I met Kevin Jones last year, presenting Sierra Gorda as a model for Biosphere Reserves and protecting natural heritage through widespread civil participation. We talked about bioregional security and the wild lands that are disappearing, and the on-going activities to create solutions for the future.
Kevin met with Pati Ruiz Corzo and I in the HUB located in the Brower Center in Berkeley, California, on the recommendation of John Knox at Earth Island Institute. Pati Ruiz Corzo and I gave a detailed description of the on-going symphony of activities taking place in the largest protected area under community management, the Sierra Gorda Biosphere Reserve, and all of the sophisticated rural responses to the global emergencies of increasing poverty and the destruction of Nature. The Sierra Gorda is a living laboratory for the interactions of local citizens in the second most-populated natural protected area in Mexico and how they collectively benefit nature: 24 years of community-based environmental education, 120 recycling center managed by ecology representatives (primarily women) in the remote communities, organized community wide clean-up campaigns and meetings, training for skills in 20 local microenterprises and new holistic practices for ranchers and farmers, support in quality control and commercializing regional crafts and products (predominantly women from the local community), and new models for a robust, green, rural economy – products and services from healthy ecosystems, such as carbon dioxide reductions through forestry management and holistic livestock management, rainwater infiltration and reductions in soil erosion, biodiversity and habitat, and climate regulation.
That interview led to attending the SOCAP Europe.
If we want the planet to be healed, it´s time to get beyond the rhetoric to creating financing and taking action. Sierra Gorda has accumulated experience over the last quarter century to help many civil organizations in developing countries jump the learning curve based on the lessons learned, as well as effective strategies to share with willing allies in the private and public sectors that are interested in the alternatives and overcoming the imaginary risks posed by breaking old paradigms. Perhaps this is the meeting we have been preparing for in order to have in hand a robust portfolio of sound action plans and growing enthusiasm from the rural poverty communities to participate in a fair market for real solutions.