Thursday, March 22, 2007




The Presidential Administration of Vicente Fox left office just 3 months ago, leaving behind a well documented legacy of disregard for Mexico’s environmental laws, which translated into serious ecological degradation for the country’s natural wealth. That explains why such high hopes have been placed in your Administration, to turn that record around.

Veering radically from traditional environmental protection politics in Mexico, its Federal authorities have authorized, over the past 6 months, several illegal development projects right in the midst of the three protected areas, which includes delicate estuarine lagoons recognized as a Wetland of International Importance under the 1971 Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, and as a part of UNESCO’s Man and the Biosphere Program (MAB).

The legal action started at the Secretaría de la Función Pública, against the officials involved in authorizing these illegal projects, is a vote of confidence in your reiterated public commitment to reestablish the rule of law in Mexico, a demand you are insistently getting from all quarters, both domestically and abroad.


Tuesday, March 20, 2007

NYC's taxi fleet going green by 2012

NEW YORK - The city's yellow taxi fleet will go entirely hybrid within five years, announced Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
There's an awful lot of taxicabs on the streets of New York City," Bloomberg said. "These cars just sit there in traffic sometimes, belching fumes.
"This does a lot less. It's a lot better for all of us," he said of the hybrid plan.
Nearly 400 fuel-efficient hybrids have been tested in the city's taxi fleet over the past 18 months, with models including the Toyota Prius, the Toyota Highlander Hybrid, the Lexus RX 400h and the Ford Escape.
Under Bloomberg's plan, that number will increase to 1,000 by October 2008, then will grow by about 20 percent each year until 2012, when every yellow cab — currently numbering 13,000 — will be a hybrid.
Hybrid vehicles run on a combination of gasoline and electricity, emitting less exhaust and achieving higher gas mileage per gallon.
The standard yellow cab vehicle, the Ford Crown Victoria, gets 14 miles per gallon. In contrast, the Ford Escape taxis get 36 miles per gallon.
In addition to making the yellow cab brigade entirely green within five years, the city will require all new vehicles entering the fleet after October 2008 to achieve a minimum of 25 miles per gallon. A year later, all new vehicles must get 30 miles per gallon and be hybrid. Bloomberg made the announcement on NBC's "Today" show.
Hybrid vehicles are typically more expensive, but the city said the increase in fuel efficiency will save taxi operators more than $10,000 per year. Yahoo Inc. (Nasdaq:YHOO - news) said it would donate 10 hybrid Ford Escapes for the city's effort.
Shifting the taxi fleet to hybrids is part of Bloomberg's wider sustainability plan for the city, which includes a goal of a 30 percent reduction in carbon emissions by 2030. Part of the plan could include congestion pricing for drivers entering some of the busiest parts of Manhattan.
Turning over the taxi fleet by 2012 is not an impossible goal. The life of a New York City taxi is typically about three to five years; the city's Taxi and Limousine Commission requires all vehicles to be retired within a certain time frame.
Fernando Mateo, president of the New York State Federation of Taxi Drivers, an advocacy trade group, applauded the city's effort to go green.
"In the short term, they're going to have to spend more money, but in the long run they will save money," he said. "We support getting more hybrids on the road."
The government does not own the city's yellow cabs, but sells licenses to individual drivers and operators, who must purchase their own vehicles that meet the specifications of the Taxi and Limousine Commission. The agency serves as the regulating and licensing authority for all vehicles per hire in the city.

Tourism Projects Trigger Conflict in Preserve

MEXICO CITY, Jan 17 (Tierramérica) - A golf course, hotels, luxury residences, stables and a private marina will occupy land next to a valuable biodiversity reserve in the western Mexican state of Jalisco. With official permission, the project developers have begun work, but opponents have sworn to stop them.

After receiving government approval to build in this fragile ecosystem, at the end of 2006, just as President Vicente Fox stepped down and the Felipe Calderón administration began, the developers accelerated work on their projects. Meanwhile, opponents are preparing their legal weapons, which may include lawsuits in international courts...


Wednesday, March 14, 2007

CHAMELA-CUIXMALA Biosphere Reserve

The diversity of both aquatic and terrestrial habitats in this heterogeneous environment are such that there is a great variety of animals, including 540 vertebrate species. There are 72 mammal species, 270 bird species, 68 reptile species, 19 amphibian species and 110 fish species found in the park (Ceballos 1989; Arizmendi et al. 1991; Arizmendi et al. 2002; Espinosa et al. 2002; García y Ceballos 1996; Ramírez-Bautista y Vitt, 1997; Ceballos et al. 1999). Invertebrate studies conclude that there are 1877 arthropod species, 14 of which are in the class arachnid and 1863 in the class hexapod (Pescador-Rubio et al. 2002; Noguera et al. 1996). Among the species found in the park listed as endangered by the Official Mexican Ecological Register 059 (NOM-ECOL-059) are the green (Chelonia mydas), leatherback (Dermochelys coriacea), hawksbill (Eretmochelys imbricata) and olive ridley (Lepidochelys olivacea) sea turtles. Other endangered reptiles found in the park are the Mexican-bearded lizard (Heloderma horridum), the green iguana (Iguana iguana), and the American Crocodile (Crocodylus acutus). In terms of mammals, the reserve boasts the jaguar (Panthera onca), the ocelot (Leopardus pardalis) and the margay (Leopardus wiedii). Birds found in the park include the yellow-headed parrot (Amazona oratrix), the green macaw (Ara militaris), the muscovy duck (Cairina moschata) and the least tern (Sterna antillarum). The IUCN lists the following species as endangered: A. oratrix, C. Mydas, and L. olvidacea. Listed as vulnerable are C. acutus, A. militaris, and H. horridium and as critical are the turtles E. imbricata and D. coriacea (IUCN 2002).

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Monday, March 12, 2007