsula and the states of Nayarit and Sinaloa.
We hope that you will read, enjoy and be inspired by this issue and that you will get involved and act in favor of sustainable development for the Gulf of California region. We also hope that we will find the financial support needed to publish our next issue, since our current funding to cover printing costs has run out. Finally, we await your comments and suggestions at: email@example.com. What do you think?
Our project dates back to 1994, when “Journalism to Raise Environmental Awareness” (abbreviated PECE in Spanish) was formed. In 2004, PECE played a role in the founding of the national professional organization The Mexican Environmental Journalist’s Network. In 2005, when we started the first grassroots journalism project in the Gulf of California, our team chose the name Melóncoyote because it is a species emblematic of the region at the heart of our mission.
The Coyote Melon, known in Spanish as melón coyote or calabacilla (which includes the species Cucurbita palmata, C. cordata, C. digitata and C. foetidissima) is a wild perennial gourd that is resistant, versatile, beautiful, useful and native to the sandy soils that characterize the Gulf of California zone. The coyote melon is found in the region’s seven states: Baja California Sur, Baja California, California, Arizona, Sonora, Sinaloa, and Nayarit. A vine, Coyote Melon has an immense root that guarantees its survival against hard times while its long stems serve to anchor the soil in fragile areas.
The indigenous peoples of the area, bearers of the region’s traditional wisdom, describe the plant and how it is used. As medicine, it is bitter, but effective. As a musical instrument, it makes a beautiful rattle. Its seeds provide oil and a flour which contains a high level of protein. Its shell is ideal as a container for all matter of things. Because of all of these traits, and because it is an integral part of the food chain and one of the principal foods of the coyote, they named it “Coyote Melon”.
Our team of collaborators chose this name because it is a plant found throughout the region, and in doing so, we wanted to stress our intention to create a large-scale communications medium, capable of spreading (on a regional level) the news about efforts being made towards sustainability. With this symbolic name to represent our work, we are sending a clear message about our respect for the land and the sea, as well as for the ancestral cultures and customs of the region. We see the establishment of this medium for education and dissemination as something urgent, given the idiosyncrasies of the region. We have conceived this project as being an integral element of the environment, something positive like the Coyote Melon.
Faced with the challenges of growth in the region—a low population density, its recent political incorporation into the national government, a high degree of natural attraction and its proximity to the strong investment sector of the United States—we understand the implications of the pressures for development. Dealing with these challenges and pressures will require informed citizens who have the chance to participate in the decisions that affect their land, water, air, biodiversity and their future. We invite others to join with us, to participate in building this medium and to fight for a stable future for the region.
All work on behalf of Melóncoyote is voluntary.
Melóncoyote: Present at the Global Warming Debate