The MAR Fellows 2014 together with the consultants
1. What are the MAR Fellows doing…?
The Board of Experts for the sustainable management of materials in the Yum Balam APFFYB. On July 29th, a meeting in Kantunilkín, head of Lázaro Cárdenas Municipality, Quintana Roo, Mexico, was held with members of the municipality, the Commission for Natural Protected Areas (CONANP, by its Spanish acronym) represented by Denisse Angeles (2014 MAR Fellow), the Association of the Riviera Maya Hotels with Fernando del Valle (2014 MAR Fellow), the civil society organizations with Tzahyrí Peraza (2014 MAR Fellow) and with the support of the Mexican Fund for the Conservation of Nature with Elisa Lopez (Leadership ). The purpose of the meeting was the sum of multisectorial efforts to implement an integral plan for the sustainable management of the materials in the area. Despite the complicated situation due to a long history of tensions, the meeting was a success reaching very promising agreements for future actions.
TreadRight Award - Contiki to the best conservation and sustainable tourism project. Tzahyrí Peraza (2014 MAR Fellow) project which is focused on the creation of a recycling micro enterprise on the island of Holbox and Carlos Segura (2012 MAR Fellow) to promote the consumption of lionfish through the strengthening of the cooperatives, were selected by the TreadRight Foundation and Contiki Holidays to receive a scholarship of $ 4,500 USD each to carry out their projects. Congratulations Fellows!
Chain of bottles for a good cause. The 2014 MAR Fellows Tzahyrí Peraza, Lemuel Mena, and Fernando Valle were joined into more than a network, a rather real living chain from the Island of Cozumel to the Island of Holbox to reduce plastic consumption of a secondary school. Organized by Tzahyrí, Lemuel took 150 high quality sport thermos accumulated after the events of Iron Man Cozumel Test in the materials collection center of the island and through the ferry moved them to Playa del Carmen. There Fernando took the witness (the thermos) and transported them by road to Cancun, in where Tzahyrí received them and finally by bus, taxi and ferry, delivered them in the Holbox school. For years, in the dining facility of the school (on its way to become the first "zero plastic school" of Mexico thanks to the constant efforts of Tzahyrí) more than 600 PET bottles after a single use were discarded; and yet behind this initiative, the thermos of Cozumel are reused every day producing zero plastic waste. Good for you Fellows!
2. Successful Workshop in Guatemala
From the 23rd to 30th of August, 2014, the 2014 MAR Leadership Cohort attended the third leadership workshop that took place between Guatemala City and Rio Dulce, in the Guatemala's Caribbean.
During the first three days of the workshop, the consultants Mark Lichtenstein and Laura Cardoso from the Syracuse Center Solutions for Sustainable Communities, provided feedback in regards the progress made by fellows’ teams, and provided interesting training on communication strategies, disclosure and education, facilitation of debates and socio-cultural factors affecting the resolution of communitarian conflicts. The consultant Izarelly Rosillo talked about the progress in the reform of the General Law for the Prevention and Management of Waste (LGPGIR, by its Spanish acronym) in Mexico, amendment in which she and Dr. Cristina Cortinas (who could not join us in Guatemala due to health problems) are very active participants. Dr. Rosillo also provided the group with a training about argumentation techniques. The workshop was also attended by Carlos Saavedra from the Summit Foundation and six fellows of previous cohorts that accompanied us along through different points of the workshop.
Following the successful Cozumel´s induction workshop model, a Forum on Integrated Solid Waste Management in the countries of the MAR was organized, which on this occasion had the honor of having, as the venue, the main auditorium of the Universidad del Valle de Guatemala (UVG ) in Guatemala City. The event was a success comparable to the previous one with an abundant audience throughout the day and with the presence of representatives of the central government of Guatemala, as well as of the City of Livingston in the Department of Izabal, in where the 2014 leadership project in Guatemala focuses its efforts; members of the most representative civil society organizations related to managing solid waste in the country were present too. Throughout the day, the fellows shared their projects, experiences and concerns with all of them.
The second half of the week began with a field trip to the Amatitlán Lake, which was guided by the experts of the Authority for the Sustainable Management of the Amatitlán Watershed and Lake (AMSA, by its Spanish acronym) and to the associated landfill. The rest of the week was held in Rio Dulce, Izabal, where the introspection and personality analysis workshop ran by the Psychologist Carlos Terzano was developed. Finally, La Garza School Boat took us through the canyons of the Rio Dulce up to its mouth in Puerto Barrios, where we finally disembark to go back to Guatemala City.
In conclusion, it was a very exciting workshop, filled of emotions, learnings, as well as new challenges to which no fellow was indifferent.
3. International Beach Cleaning
On September 21, the MAR Leadership Program joined Ocean Conservancy Initiative on the Beach International Day, accompanying them on beaches along Quintana Roo, Mexico. Last year, Ocean Conservancy worldwide collected 12,329,332 pounds (approx. 5,600 tons) of trash along 12.914 miles of shoreline, of which Mexico collected about 50 tons. Data from 2014 have not yet been published, but the expectations are very high! This has been a great initiative to keep our shores free of debris, for the Leadership Program as well as for the MAR Fellows to support.
4. The World Water Week Twitter Chat
On September 3rd, within the framework of the World Water Week, an open forum on Twitter was held to discuss today´s issues on the global water crisis and the future of this resource. This event was organized by the TreadRight Foundation. MAR Leadership project officer, Elisa Lopez was invited as panelist to participate in the event.
5. Negotiation and Conflict Resolution Workshop
During July 24th and 25th a Negotiation and Conflict Resolution Workshop was held at the Akumal Ecological Center, Quintana Roo, Mexico, taught by Rosario Espinoza (from the Center for Civic Collaboration) and organized by the Kay Kanan Alliance, in which the Mexican Fund for the Conservation of Nature is a member. The goal of the workshop was to strengthen the dialogue, listening and effective negotiation skills of Alliance partners. In the training both MAR Leadership Program director, Maria Eugenia Arreola and the project officer, Elisa Lopez participated.
Successful Workshop in Guatemala
Beach cleaning in Quintana Roo
Chain of bottles for a good cause