By David Simmonds
The most widely quoted definition of sustainable-related issues I can find is “sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”
That sums it up pretty well. Fortunately, Mexico has a clear vision of their responsibility as a country to investigate and implement policies that adhere to this absolutely necessary and wise principle.
One example is the Mexican Housing Authority’s estimate that the country has a deficit today of nearly nine million homes with that number increasing by 200,000 every year. Additionally, undeniable climate change is resulting in higher temperatures and lower rainfalls. Mexico realizes that they must convert from a carbon-intensive to a carbon-neutral society sooner than later. Producing sustainable housing is a clear target with the use of ecological materials, as well as creating a social fabric that improves the quality of life for its citizens. A more efficient use of energy and water in these new and existing communities will help to meet long-term sustainable goals.
There are many other areas of sustainability that are being addressed, including the preservation of the forests, and especially the seas, that are so important to the long-term wellness of the people and the economy. The world’s oceans have been over-fished for decades, with Mexico’s fish-rich waters no exception. Long-liner boats and huge net fishing vessels have been terribly destructive to fish populations, resulting in regulations aimed at preservation. Tuna, shrimp and shark populations are dwindling at a rapid rate, harming not only the economy, but a way of life for hundreds of thousands of people lining the 6,000 miles of Mexico coastline.
Sustainable travel, or eco-tourism, has been a growing segment of the Mexico travel industry for at least 20 years. Tim Means’ Baja Expeditions, based in La Paz, Baja California Sur, is a prime example of the success and interest in this travel market (http://www.bajaex.com/). And Ron Mader has been an industry leader for many years (http://www.planeta.com/) doing very good work.
On a personal level, I have a non-profit called One Town At A Time (www.onetownatatime.com) whose mission statement is below. Our present project is to buy computers for schools in rural Cabo Corrientes in Jalisco. Education is a major ingredient as a means of informing future generations as to the challenges and goals that will propel the country towards sustainability. I can think of nothing more important for Mexico’s future.
The mission of One Town At A Time is to address the living conditions of poor villages in Mexico by providing families in these areas with tools for achieving sustainability. This is the ideal way to ameliorate the immigration pattern in the United States which currently encourages villagers to cross the border to earn money to send back to their families. By providing villagers with tools for addressing their poverty, they can remain in their villages, sustain a sense of family and community structure, and cultivate pride in their way of life. One Town At A Time shares and provides the technology that enhances the ability of villagers in Mexico to improve and expand their current farming, trade, and communication practices in a way that honors their rich cultural heritage and brings them closer to the global socioeconomic realm.
Disclosure: I am being compensated for my work in creating and managing content as a Contributor for the México Today Program. All stories, opinions and passion for all things México shared here are completely my own. Mexico Today is a joint public and private sector initiative designed to help promote Mexico as a global business partner and an unrivaled tourist destination.