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11. Sustainable Development solutions for México.


11.1 Introduction.


While individual actions of both present and future generations of humans remain in individual hands, the collective present and future of the people of México remains entrusted to the care of our country’s current leaders at the national, state and local levels of government. And learning to lead in sustainable ways, while not easy, is ever more important for today’s governmental leaders around the world.

Over history, many politicians, businessmen and people who work in government have come to think that the economy is the most important element in human societies. The idea of money and its perceived value has enticed many a political leader to have this take a centre stage among governmental policies.

Today, however, many of the growing numbers of average people in countries throughout Earth have themselves come to realise that the other two parts of sustainable development– its social and environmental twins - are in crisis. Here in México, as in many other countries, our society is experiencing growing challenges like food insecurity, increasing violence, widening inequities in wealth distribution, loss of values, and the break-up of families through increased divorces. Such problems create and bring more problems to any society.

We propose the following specific, sometimes even bold, sustainable development ideas to the leaders and people of México. These ideas are to benefit our fellow Mexican citizens, the national Mexican community, and the planet Earth we all share.

While some of the ideas we present may not initially seem directly connected to sustainable development, when once woven together and put in to practice as a collective whole, all of these ideas will help México build the most sustainable of societies.

The ideas we present keep within the OECD’s recent observation that, for México: “To move... onto a higher and sustainable growth path, a renewed effort at reform on a broad front is required.”[78]

The purpose of these ideas we offer is to plant seeds of sustainable development thinking in the minds of our politicians and fellow Mexicans. Thus, the ideas we offer are outlined in the most general of terms. We do, however, encourage our politicians and compatriots to conduct their own further, in-depth, reading on the details underpinning these ideas, so that they can learn more about them and understand why their practice is essential.


11.2 Sustainable development solutions for México: A community is its people.


We think it a mistake for any politician to think of a community or municipality as simply comprising a given physical location and its economic activities. We understand a community to be, first and foremost, about its people. We see a community as being the people who, collectively together, live amongst and identify with one another in any given geographical location.

Blanket_artisan_in_Chamula,_Chiapas.JPG
A blanket artisan in Chamula, Chiapas.

Thus, for a community to be sustainable it entails concern about its physical environment, equal concern about its social health, along with the usual concern about its economic development.

Tired_Jaguar_post-Danza_el_Pocho.JPG
A tired Jaguar dancer, post the Pre-Hispanic (ancient Mayan) Danza el Pocho in Tenosique, Tabasco.

For this reason we see the social element of sustainable development as being the most important for México, even though it often seems as the most forgotten of the three. This part of sustainable development refers to our society, culture, and customs: basically “us” and our families. It represents the role of human beings in the Mexican human reality.


11.3 Sustainable development solutions for México: "Building a sustainably strong society - 20 essential elements."


For us, any sustainable strong society (including one still to be created in México) entails a number of essential elements. These we identify and list in near order of priority:
  1. Trust... is the basis of all relationships and dealings in a sustainable society, whether between governments, businesses, industry and individuals (and no matter whether individuals are strangers or friends) (see “Appendix 1”, for a diagram we have developed related to a sustainable society and trust).
  2. Rule of Law... business, industry and individuals are not able to buy their way out of the laws of the society but must follow them as agreed to by the society and its leaders. To contravene the society’s laws will result in offenders - whether they are rich or poor or in government - facing penalties under a neutral criminal / civil court system.
  3. Transparency... open and honest operations are normal practice in both government and business.
  4. Democratic in some manner... in that citizens are consulted on political decisions and sustainability concerns through public processes and meetings (such as already happens in many other countries).
  5. Meritocracy ... over nepotism is the societal norm. Equality of opportunity is a key principle in the society, meaning that people succeed based on their individual skills and abilities, not simply due to a compadre and other people they closely know.
  6. Expanded sense of community ... where a sense of community beyond blood family is encouraged throughout the society, including a fostered sense of community volunteerism and service.
  7. Corruption is fully punished under the law... whether it is engaged in by any leader (including politicians from the President on down, government officials or businesspersons) or by citizens.
  8. Wide distribution of wealth... so that a society’s wealth is not generally held in the hands of a select few, but with a government finding creative ways for its society’s natural wealth to be more equitably earned throughout its society.
  9. Education... right through to preparatory 3 is mandatory for all citizens and freely available at public schools.
  10. Education in Sustainable Development.... is formally required and taught from kindergarten right through to preparatory 3, as well as being required as a series of courses of study at university levels.
  11. Formal economies... are standard practice and informal economies are discouraged. Related, taxes in the formal economy are willingly paid by all citizens of the society, for they know their taxes will go to societal projects not in to politicians pockets.
  12. Environmental awareness and enforcement... laws are developed for both protection and enhancement of the society’s natural environment, and these same laws are enforced in reality not just printed on paper.
  13. Population control... is understood as essential to the sustainable development of the society.
  14. Public medical care.... to some basic degree is available to all citizens in the society.
  15. Precautionary Principle / Approach... is fully practiced at all levels and by all sectors of the society.
  16. Sustainability Strategies... are required at all levels of government (national, state and local) , for every community, and by all businesses and industries in the society.
  17. Food Sustainability.... food self-sufficiency is encouraged and practiced, whereby the society is fully able to produce enough food to feed its own population over it needing any food imports as a requirement to feed its people.
  18. Recycling... programmes are legally mandatory and supported by all communities of the society. In such a society, home pick-up of recycled products is normal practice and companies exist to buy and use recycled goods.
  19. Alternative energy... is fostered and developed over any continued reliance on dwindling and environmentally-destructive non-renewable resources.
  20. R&D (Research & Development) in Sustainability... and its related technologies and thinking is both nurtured and actively supported by the society.


