2018 – THE YEAR THE WORLD TOOK NOTICE



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In November Espiritu Santo National Park was named one of the best managed protected areas in the world by theICUN – the first ever in Mexico and only the second in all Latin America.

This outstanding achievement, brought about by the combined efforts of government organizations, users of the area, and NGO’s, should make every citizen of La Paz very proud. In fact, community pride and involvement in the National Park can play an important role in its continuing success.

It takes a city to save an island.

“Espíritu Santo es parte de ti” is a local, grassroots campaign that aims to involve the La Paz community in the recovery of the depleted reefs and reef fish populations in Espíritu Santo National Park, by generating community pride in this outstanding natural resource.  We advocate responsible fish consumption, especially avoiding consuming parrotfish, which are critical to the health of the reef ecosystem and whose numbers have been hugely depleted through illegal fishing methods, and we encourage community-driven vigilance.

In 2018:

Deplastification

We joined 35 organizations and businesses in a campaign to stop the use of single-use plastics and straws in restaurants and stores in favor of environmentally friendly alternatives.

Thanks to the joint efforts of all members of the Deplastify initiative, the government approved reforms to the Law of Ecological Equilibrium and Protection of the Environment, restricting the sale and provision of plastic bags, styrofoam containers and plastic straws.

We organized the painting of a huge mural by more than 100 volunteers from the community, with a the message “clean beaches”, appealing to the public to take their litter home and keep the beaches clean, just in time for the spring break, when thousands of people leave behind tons of litter on the beaches.

The 2017 campaign to protect the parrotfish continues. 

We visited 10 schools (over 1000 students) and presented a photographic exhibition and a talk about the importance of the parrot fish for the reefs. We also launched an art competition where the students helped us to share the message by generating multi-media communication materials and shared them with another classroom.  We took the winners of 5 different art categories on a day trip to Espiritu Santo Island, where they had the opportunity to meet the parrotfish in their own environment.

We persuaded more supermarkets and restaurants to stop selling parrotfish. To date, 47 restaurants in La Paz have agreed to not serve parrotfish and to share our message with their clients and the public through our videos on social media. The largest Supermarkets in La Paz (Walmart, Chedraui and Aramburo) have also stopped selling parrotfish.

Chedraui Selecto from San Jose del Cabo commited to stop selling
parrotfish in their store.

In September our campaign director was invited to give a talk and project a short movie at the first ever TEDx talks to be organized in La Paz. We had the opportunity to show the community of La Paz how close Espíritu Santo Archipelago is to the city, and how our actions affect the living creatures of the reefs and how their well-being is intrinsically connected to ours.

The next step:  Parrotfish protection by law

In December we started a collaboration with the Interamerican Association for Environmental Defense (AIDA), who requested that the Mexican government include ten species of parrotfish in the national registry of protected species, under Official Mexican Law 059.
This year we will work with AIDA and the Universidad Autonoma de Baja California Sur to have the species of parrotfish that live in the waters of Archipelago Espíritu Santo and the Gulf of California included under this law. The requirements include scientific data, and public engagement. 

Please help us to achieve our environmental goals in 2019. Make a New Year’s resolution to deplastify and share the message to not consume parrotfish!

The Parrotfish. Photo courtesy of Leonardo Gonzalez.