martes, diciembre 27

A Note from the Executive Director

Dear Friends: 

For Terra Peninsular, 2011 was a year of change, important achievements and new challenges.  We want to share some of them with you, since thanks to your support we continued conserving the natural beauty of the Baja California Peninsula in 2011.

In collaboration with the Mexican Natural Protected Areas and other nonprofit organizations, Terra Peninsular got closer to achieve the establishment of one new protected area in San Quintin and the expansion of the Sierra de Juarez and San Pedro Martir forest reserves that will cover 2.8 million acres, more than 36% of the Mexican Mediterranean Region.  200 miles from the San Diego border, in El Rosario, we keep our efforts to preserve some of the last contiguous sites with coastal sage scrub in North America through the establishment of a 30,000-acre corridor.   San Quintin, Sierra de Juarez, San Pedro Martir and El Rosario have one of the highest degrees of biological diversity and endemism in the Baja California-California region.

We understand that the best stewards of the sites we want to conserve for future generations are local communities and landowners.  Our work with indigenous communities in Baja California continued through our sustainable development program and Terra Peninsular is helping communities such as La Huerta, San Antonio Necua and San Jose de la Zorra to protect their cultural and biological diversity.  We are working in these communities with traditional artists to create commercial networks in Mexico and the United States.  In addition to our work with indigenous communities, we are partnering with private landowners to establish private protected areas that will protect more than 3,000 acres.

The improvement of agricultural practices has a direct positive impact on biological diversity.  Thus, in 2011, Terra Peninsular joined a network of nonprofit organizations and researchers from United States, Chile, Mexico, South Africa and Australia that develops and promotes sustainable practices in vineyards in the main Mediterranean regions of the world.

This year, Terra opened its new community center and art gallery in the heart of Ensenada.  Through art exhibits, speaker series events and collaborations with museums and art galleries in Mexico and the United States, we want to offer locals and visitors opportunities to learn more about Baja California’s amazing cultural and biological treasures.

This year also brought one of the largest environmental threats to the region.  Despite that Sierra de Juarez is one of the most important sites in Baja California because of water retention, carbon sequestration and high biological diversity; a multinational corporation obtained an approval to install hundreds of windmills to export power to the United States.  Without a correct environmental impact assessment (for example, the company never disclosed where these turbines will be placed, which makes impossible to assess the real impact of the project), without complying with US standards required for any project that brings energy to the United States, and using legal and fiscal loopholes, this corporation plans to convert Sierra de Juarez in an industrial and waste zone.  Last November, Terra Peninsular filed a lawsuit in Mexican courts demanding the suspension of this project.   We are aware that energy needs have to be met, but massive destructive energy projects that only benefit a big corporation at the expense of the consumer and the environment, no matter if these projects use wind to generate power, are not the solution for Baja California or California.

Many challenges lie ahead and nonsense projects will always jeopardize our environment, but we are confident that with your support, we will be able to continue our work in 2012.

On behalf of our staff, our board and our great volunteers, we wish you Happy Holidays and a successful 2012.

Thank you for your support.

Saul Alarcón Farfán - Executive Director

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