August 22, 2008

Big Foot vs. Climate Change

For a region that’s grabbed growing press attention during the past three years, the US-Mexico border was largely absent from the mainstream US media in recent days. Especially noticeable was the minimal coverage devoted to the annual Border Governor’s Conference, an event that draws governors and other high-ranking officials from both sides of the border who discuss policy issues vital to US-Mexico relations.

Indeed, the California press seemed more interested in a flashy press conference in which two men claimed to have recovered a Big Foot creature in Georgia. As “proof,” the pair displayed dubious photographs including one that appeared to resemble a banana wrapped in a tortilla, according to one account.

Held last week in Hollywood, California, this year’s border governors’ meet considered much less sensational but arguably far more serious topics.

Mexican Environment Secretary Juan Elvira Quesada, for instance, proposed that the 10 US and Mexican states establish a voluntary, joint program to address the challenge of climate change.

“It is time the federal and state governments of both countries begin to cooperate and promote initiatives for mitigating and adapting to climate change,” Elvira Quesada said. Citing an agreement with the state government of California, Elvira Quesada said a broader cross-border plan could include greenhouse gas inventory reductions, simulations of regional climate change scenarios and impact analyses of climate-induced changes on the most vulnerable sectors.

Upholding the strategic economic importance of US-Mexico relations, Elvira Quesada urged both nations to invest in improved water infrastructure and deepen mutual support in confronting natural disasters like last year’s flooding in the Mexican state of Tabasco or this year’s wild fires in California.

Mexico’s top environmental official called for a secure, “better border” oriented towards “competitiveness and development” that will fortify the presence of the Mexico-US frontier on the world stage. To meet the water challenge in an arid region, Quesada proposed modernizing irrigation systems, recycling wastewater for agriculture and making water consumption more efficient in the cities.

According to Elvira’s press office, other priority environmental issues jointly affecting Mexico and the US include the Bush Administration’s border wall and the fate of the vaquita marina, an endangered porpoise in the Gulf of California.

Reprinted from Frontera NorteSur (FNS): U.S.-Mexico border news Center for Latin American and Border Studies New Mexico State University Las Cruces, New Mexico.

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