11.4 Sustainable development solutions for México: Social Sustainability.


11.4.1 Role of Family and Population Control.


Family is one of the most important units in any society and also of great cultural importance to Mexicans. As a practical necessity, we encourage the creation of sustainability programmes involving complete families and their members.

While families are important for individual Mexicans, as equally important for México and our country’s collective sustainability (and also, as we earlier discussed, for Earth’s overall sustainability), is the matter of the size of Mexican families. The human size of a country affects its national income and the overall quality of life of its people. The United Nations speaks directly to this connexion between a country’s population size and its economic success:

“There is solid evidence, based on two generations of experience and research, that there is a "population effect" on economic growth. Since 1970, developing countries with lower fertility and slower population growth have seen higher productivity, more savings and more productive investment. They have registered faster economic growth."[79]

Within México, the connexion between population growth and environmental degradation was discussed in the Transición Demografica [Demographic Transition] section of México’s Plan Nacional de Desarrollo 2001-2006. This outlined how our country’s population has tripled over the past 50 years and how our Republic’s population growth has contributed to a continued overexploitation of México’s natural resources.[80]

Illegal_Logging_in_the_Monarch_Butterfly_Reserve_in_Michoacan.JPG
Illegal logging in the Monarch Butterfly Reserve, Michoacan.

If we want all Mexicans to have an overall good and even equitable quality of life, we think it essential that our governments continue to promote their philosophy that “small families live better lives”.

Population control will help México realise a better distribution of our national wealth and resources. Fewer Mexicans results in fewer demands being placed on our country’s finite resource base. We congratulate our national government for the vision it demonstrated over 25 years ago when it created its family planning programme to reduce unwanted pregnancies in our Republic.

According to Mexico’s Ley General de Población (General Law of Population), as found in Article 3 - Section II:

“...la Secretaria de Gobernación ...Realizara programas de planeación familiar a través de los servicios educativos y de salud pública.” [Our Government promotes family planning programs through educational and public health services.].[81]

Until 1970, the knowledge which Mexicans had of contraceptive methods was limited, with less than 50% of our population having any such knowledge. Today, through the work of our federal government, more than the 90% of people in Mexico are said to have information about contraceptive methods, a knowledge acquired in large measure by our government using mass communication techniques such as television and radio advertising. Today, four out five women in Mexico City who use contraceptives acquire them from public sector services.[82] Elsewhere in Mexico, people can also call PLANIFICATEL or use PLANIFICANET to get information about family planning. The success of this federal government initiative speaks for itself:
  • in 1976, Mexican women had an average of 4.5 children;
  • in 1987, this average was reduced to 3.3 children;
  • in 1994, the average was 3.2 children;
  • in 2001, Mexico has an average of 2.4 children per woman.[83]

Yet even while our national government offers programs to provide information about family planning, we still think that more need be done. Mexicans living in rural areas do not have the same access to family planning programmes as do those people living in D.F. and other major urban areas of Mexico. CANAPO statistics suggest that families in rural areas still have about 8 to 10 children, and start families as young as the age of 15.[84]

