Sunday, January 30, 2011

Save Baja's Cabo Pulmo Reef from Developers

Please protect Baja's only coral reef from being destroyed by developers in Cabo del San Jose. Sign the petition and pass it on.

Pulmo means lung—and this unique northern reef is literally the lung of the Sea of Cortez. It's a singularity. There isn't another reef like it anywhere.

It's a protected marine sanctuary but massive resort development on land will also certainly destroy the reef.

I have snorkeled and swum with whalesharks there and it is a beautiful garden. Coral reefs slowly evolve over millions of years, often with unique species, they're temperature specific.

Raise the water temperature by a degree or two, and the reef dies. Add siltation or pollution—even freshwater runoff to the mix, and it's certain death for the reefs.

The southern regions of the Great Barrier Reef in Australia is dying from the plumes of cloudy, nutrient-laden, pesticide-polluted freshwater runoff and siltation from the recent Queensland floods. It could eventually stress and bleach all the coral and thus jeopardize the health of the entire reef but this will take years for the saga to play out. A slow death punctuated by the unchecked invasion of crown-of-thorns starfish—real reef killers—three years' hence.

By way of example of what can go wrong with tourism and reefs, Hanamua Bay in Hawaii was completely destroyed by tourists tenderly loving it to death while wearing sunscreen (toxic to reefs).

I snorkeled in Hanamua Bay before it was killed with too much affection in the 1970s and 1980s. I revisited it again when it was bleached bone white barren wilderness pounded to death by 3 million loving visitors per year in the 1990s.

I revisited Hanamua Bay again in 2010. After 20 years' protection and vigilant management, Hanamua Bay is only now just BARELY recovering—even with limited access and patrolling park rangers—constantly blowing whistles like referees at snorkelers standing on the reef (touching it kills the reef too). It's still a shade of its former self with only about 10 percent of its original fish and reef population.

This too will be the fate of Cabo Pulmo if the area is developed on a massive scale. That kind of vigilance and protection that brought Hanamua Bay back from the brink of extinction won't happen in Cabo Pulmo if the resort complex is built. And the reef will surely die from overexposure as well as runoff and pollution. Cabo San Lucas already has been destroyed by unchecked development and rampant tourism. Don't let this happen to
Cabo Pulmo.

So, sign the petition.

  • On June 15, 1995, President Zedillo Ponce de Leon declared the 7,111 hectares and waters surrounding Cabo Pulmo, a National Marine Park.
  • Cabo Pulmo region was nearly destroyed due to excessive overfishing until 1995 when the area was declared a marine park. The fish populations are returning to a healthy status after 20 years' protection.
  • Cabo Pulmo Reef has eight fingers of unusual hard coral reef
  • Home to nearly 800 species of marine animals found in the Sea of Cortez, Cabo Pulmo Reef's rich biodiversity is unparalleled 
  • Federal enforcement and financial aid is almost non existent and the quest to protect Cabo Pulmo National Park is a burden on the shoulders of the local community—barely 100 residents—who sorely need our help and support.
  • Large-scale tourist complexes (like Cabo San Lucas) will cause irreversible damage, especially because of runoff and excessive use of the area
Cabo Pulmo Vivo collective likes to thank you for your support in the campain of Cabo Pulmo National Park protection, a global example of sustainability facing mass tourism and real estate growth threats.   
Your signature, together with more than 11,000 people, managed that SEMARNAT temporarily suspend the Cabo Cortés project, which would bring more than 30 thousand rooms, 3 golf courses and a marina to this unique region, ecologically fragile and with severe water scarcity problems. Cabo Pulmo requires a different regional development model with a positive impact on the local community well being.
Thanks to your support, SEMARNAT is now considering fundamental aspects that had left out of its initial analysis. In the days to come, SEMARNAT will again resolve if it grants authorization to the environmental impact study to Cabo Cortés.

We invite you to sign in www.cabopulmovivo.orgto remind our authorities that we are very aware of its decision.

Your support has made a difference, but the future of Cabo Pulmo still at risk. If you allow us, we will continue to contact you, sharing news and ways in which you can continue to work to ensure the effective protection of this reef, a natural heritage site. 
Thank you! 
Cabo Pulmo vivo

Los que integramos el colectivo Cabo Pulmo Vivo agradecemos tu apoyo en la proteccion del Parque Nacional Cabo Pulmo, un ejemplo mundial de sustentabilidad que enfrenta la amenaza del crecimiento turistico e inmobiliario masivo. 
Tu firma, junto con la de mas de 11,000 personas, logro que la SEMARNAT suspendiera temporalmente el proyecto Cabo Cortes, que traeria mas de 30 mil habitaciones, 3 campos de golf y una marina a una region unica, ecologicamente fragil y con graves problemas de escasez de agua. Cabo Pulmo requiere de un modelo de desarrollo regional diferente y que repercuta en el bienestar de las comunidades del lugar.
Gracias a tu apoyo, ahora la SEMARNAT esta considerando aspectos fundamentales que habia dejado fuera de su analisis inicial. En los dias que vienen, la SEMARNAT volvera a resolver si otorga o no la autorizacion de impacto ambiental a Cabo Cortes.
Te invitamos a firmar de nuevo en, para recordarle a nuestros servidores publicos que estamos al pendiente de su decision.
Tu apoyo ha marcado una diferencia, pero el futuro de Cabo Pulmo sigue en riesgo. Si nos lo permites, seguiremos en contacto contigo para compartir noticias y formas en las que puedas seguir colaborando hasta asegurar la proteccion efectiva de este arrecife, patrimonio natural de la humanidad.
Cabo Pulmo Vivo
"Local pressures" on reefs, including overfishing, coastal development and pollution, pose the most immediate and direct threats to the world's reefs, threatening more than 60 percent of the colorful sea ecosystems."

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