By Karla Navarro Vázquez*

Once upon a time, there was a small mangrove growing along the shore of a beautiful blue sea.  Next to the little one were other larger trees.  In their branches were many birds, and underwater, within their roots, small animals like fish, crustaceans and molusks reproduced.

The little mangrove, on seeing all the commotion caused by the birds up in the trees became more and more excited and finally asked its friends:

“Hey, when I grow up, will there be as many animals living in me as in you?”

And its friends answered:

“Of course, little one.  You’ll be as big as, or even bigger than, us and you will be able to give refuge to many animals just like we do. You’ll even be able to watch some birds grow up within your branches.”

The little mangrove tree replied:

“Wow, how I wish that time would fly and I’d get bigger. I’m still too small to shelter the birds that bring joy to my day and keep me company at night.”

To which one of its friends responded:

“Don’t worry little one.  You’ll be a big mangrove very soon.”

Years went by and the small mangrove eventually became a large tree.  Its mangrove friends told it:

“See, little one, just like we told you years ago, today you are a big mangrove too.  Besides being a cozy home for other animals, you are a beautiful sight to these waters that give us life.”

A few days later, little by little, mangrove trees began to disappear and in their place were some men putting up buildings.
The mangrove couldn’t make any sense out of why the men would destroy its friends without any reason, to which it mused:

“I don’t understand why these people are making my friends disappear if they haven’t done anything wrong.  We just give refuge to birds and some sea creatures.  We also bring life and create a beautiful sight along the seashore.  They cut us down to put up their buildings and they are the only ones who benefit from that.”

One morning, some men came to the area where the mangrove and its old friends lived.  The trees were awakened when they heard the flapping from hundreds of birds.  The men began to cut down the younger mangrove’s friends and it yelled to them:

“Hey friends, hang on!  Don’t let them kill you!”

But it was in vain.  That night, the poor mangrove was very sad because most of his old friends were gone.

That’s when the man in charge of construction arrived and sat down on the shore. He too was sad.  He was crying and thinking about why things had happened the way they had, when suddenly he heard a voice saying:

“Hi.  Why are you crying? Did they get rid of your friends to build something too?”
Journalism to Raise Environmental Awareness
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San BlasMangrove species are classified as an endangered species according to the latest Mexican environmental law NOM-059-2010 (Photo: Ernesto Boledo)
“Hey man, don’t kill me! I’m your friend the mangrove.”
Community Groups Receive Training
Looking to Become Environmentally
and Socially Responsible
The man turned his head in all directions, trying to see from where the voice was coming.  When he saw that it was the mangrove talking to him, he answered:

“Why do you say that?”

And the mangrove replied:

“Just a few days ago they cut down the mangroves that were homes for many animals.  They killed friends who watched me grow up.  It was peaceful and quiet and now we’re all alone.  The life that used to be here is dying out.”

The man was quiet and thoughtful.  The mangrove said to him:

“Could I ask a favor?”

“Yeah, what do you want?”

“Don’t kill me too. Please, stop destroying any more of us. Please protect us!.  We’re  like friends  to  you.  We   make  this  beach  more
Fishing cooperatives, service providers, and ejido members are part of the initiative. (Photo: Ernesto Bolado Martínez)

By Griselda Franco Vásquez*

Guaymas, Sonora – Ten community groups from the Gulf of California region agreed to receive training and to work on their business plans in order to improve or establish socially and environmentally responsible businesses within their area.

At the end of 2010, the non-profit organization SuMar-Voces por la Naturaleza, with assistance and guidance from the NGOs CEDO, COBI, CONSELVA, REDES, RED and MANGLAR, organized a workshop “Responsible Community Businesses,” where community groups identified and formed alliances in the interest of starting or improving their businesses.

Amanda Lejbowicz, representative of New Ventures México (NVM), explained the nature and usefulness of the business plan, which is made up of: a summary of the factors that lead to success: competitive advantages; the business objectives; the work plan; the organizational structure; and human resources.

To reinforce these concepts in actual practice, Machángles Carvajal, founding member of SuMar, gave a presentation on a study done by the NGO titled “Responsible Community Businesses: an Analysis of Case Studies and Lessons Learned.”

José de Jesús (Josele) Varela, director of Kuyimá, one of best known ecotourism businesses in Mexico, talked of his 25 years of experience. He  emphazised  their  success  at being  able to  retain more than 50

employees during the peak gray whale watching season at Laguna San Ignacio, BCS, as well as their ecotourism certification by Green Globe 21.

Álvaro Angulo and Freddie Gutiérrez, both presidents of cooperatives, and their consultant Luís Bojorquez, discussed the case of the crab processing plant in the rural community of El Tortugo in Sinaloa, an innovative company that generates a significant number of jobs.

A field trip to Perlas del Mar de Cortez rounded out the workshop with more practical lessons gained from functional businesses. Enrique Arizmendi, one of Perla’s owners, talked about the company’s history and technical processes and discussed how the concepts learned from SuMar and NVM's workshop had been applied.  The cultivated pearl business, winner of awards for excellency in marketing and finances, is an outstanding example of success in the creation of an eco-friendly product.

*Sumar-Voces por la Naturaleza

beautiful . We protect you from wind, waves and even hurricanes. Besides, if you destroy the rest of us, hundreds of fish won’t have a home and won’t be able to reproduce any more.  Then there won’t be any fish to catch and many families will be left without food.”

The man appeared to be disturbed by this.

“I didn’t know that you did so much for us.  I always thought that you were just weird, twisted trees. I didn’t imagine all those things you just told me.”

Several years passed and the man granted the mangrove’s wish. And so, every night he went to the shoreline to see his friend. He would talk to the mangrove and the mangrove would tell the man how happy the other mangroves were and how protected they felt, because they would never be cut down.  On the contrary, there are now more and more little mangroves and bigger mangrove forests.

*Member, EcoMar