Unlike in China, where the Chinese “...government promote[s] one-child families through financial incentives and bureaucratic regulations”, Mexico does not have any law to regulate the number of children which Mexican families are allowed to have. According to our country’s laws, we as Mexicans are free to choose when we want children and also free to determine the number of children we want to have as part of our families. This approach to family planning has been seen to respect the rights and freedoms of our people.[85]

Yet we suggest that the environmental challenges and realities of Earth now require new ways for looking at the matter of reproductive rights. Inherent within the actual concept of rights is the equal and as important concept of responsibilities. Dr. Audrey R. Chapman of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, has written on the interrelationship between rights and responsibilities. She is one of many people in the past 20 years who have come to identify the major problem of an “imbalance between rights and responsibilities”.[86]

In support of reconnecting rights and responsibilities, Chapman notes:

“... the system of reciprocal rights and responsibilities places a high premium on shared commitments to work toward the evolution of a society and political system better able to guarantee the rights of all; in both private and public social, economic, and political interactions."[87]

We suggest our national government need to look at the responsibility side of rights in our Republic, including as these responsibilities relate to the rights of us Mexicans and the number of children we can have in our families. For a family with say 5 children places a greater strain on Mexico’s limited natural and financial resources, as well as on Earth’s global natural environment, than does a family with only one or two children. And, of course, growing numbers of children today also means even higher and compounded numbers of people in the future who then need be supported within México and by Earth’s ecosystems. We do not see this situation as being beneficial or even reflective of sustainable development for current or future generations of Mexicans.

We offer the subtle suggestion that maybe, just maybe, México should consider exploring more strict measures for population control. We see this as being fully consistent with the Ley General de Población of México, as a stated object of this Law, as outlined in Article 3 – Section II, is said to be:

“... de regular racionalmente y estabilizar el crecimiento de la población, así como lograr el mejor aprovechamiento de los recursos humanos y naturales del país." ["…to rationally regulate and stabilize population growth to… reach a better distribution of the human and natural resources of our country."][88]


Placing strict limits on the size of families in México would help our country prevent the over-population related problems experienced in China, India and in many other developing countries. Penalties for breaching a Mexican law restricting family-size would, by necessity, need be strict so that the law was followed. Measures such as fines for breach of such a law would not realistically work, particularly when considering that (as we outline above in CONAPO statistics) it is often rural Mexicans (generally our poorest of people) who have larger families. By virtue of these peoples’ very economic standing, they are not in any position to pay financial penalties for over-reproduction.

Our governments, along with Mexican citizens, would need to collectively join together in a national conversation to discuss and develop agreed but firm penalties for breaches of a national population control (family size restriction) law. Penalties may include that those people who knowingly breach the law be required to compensate Mexican society by their giving legally-required hours of volunteer work to their communities during each and every week over the years of the life of their additional child(ren), and doing so until such time as these same additional child(ren) have reached the age of majority. However, any penalties developed and agreed to would inherently need to be reflective of México’s cultural uniqueness and national realities.

Quite possibly, the very process of México engaging in a national conversation about a population control (family size restriction) law could be enough to help educate Mexicans in the seriousness surrounding our country’s need for population control. This act of our Mexican people engaging in a national conversation about population control might itself be enough for many Mexicans to then begin to take personal responsibility in their own lives for ensuring that they have the smaller families our country requires for its sustainable development.


11.4.2 Quality of life includes social connectivity.


Our governments often seem to prefer to invest in activities that produce money over their making investments in our society to directly benefit México’s people. Yet essential to the sustainability of México are socially-healthy communities, which we see as including the personal happiness and fulfilment of Mexicans ourselves. Much more need be done by our country’s governments to achieve a more sustainable Mexico through their supporting the social connectivity of Mexicans.

