A Movement Born for the Conservation, Restoration and Defense of Mexico’s Ecosystems
There are people around the world who genuinely bring their best self to have an impact on changing our world for the better. People from all backgrounds, cultures and education that have been slowly but fiercely gathering towards the same goal: preserving and restoring our wonderful planet’s ecosystems. And although these places have been needing the attention that has been slowly gathering around their current state for a long time, the actions that are happening now are crucial to help them.
In Mexico, these changes have been coming from people in communities and organizations that work towards social and environmental wellbeing by focusing their actions towards the cause of making a better world for the future of all living beings and all habitats. A movement that was born for the conservation, restoration, dissemination and defense of Mexico’s ecosystems, ‘Hurakaan Eco Táctica’, a non-profit Civil Association, gathers a group of people that have relentlessly been fighting for the improvement of the country’s natural beauty. The word ‘Hurakaan’ refers to ‘hurricane’; and the name “Hurakaan – Eco Táctica’” refers to being in a constant environmental and social struggle, working towards the conservation and restoration of the ecosystems.
The group looks for social justice, climate action, conservation of underwater life, clean water quality, environmental education, reforestation and restoration of ecosystems to be in the top of the national agenda, by forming strategic alliances to obtain the means and tools in order to provide an infrastructure to achieve their social objectives; the movement must start from the control that activists must have within the Hurricane chaos, thus the name of ‘Hurakaan- Eco Táctica’.
But what really makes an outstanding organization is the people that conform it. And in Hurakaan Eco Táctica the team of volunteers goes from biologists and scientists, social media and marketing specialists, to lawyers and policy makers.
Dulce Martínez, a biologist and consultant on sustainability issues, urban trees and civil associations. She is a certified Dive Master since 2016 and involved in marine conservation projects from diving courses for marine conservation, cleaning the seabed, net removal campaigns, beach cleaning, coral propagation, among others. With a diverse training both in the laboratory and in the field, and having led civil society organizations such as Sea Shepherd Mexico and Proyecto Raíz Verde, she is a crucial pillar on the organizations board initiatives.
Angie Soto, a Social Graphic Designer, who merges creativity with activism through her designs that raise awareness about environmental, cultural and social issues. By connecting communities to work towards the same goal: be conscious about the Earth state, not only in environmental regard but also in communities. Her work, inside and outside of the organization, has contributed to generate a collective conscience on issues that need to be debated, discussed, implemented and above all, on taking action.
Wendoline Sánchez, a biologist with a focus on ecology in marine environments with an emphasis on the impact of climate change on coral reefs. Her work is focused on how the world’s tropical reef ecosystems are increasingly affected by climate change and overexploitation, negatively affecting not only reef-associated species, but also numerous ecological and geomorphological services essential to human well-being. For this reason, it is important to understand how the calcification of some species of corals may be changing in different regions in the current natural environment, as well as to make predictions in tropical reefs in the face of climate change.
Ilze Nava, master in Governance and International Strategy, investigates how governance can serve as a tool to reduce water stress in Mexico, seeking to implement long-term solutions for this situation that can be replicable and sustainable.
And Hurakaan’s director, Hector Torres has been directing associations that work towards taking action for better protecting Mexico’s and therefore Earth’s ecosystems such as Sea Shepherd Mexico. Reaching important goals, such as in 2017, when in coalition with several organizations in the Legislative Assembly of Mexico City, they managed to change the status of animals from being considered movable property to subjects of moral consideration, beings who are the owners of their own bodies and that can be defended. From that moment and only in Mexico City, animals are not considered movable property as in the rest of the country.
Due to pandemic issues in January 2021, they unanimously decided to close operations of Sea Shepherd Mexico, a decision that was made in conciliation with the organization’s headquarters in Amsterdam. Therefore, Hector Torres and his team decide to continue the actions, modifying strategies now under the name and image of a new organization: ‘Hurakaan Eco-Táctica’.
What Hector and the rest of his team seek is to develop ‘Hurakaan’ as an important organization based on collaboration and respect, creating strategic alliances that provide the necessary infrastructure to carry out operations and weave a national network of volunteers on land and sea to work an agenda of projects from the locality to the national. The challenge is growing across the countries states by replicating the projects that have been successful in places such as the southern State of Quintana Roo.
With a serious language of respect and collaboration they seek the constant development of their campaigns and the actions that they have achieved within the last year are as follows:
* 1214 corals propagated in Cabo San Lucas, Baja California in 2020
* Liaison with the legislature for environmental law initiatives.
* More than 530 tons of urban waste recycled in Mexico City in 2020
* Water quality monitoring and restoration in coral reefs and mangroves in the Riviera Maya, South of Mexico.
* Assistance and collaboration in the marine turtle protection program in Tulum National Park, Riviera Maya.
* Education camps, beach and seabed cleaning, surveillance and environmental monitoring in Tulum, Riviera Maya.
But perhaps their most ambitious project yet that they will be launching within the next few weeks is the National Caravan for Environmental Monitoring, with a research project led by experienced biologists Carmen Dosta, Xochitl Guzman and Felix Aguirre from the UAM Campus Xochimilco, Iztapalapa and Lerma respectively. The Caravan will be travelling around Mexican coasts paying attention to the interests and problems of the directors of the reserves and communities. The actions that will be held are to collect data on flora and fauna species as well as water quality tests.
The caravan that will travel with 4 to 6 people will visit protected natural areas around most of the country’s coasts, conducting environmental monitoring to offer an update of data to interested institutions and platforms. These people will be made up of divers, biologists, activists, journalists and artists interested in actions in the field both from the organization as well as from the outside.
This is their response to the budget cut to the environment sector in Mexico and especially to the national commission for protected natural areas which caused a decrease in the environmental monitoring of all reserves and flora and fauna protection areas in the country. Out of hundreds of countries around the world, 17 alone harbor in between 60 and 70% of the total biodiversity of the planet and also possess a very high number of endemic species. Such countries earn the privilege to be called megadiverse. And Mexico is one of them. This is why the Caravan Monitoring and the other programs that the organizations carries out are extremely important to be continued constantly.
‘Hurakaan’ does not only want to provide assistance on restoring natural areas in the country but also bring massive awareness towards our human actions that are destroying our precious environments. By joining campaigns and important dates like World Oceans Day, Plastic Free July and World Cleanup Day, the members of the organizations keep working towards bringing people in to wake up and take action for what is an environmental catastrophe that has sadly affected almost all corners in the world.
The current state of Earth’s and Mexico’s precious ecosystems may have brought the attention of many people, communities and organizations all around the world. And organizations like these are beginning to get the recognition they deserve for the much needed help they have been working towards, and though there’s still much help needed, they are working hard towards achieving bigger goals.
In the words of graphic designer Angie Soto “My greatest purpose is to give voice to what needs to be heard and express it in a way that impacts society and helps the planet”, this could not be more adequate to what the Hurakaan Eco-Táctica is seeking in the country: to give voice to the ecosystems and living beings that depend on them, to works towards the resilience of a healthy and thriving world, and perhaps eventually expand even further with the mentality that a united community with a shared consciousness of caring and fighting for the protection of our Earth is much stronger and has the full capacity of making a change.