Collaborators in This Issue

Baja California Sur
Manuel Hernández

Baja California
César Angulo

Melissa Valenzuela
José Luis Juárez Ortega

Sinaloa & Nayarit
Agustín del Castillo

Editorial Board
Talli Nauman (San Ignacio, B.C.S.)
Debra Valov (Mulegé, B.C.S.)
Griselda Franco Piedra (Guaymas, Son.)
Miguel Ángel Torres (Aguascalientes, Ags.)
Agustín del Castillo (Guadalajara, Jalisco)

Consultants Vol. 4, No. 1           
Dahl McLean, Aracely Rojas, Eréndira Valle

English Translations
Debra Valov
Jim Morgan

SuMar - Voces por la Naturaleza, A.C.; Fondo de Acción Solidaria, A.C.; Green Grants, Society of Environmental Journalists, Fund for Environmental Journalism;; Ecology Project International; Tutuaca Mountain Center; Conabio, Gloria & Dennis Peterson

Debra Valov; Mulegé, B.C.S.

meloncoyote [at]


            Meloncoyote logotipo


Melóncoyote 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.






In the face of energy reform, efforts must be redoubled for renewable sources

The energy reform approved by the Mexican Congress this fateful December, is the culmination of neoliberal policies began 31 years ago under the presidency of Miguel de la Madrid, and is the most significant achievement of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

Petroleum, gas, and electricity are not the only resources that are being handed over to both national and foreign investors. All of the nation’s natural resources, whether mineral, vegetable or water found on the continent or in the ocean depths are up for grabs.

The changes to the Constitution implicit in this reform legalize actions that violate the country's legal framework, including those of which that have already been occurring. These include: interference by foreign investors in Petroleo Mexicano's explorations; the onslaught against entire towns by foreign mining companies; the acquisition of aquifers on behalf of beverage companies; and an interminable list of assaults that demonstrate the gradual loss of national sovereignty and open up new means of plundering the nation's resources..

The country has been left vulnerable to wholesale theft, especially in the Gulf of California region, whose marine treasures, mineral resources, flora, and fauna attract giant corporations greedy to build mega projects and exploit them without restraint.

Reincarnations of investment plans already defeated by public resistance will no doubt return with greater force and impunity, and efforts to preserve the people’s way of life and the area’s natural resources will have to be redoubled.

 Mexico's weakness deepens if one considers that on making its petroleum , gas and electricity available within the free market, Mexico is being left to the mercy of Canada and the United States, both of which were granted favored nation status by NAFTA.

All efforts in favor of air quality welcome

En la historia de la Región del Golfo de California, la agenda gris ha tomado un asiento atrás de la azul y verde en lo concerniente a la lucha por el ambiente, ya que la primera abarca  la contaminación proveniente de  los desechos y las otras se refieren a la conservación para evitar el agotamiento de los recursos.              Read more >>>

According to Jamie Cárdenas, researcher from the Autonomous University of Mexico, if Mexico decides to rescind the recent reforms, it will first have to consult with its partner nations under the rules of Articles 11, 14, and 15 of the treaty. It would be even worse for Mexico in the case of disputes with the US or Canadian government or with transnational corporations because the disputes would be resolved through NAFTA's arbitration hearings, where Mexico has yet to win a single case.

It is difficult to predict the scope of the consequences that this "mother of all reforms" will have on the economy, on finances, on society, and on natural resources. However, it will certainly increase tensions in a number of critical areas: in the public's relationship with their political parties and government; between capital and labor; and even more importantly, in the relations between the partner countries, seeing as that Mexico’s sovereignty has been handed over to Washington nicely gift-wrapped.

It seems that in the long-term, the generation of alternative energy, the principal theme in this edition of Melóncoyote, will suffer the same fate as that of the environment which isn’t even marginally touched upon in discussions of power.

Civil society still has not responded, and we hope that once that people shake off the lethargy of their December holidays, they will begin the long struggle to overturn not only the recent energy reform but also other reforms enacted in the past 12 months.


Why Melóncoyote?

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.