Annually, Mercer Human Resource Consulting (an international human resource consultancy company that operates in 38 countries on Earth including with offices in México), develops a prominent Quality of Living Survey. This survey, which receives international media attention, analyses the quality of living in the top-identified cities of Earth as “...ranked against New York as the base city....”[89] “The analyses is ... conducted to help governments and major companies to place employees on international assignments.”[90] Within the Survey: “A city with a high Quality of Living index is [considered] a safe and stable one.’[91]

In the most recent 2007 Quality of Living Survey, not one single Mexican city is listed in the top 50 cities identified in either of the Quality of Living ranking or Worldwide Heath and Sanitation Ranking. The top 3 cities on Earth as listed in the Mercer Quality of Living survey were:

2007
Top 50
Base City: New York, USA (=100)
[92]
Rank 2007
Rank 2006
City
Country
Index 2007
Index 2006
1
1
ZURICH
Switzerland
108.1
108.2
2
2
GENEVA
Switzerland
108.0
108.1
3
3
VANCOUVER
Canada
107.7
107.7
4
4
VIENNA
Austria
107.7
107.5
Interestingly, the Survey’s top five cities in the Americas were all found in multi-cultural and law-abiding Canada.[93]

Equally interesting, The Economists’ “2008 global liveability ranking” also highly rates Vancouver, Canada, placing it as Number 1 on its international list of 140 cities ranked.[94] The Economists’ 2007 global liveability ranking also listed Vancouver as Number 1.[95] And so the question then arises for us: What does Vancouver, Canada, located as it is in a cool and wet and cloudy coastal temperate rainforest, have which sunny Cancun and many other Mexican cities do not?[96]

Well, it seems that Vancouver has intentionally striven to design a city that includes the social well-being of its people as a central focus, alongside the environmental and economic considerations of sustainable development. This includes the city “...building cultural legacies in sport and recreation [including parks and community centres], arts, literacy, and volunteerism.”[97]

In a clear sense what Vancouver seems to be saying is that, if its’ community of people socially design a city in which local people themselves enjoy living (and for Vancouverites, this has historically included a strong concern for their natural environment), then theirs will also be a city that will realise economic success. For their liveable and sustainable city will then become one in which people from elsewhere in the world will also want to live and work.

And this is indeed what seems to be happening. One recent example is that in 2007, Microsoft global announced that it was opening a new international software development centre in the Greater Vancouver area, to add to its existing centres located in Redmond, USA, the state of North Carolina, and the countries of Ireland, Denmark and Israel.[98] This Microsoft research facility will help to noticeably increase Vancouver’s “Creative Class” or “Thinkforce” (the importance of which we discuss in a later section on Stop the “Brain Drain” of Mexicans), which will then in itself further serve to enhance that city’s economic attractiveness and success.

There are some very easy yet important measures that México’s governments (whether national, state or local) can take to further the quality of life of Mexicans through social connectivity. These would include community investments in: green city parks (such as Parque La Ceiba in Playa del Carmen or Cancun's Parque Urbano Kabah, but not like Cancun's newly revitalised main downtown "Parque Las Palapas" where what was built was a big concrete slab); community and recreation centres (such as exist in many Canadian and USA cities); special evening and weekend recreational programmes for children sponsored by local governments; and programmes which enable families and neighbours to share time together so as to expand their senses of both family and community.

The community ice-skating rink (ice floor) placed in the centre of the Zocalo of México City, which the local government in D.F. temporarily built there during this past December 2007, is one excellent example of Mexican government innovation at investing in the quality of life of Mexicans through social connectivity.[99] Through Mexican governments across our Republic developing more activities, programmes and initiatives for social connectivity between and amongst Mexicans - ones which bring together different and unrelated people to connect and celebrate their sense of shared community - then a greater sense of community and even societal well-being can begin to be experienced by Mexicans.

And by our governments doing so, one day very soon México will find one or more of its cities listed in the top 50 cities of Earth as ranked in a Mercer Quality of Living survey. This is not just wishful thinking: it is a goal that can be realistically achieved in México through political vision and will.


11.4.3 Cultural Diversity and Indigenous Cultures.


México is a country rich in culture, including possessing 62 distinct cultures and 150 separate indigenous dialects.[100] Our country’s languages, customs and cultures can change deeply from one Mexican state to another. We think much can be done by our governments to help strengthen the social richness of our country, promote México’s impressive cultural diversity and protect Mexican values. Yet we offer only one specific encouragement related to sustainable development and México’s many indigenous peoples’.

In Chapter 26 of the United Nations` Agenda 21, countries such as México have a responsibility to “…recognize, accommodate, promote and strengthen the role of indigenous people and their communities.”[101] In keeping within the spirit and intent of this section of Agenda 21, we encourage our governments to continue to protect, promote and strengthen the diversity of indigenous cultures in México.

