Watering the Garden

It’s your chance to make a difference.

No, I’m not going to ask you for money. All you have to do is make a tiny effort that could make a huge difference to many people and a very special place on this planet of ours.

Cabo Pulmo, Baja California Sur, Mexico is a picturesque, isolated little village on the east coast of the Baja Peninsula, just an hour’s drive from the Los Cabos International Airport.

Cabo Pulmo

In the crystal clear aquamarine waters off the coast, the largest, most pristine coral reef in the Sea of Cortez is home to immense schools of fish, over 40 species of coral, and innumerable invertebrates. Humpback Whales, whale sharks, blue whales, dolphins and porpoises migrate through the area regularly. Four species of sea turtle eat and reproduce in her waters and lay their eggs on her sandy beaches.

Fish block out the sun over Cabo Pulmo Reef

In 2005, UNESCO recognized the ecological importance of this unique habitat and designated it a World Heritage Site.

In 2002, I moved to Cabo Pulmo to promote conservation of the reef. After a few false starts and several months after moving to Cabo Pulmo, I met Mario Castro, the owner of one of the three dive shops operating in the village. I convinced him to accompany me to a conservation workshop organized by WildCoast that was designed to educate fishermen and tourism operators about sea turtle conservation. After one of the presentations, Mario approached me, eyes wide and said “Dawn, we have to do something!  I had no idea so many animals are in danger of extinction. We have to teach the children about this!”

Together Mario and I organized meetings in Cabo Pulmo hoping others would share our vision of turning Cabo Pulmo into an example of grassroots conservation. Eventually our efforts paid off, and along with local fishermen, dive guides, housewives, ex pats and many children, Amigos para la Conservacion de Cabo Pulmo (Friends for the Conservation of Cabo Pulmo) was born.

Female sea turtle laying her eggs on Cabo Pulmo beach

Our first projects focused on sea turtle conservation. We began nest protection throughout the park and the first SCUBA-based in-water monitoring project in the northern hemisphere. In 2005, our goal of a reef monitoring project lead by local divers was realized. Today the group has 27 card-carrying members and many more volunteers and supporters from around the world. But our efforts are often hampered by a lack of funds. Group members are constantly supporting efforts with their own limited resources.

Now we are fighting hard to stop the construction of a mega-resort development  along the northern limits of the park. If allowed to proceed as planned, Cabo Cortes will be a city larger than any currently on the peninsula. We need only look at toursm developments like Cancun to understand that the potential for runoff from this development to harm or kill the Cabo Pulmo coral reef system is huge. So far, ACCP along with other groups have been successful in getting the environmental permits for the project revoked. But it’s only a matter of time before the political machine pushes approval through again.

But there is hope. Recently, ACCP was chosen as one of only 25 finalists from among 47049 proposals submitted to a national competition Iniciativa Mexico. We are thrilled to have made the finals! And hope that it will bring international attention to the plight of the Cabo Pulmo reef in the face of Cabo Cortes.

Iniciativa Mexico is a national project that seeks to rescue Mexico “the dynamic and enterprising” and recognize and celebrate the initiative of people who through their efforts are working for the Mexico we all want. IM is a call to action.

This Sunday Sep 12th at 9:30 PM Mountain Time on the television channels Televisa and TV Azteca, Mario will represent ACCP in a televised interview that is the next step in the selection process for Iniciativa Mexico. During this time you can vote for ACCP by simply making a phone call. Please water the seed of this initiative with your vote. UNESCO believes that Cabo Pulmo National Park deserves international protection. Do you?

You can watch the interview live on Sunday night by clicking one of the links below.

YOU CAN CALL FROM WITHIN MEXICO NOW – DIAL 01-800-990-0758 TO VOTE FOR AMIGOS PARA LA CONSERVACION DE CABO PULMO. OR SEND A TEXT MESSAGE TO NUMBER 61111 WITH THE TEXT “MARIO” IN THE BODY OF THE MESSAGE. THANK YOU!!! WE CANNOT DO IT WITHOUT YOUR HELP.

Watch on Televisa or TV Azteca
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