March 21, 2003

Beyond the Borders

Common Solutions for a Common Border

In February of 2001, the Sierra Club’s Board of Directors met in Brownsville, Texas and Matamoros, Tamaulipas, where they had the opportunity to learn directly about the environmental and health problems associated with the rapid industrialization of the border region. Seeing the problems firsthand and talking with local residents and activists gave the Board a sense of the complexity of the problems and the need to collaborate with community groups and grassroots organizations already working on these issues. It effectively put a human face on globalization.

The meeting motivated in part the creation of a multi-year project to support Mexican grassroots environmental and community organizations in their fight for environmental justice. The Mexico Project (a part of the Beyond the Borders program) will serve to support groups in Mexico financially through grants and help grassroots groups in their struggle to protect the health of communities and the natural environment of Mexico.

An important component of the program will be to provide the necessary organizational support to Mexican groups in order to carry out their priorities, and to help Sierra Club form cross-border alliances with some of these groups. In order to address this need, Alejandro Queral was recently hired to serve as the Sierra Club’s Border Representative. In this position he will serve as a liaison between the Sierra Club and groups in Mexico and will be there to assist in the fight for environmental justice.

Alejandro Queral, Sierra Club Border representative, with volunteers on the border.

In keeping with the Sierra Club Principles of Environmental Justice Organizing, Alejandro will work with groups in Mexico and Sierra Club groups in the US only when invited to do so and will develop a work plan at the local level through joint consultations. The organizational support may include helping you develop strategic campaign plans, organize staff and volunteer efforts, and develop sound media skills.

The Border Representative will help coordinate the gathering of relevant scientific and legal information and will maintain a database of resources available to partner groups. For example, with the help of Sierra Club volunteers we will develop a database with doctors, scientists, lawyers and other experts that should enable them to share their knowledge to interpret data, legislation or give general advice to groups and communities.

If you would like to learn more about the Mexico Project or would be interested in volunteering, please email

For more information or to obtain a grant application form, please contact us at:

Sierra Club, Beyond the Borders Program, Mexico Project
408 C Street, NE
Washington, D.C. 20002
Tel: (202) 548-4597

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