Photo of Mexican President, Felipe Calderon, via flicker
A few weeks ago, I posted an article here about an immaculate Mexican protected area, Cabo Pulmo. A tourism mega-resort called Cabo Cortes was slated to be developed along the periphery of this area, which undoubtedly would have a great effect on the ecosystem and wildlife that exist in the area. However, the then-President of Mexico, Felipe Calderon, took a stand and outright rejected the proposal after vast amount of civic pressure.
As I mentioned last time, it was likely that the battle isn’t over. Hansa Urbana, the developer of the Cabo Cortes mega-resort, said they plan to submit a revised plan that more accurately strikes a balance between environmental and economic sustainability. Although no timeline has been set for this submission, it will be a tough sell to understand exactly how a tourism resort can be sustainable while being in such close proximity to one of the world’s most pristine areas.
One thing that is missing from reports, and will likely never be included, is the basic concept that everything is connected. A major reason for rejection of this mega-resort surrounded inadequate details in respect to water management. But let’s be honest – even if you include the most detailed plans known to man – there’s almost no way that you can say that the quality of that reef will stay the same. No matter where you take the water from, it will end up back in that reef, and it will make an impact. That’s because everything’s connected.
Calderon also mentioned in his statement that he will work with Hansa Urbana to come up with a more sustainable plan for this resort. I don’t know what this means, but if history is any predictor of the future, then we know local personnel won’t have much say in the matter. Even those in regional government offices for protected areas have personally complained to me that they are often bypassed when it comes down to these decisions, regardless of what they find on-the-ground. One officer told me that Cabo Cortez is a “conservation nightmare”, and regional offices can only reject proposals if they can prove things that simply can’t be proven (An example: regional offices can decline a project if they can prove that it will “drive a species to extinction”. If you know how to do this, you should probably call the people at the Nobel prize office.)
To add to the excitement of it all, Mexico’s election last Sunday declared Enrique Pena Nieto as President. It’s unclear at this point how this may or may not impact the developments of Cabo Cortez (he was a joint candidate for two parties during the election, one being their “green party”). Mexico, however, has shown great leadership in marine legislation and regulation and I certainly hope this continues into the future.