Local Do-Gooders Fighting For The Environment

This year it’s plastic pollution
BY: PAIGE TURNER

          In honor of World Environment Day on June 5th, local organizations in La Paz held a community sustainability festival at the City Theater. Each year, the UN picks a specific issue to focus on for World Environment Day and makes it the day's theme. This year they chose "beat plastic pollution"—a worthy cause of course, but there are several other issues worth exploring as well, and that's just what the locals did in La Paz. I went out to the festival to check out the local projects that are underway and to see how Paceños are tackling the variety of issues associated with climate change.

          Unsurprisingly, the festival focused on an issue that directly effects Baja: water scarcity. Numerous school projects tried to tackle this problem with innovative ideas. One group of students used aquaponics, a reinvented Mayan and Azteca method that uses fish tanks (and fish poop) as a source to grow plants. Another student used fibers from a local tree to clean water, and another group used hydroponics.

Seriously, water scarcity is a big thing in Baja. The kids’ projects were great, and they all stressed the issue of water scarcity.

           33 organizations are in the midst of running campaigns aimed at limiting plastic use, educating children, and raising environmental awareness. Organizations like Mar Libre, A Reef Reborn, Mar Vivo, and Espíritu Santo Es Parte De Ti focus on protecting our reefs, mangroves, and unique island environments. The protection of the reefs includes educating people on what fish are in season and which need to released when caught.

 Reefs and mangroves are essential wildlife habitats that cater to biodiversity. They are also very important barriers when tropical storms arrive. Oftentimes, plastics end up in these ecosystems and cause problems. Mar Libre and Espíritu Santo Es Parte De Ti are responsible for the colorful sign ,“Limpias tus Playas” (Clean your Beaches) on the hillside above Eréndira Beach heading out towards Tecolte and Balandra, which can be seen from the road. As some campaigns focus on ecology, others focus specifically on the ever-present problem of plastic pollution.

          The fight against plastic use is a mainstay of the campaign #Deplastifícate. The organization uses social media and workshops at local schools to promote ideas on how to cut plastic out of your everyday life. They're also petitioning the government of Baja Sur to change the current ecology laws so as to restrict the utilization of single use plastics. To put it into perspective, 500 million drinking straws are used each day somewhere on the planet, and the majority are not or cannot be recycled. The popular hashtag #SinPopote means “without a straw”, so use this as a way to practice your Spanish and say that phrase every time you order a drink. Deplastificate also focuses on cutting out any single-use plastic items, such as shopping bags, (are you listening Walmart?) and pretty much anything else that comes to mind, and they work with the local restaurants.

Capuchino Café, located a block off the Malecón on Calle Mutalismo, is also jumping on the bandwagon by offering vegetarian meals and cutting down on single use plastics like straws. If you buy a combo meal at the café in the months of June and July, 10 pesos goes to the Deplastifícate campaign. Other restaurants in the La Paz area participating in the campaign to cut out plastics are Hotel La Perla, Big Sur Café, La Miserable Mezcaleria, Mi Cantina, Prana and Bagel Shop.

If you’re interested in purchasing alternatives to plastic, Green Shop has a booth at the organic market in La Paz on Tuesdays and Saturdays. At that booth, you can find bamboo toothbrushes, produce bags, shampoo bars, and a variety of other reusable products that can replace that pesky plastic. Although you can find all of these items online, Green Shop is local and it's always a plus to support local business.

La Paz is like a big community located in a very unique environment and the ocean is what calls most people to Baja, so it is absolutely worth protecting. For more information, visit the websites or Facebook pages of the 33 organizations working together to make a better future for La Paz, and remember, Sin Popote.

 

Environmentally friendly businesses in La Paz:

 

Ponguinguiola

Ecology Proyect International (EPI

Californios Verdes

Cooperación Alemana al Desarrollo Sustentable en México, a travez del Programa de Gestión Ambiental Urbana e Industrial- GIZ    

Niparajá   

Como Vamos La Paz    

Mar Libre – Rescatando Nuestros Arrecifes y Manglares     

BCSicletos    

Urbanería

Comite Cientifico Juvenil 

Costa Salvaje

Red Turismo Sustentable A.C.

Raíz de Fondo

Espíritu Santo es parte de ti

Wikipolítica

Philanthropiece

El Organismo

Comunidad Sustentable

Centro de Rehabilitación e Inclusión Infantil Teletón- La Paz

Red de observadores ciudadanos

Coalición por el Agua

Coastkeeper –Loreto

Coastkeeper –Santa Rosalia

Coastkeeper –Bahía Magdalena

Enseña por México

CERCA energía y aire limpio

NOS, Noroeste Sustentable

Amigos para la Conservación de Cabo Pulmo

Sea Cortes

Mar de Cortez A.C.

CEMDA

Children´s Foundation

SINADES, A.C.