Collaborators in This Issue

Baja California
Claudia Cecilia González Olimón

Baja California Sur

Miguel Ángel Torres

Talli Nauman
Gloria Abdala

Hitandui Tovar
Gladis Jazmín Cazares
Karim Oswaldo Duarte Nafarrate
María Marcela Rascón González
Reyna Selina Valenzuela Rendón
Flor Rebeca Amarillas Sánchez
Dania Noheli Meneses Velázquez
Marco Antonio Rodríguez Valerio

Sinaloa and Nayarit
Ernesto Bolado
Elizabeth Dalila Frausto Sotelo

Editorial Board
César Angulo (San Luis Rio Colorado, Son.)
Talli Nauman (San Ignacio, B.C.S.)
Debra Valov (Mulegé, B.C.S.)
Griselda Franco Piedra (Guaymas, Son.)
Miguel Ángel Torres (Aguascalientes, Ags.)
Soyna Daniels (Hermosillo, Son.)

Consultants Vol. 3, No. 1
Ernesto Bolado, Máchangeles Carvajal,
Dahl McLean, Silvia Susana Sánchez

English Translations
Debra Valov
José Nicolás Cabrera-Schneider
Jim Morgan
Sarah Picker

SuMar - Voces por la Naturaleza, A.C.; Fondo de Acción Solidaria, A.C.; Green Grants;; Colegio de Bachilleres del Estado de Sonora

Debra Valov, Mulegé, B.C.S.


Meloncoyote logotipo

Meloncoyote is a product of Journalism to Raise Environmental Awareness (abbreviated PECE in Spanish), an independent communications project founded in 1994 with the support of the MacArthur Foundation. The viewpoints expressed are solely those of the authors.

This work may be reproduced in part or whole, with images and illustrations, as long as the publication source and authors are cited.

This edition of Melóncoyote was produced at the confluence of three major events: the UN Conference on Sustainable Development, more commonly referred to as the Rio+20 Summit; the G20 meeting of world leaders, which is considered by the current administration of Mexico to be the most important multilateral meeting in the history of Mexico; and the 2012 Mexican presidential elections.

The Rio+20 meeting, was held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, June 14-23. Analysts agree that negotiations achieved very little. One conclusion drawn was the importance of continuing these types of meetings with their global agenda, while at the same time recognizing that the most significant achievements take place at a local level.

The G20 meeting June 18-19 brought to our region of Los Cabos, B.C.S. the leaders of the most influential countries on the planet.  Civil society organized protests, demanding environmental justice, and a focus on quality of life rather than on investors’ gains, just as we have been advocating here in Melóncoyote.

The July 1, 2012 Mexican presidential elections have come with the traditional series of campaign promises about democracy that Mexican men and women know will not be fulfilled through a change of president or the political party in power, but will only be achieved in small steps with collective effort.

In this edition of Meloncoyote, we illuminate concrete examples of the issues touched upon in the speeches of negotiators, investors, government authorities, political parties and community organizations.

Published here is a declaration from the winners of the Goldman Prize for environmental activism on the occasion of Rio+20, which places the work of the protagonists of our stories in the international context.

We include the struggle of fishermen in Guerrero Negro, B.C.S. to protect their source of employment and to decrease poaching in order to achieve a sustainable fishery given the demand of a growing world population.

We also present the viewpoint of a traditional indigenous people, the Yaqui Tribe, on the risks of agrochemicals and transgenics, as well as on alternatives for safe crops.

We describe the attempts to deny these native peoples access to the Río Yaqui, actions that favor only industries with political connections to the State and Federal governments.

In contrast, we applaud the efforts of the organized community to restore the Río Yaqui’s watershed and protect the mangrove forests along the Gulf of California coastline.

We also shed light on the renewed water conflicts caused by open-pit mining, its use of cyanide, which is not permitted in other countries, and the unjustifiable extraction from this desert region of the enormous quantities of water needed to carry out these activities.

We recount the historical achievement won by local, national and international organizations, with the cancellation of the permits for the Cabo Cortés mega development project that threatened the only coral reef in Northwest Mexico. We recommend that attention be kept on this issue so that we don't lose the ground we’ve gained.

Students and teachers from COBACH Preparatory Schools in Sonora at the Quetchechueca, Obregón 2 and Obregón 3 campuses participated in a community journalism workshop focused on sustainable development of Northwest Mexico.

Taught entirely by volunteers from Melóncoyote, the workshop brought together Yaqui community leaders and students in an interview process that had clear mutual benefits. We hope that the results-- seen in this seventh edition of the bulletin-- are only the beginning of better news coverage, not just by Melóncoyote, but by other media outlets as well.


Our project dates back to 1994, when “Journalism to Raise Environmental Awareness” (abbreviated PECE in Spanish) was formed. In 2004, PECE played a role in the founding of the national professional organization The Mexican Environmental Journalist’s Network. In 2005, when we started the first grassroots journalism project in the Gulf of California, our team chose the name Melóncoyote because it is a species emblematic of the region at the heart of our mission.

The Coyote Melon, known in Spanish as melón coyote or calabacilla (which includes the species Cucurbita palmata, C. cordata, C. digitata and C. foetidissima) is a wild perennial gourd that is resistant, versatile, beautiful, useful and native to the sandy soils that characterize the Gulf of California zone. The coyote melon is found in the region’s seven states: Baja California Sur, Baja California, California, Arizona, Sonora, Sinaloa, and Nayarit. A vine, Coyote Melon has an immense root that guarantees its survival against hard times while its long stems serve to anchor the soil in fragile areas.

The indigenous peoples of the area, bearers of the region’s traditional wisdom, describe the plant and how it is used. As medicine, it is bitter, but effective. As a musical instrument, it makes a beautiful rattle. Its seeds provide oil and a flour which contains a high level of protein. Its shell is ideal as a container for all matter of things. Because of all of these traits, and because it is an integral part of the food chain and one of the principal foods of the coyote, they named it “Coyote Melon”.

Our team of collaborators chose this name because it is a plant found throughout the region, and in doing so, we wanted to stress our intention to create a large-scale communications medium, capable of spreading (on a regional level) the news about efforts being made towards sustainability. With this symbolic name to represent our work, we are sending a clear message about our respect for the land and the sea, as well as for the ancestral cultures and customs of the region. We see the establishment of this medium for education and dissemination as something urgent, given the idiosyncrasies of the region. We have conceived this project as being an integral element of the environment, something positive like the Coyote Melon.

Faced with the challenges of growth in the region—a low population density, its recent political incorporation into the national government, a high degree of natural attraction and its proximity to the strong investment sector of the United States—we understand the implications of the pressures for development. Dealing with these challenges and pressures will require informed citizens who have the chance to participate in the decisions that affect their land, water, air, biodiversity and their future. We invite others to join with us, to participate in building this medium and to fight for a stable future for the region.

All work on behalf of Melóncoyote is voluntary.
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Melóncoyote: Between Summits and Elections
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