Jungle Rumble: What gives with Wild9?

Greg Harman

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Not content with stripping the Wild Animal Orphanage bare on a Bexar County stage and exposing the unraveling mortal coil that is entertainment by marine mammal, the Current decided to hit upon what is perhaps the world's most significant international gathering dedicated to the protection of the world's wildlife and wild spaces.

Bienvenidos a Mérida, where a partnership between The WILD Foundation and Unidos para la Conservación has melded a week-long examination of the most pressing conservation issues of our day. Bienvenidos a Wild9.

Generally held every four years at various points around the globe, The World Wilderness Congress this round is attacking the dangers of climate change and stressing the role that habitat conservation plays in maintaining a stable planet.

Having arrived two days late, I have already missed one truly remarkable event: the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the nations of Canada, U.S., and Mexico for wilderness protection â?? the first of its kind.

Mexican President Calderon announced the signing at the opening ceremony of the 9th World Wilderness Congress to an audience of about 1,200 delegates.

A press release reads:

“Today it gives me great pleasure to announce that, within the framework of this 9th World Wilderness Congress, Mexico, Canada and the United States will be formalizing an important Cooperation Plan for Wilderness Conservation,” said President Calderon.

“This Agreement will make it easier to exchange successful experiences, and facilitate monitoring and the training of human resources, as well as financing projects that will protect and recover wilderness areas.”

The MOU provisions address ecosystems, migratory wildlife, and natural resources that do not start and end with geographical boundaries. This MOU also encourages cooperative efforts to conduct and share scientific research.

The character of this agreement, signed in the three national languages of English, Spanish and French, is cross-cultural, and respects native approaches to conserving wild nature, accommodation for indigenous customs, priorities for species survival, and national environmental policy.

This morning, I'm preparing for a keynote address from one of the planet's most recognizable conservationists, Jane Goodall, to be followed with some face time with clean-energy visionary Amory Lovins.

The knowledge being shared here in the heart of Mayan country would do worlds of good back in Alamo City, where we are challenged by story after story of the perils our planet faces and yet remain politically ambivalent.

Some recent headlines that have caught my eye include this notice that Texas could meet its energy needs five times over with renewable sources, that the “problem” of renewable-power storage is no more, and that sprawl, that Bexar County speciality, kills.

While SA flounders over its nuclear-expansion plans, talks more renewables, and begins tentatively to chart a green-jobs component of our economy, perhaps it is time to roll it all into one honest-to-goodness sustainability plan for the region. One not just built on jobs creation, but one that takes open spaces and greenhouse gases into account.

I'll be shipping back notes from Mérida to keep these issues front and center in hopes South Texans will benefit from the message from the rest of the world. The mensaje de Mérida? "Wilderness: The Climate's Best Ally."


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