Bartolome_de_Las_Casas_-_Defender_of_the_Indians.JPG
Bartolome de Las Casas: Defender of the Indians. An historical example for modern Mexican politicians.
(Official portrait hanging in a church in San Cristobal de la Casas, Chiapas.)
Specifically, we call on our governments to expand the bilingual school programme in México, which is provided for those children whose parents speak a language other than Spanish. This programme is as also identified in México`s Ley General de Derechos Lingüísticos de los Pueblos Indígenas.[102]

The strengthening of México’s indigenous languages can help our country’s many indigenous peoples both retain and even increase their usage of their traditional dialects. And through these educational programmes intending to preserve local indigenous languages, we understand that Mexican indigenous groups are then better placed to both retain and even strengthen their historic senses of cultural identity while also fitting in to modern Mexican society by their additionally learning the Spanish language.

Urbanised_Mayan_home_in_the_Riviera_Maya_-_Playa_del_Carmen.jpg
Urbanised Mayan home in the Riviera Maya (Playa del Carmen).

We see in our own state how much the modern Mayan culture is being impacted by changes brought on by tourism. It seems to only take a very short period of time for tourist activities to eventually overrun once quiet, secluded, rural community enclaves (like has fully happened around Chichén Itzá and in Playa del Carmen, has started to happen in Tulum to the south of Playa, and as appears to have signs of starting in the Mayan community of Coba to the west of Tulum.)

We can see how cultural values external to those of indigenous peoples can subtly enter into indigenous communities to then change traditional cultural vales. We offer a case in point. The local Mayan are generally seen as a peaceful and trusting people. In rural Mayan communities, there still are very many Mayan people who live in the traditional palapa-style wooden and thatched-roof houses that their people have lived in since times pre-dating the first arrival of Spanish Europeans.

Traditional_Mayan_palapa_in_downtown_Playa_del_Carmen.jpg
Traditional Mayan palapa in downtown Playa del Carmen.

These Mayan homes are generally open in some manner and certainly without steel bars. Yet in to Playa del Carmen or Cancun, cities where the tourism industry attracts people from other parts of México, steel bars on windows, doors and around garages are a more common sight to see. So the more traditional trusting values of the local Mayan people then come in to a direct conflict with the clearly less-trustful visual reality of some of the newcomers who have moved to our area. And with newcomers now seeming to outnumber local Maya, it doesn’t take much guesswork to determine whose values will eventually become dominant.

We remind our Mexican governments about our earlier discussion on the connexion between rights and responsibilities. For along with the rights they exercise, our Mexican governments have equal responsibilities to us, their citizens. And for the achievement of sustainable development in México, we see this equal connexion as including our Mexican governments meeting their responsibilities to both local Maya and other indigenous people in México. Specifically, our Mexican governments need ensure they keep their responsibilities to respect Mexican indigenous peoples’ Agenda 21 rights to recognition, accommodation, promotion and strengthening of both themselves and their communities.


11.4.4 Fair workplaces - for both employees and employers.


11.4.4.1 Fair workplaces: In general.

Companies in México need be encouraged – and even forced under national and state laws, if necessary – to include in their corporate planning clear strategies and targets for improving the social well-being of their employees. Yet we also realise that for México to be competitive in the international marketplace, any workplace improvements which employers make for our employees must also be met with equal if not greater improvement in the performance and productivity of Mexican employees.

We see the essential bridge for our country in meeting the needs of both employers and employees being the fostering of mutual respect in Mexican workplaces. This mutual respect would replace the more common patriarchic and often even robotic workplace arrangements currently found in our country. It would fully necessitate our country moving toward meritocracy as a workplace principle over the nepotism that seems more common in México. Equality of opportunity is essential to a sustainable México. That being, societal workplaces where employees are hired and promoted based on their individual skills and abilities instead of being based on a compadre and other people who they closely know.

The sooner Mexican employers realise that their offering mutual respect, loyalty, a fair days` wage, health & safety benefits, education allowances, the opportunity for workplace advancement, and a decent vacation package all serve to help foster employee loyalty and responsibility (including honesty), then the sooner our country can move to greater employee productivity and success in workplace environments.

Related, we call on our government to begin enforcing all its laws and require companies in Mexico (both public and private) to register ALL their employees with IMSS.[103] México’s Ley del Seguro Social requires employers to register their employees with IMSS. Yet it is common knowledge in México that employers do their best to avoid putting this national law in to practice within their workplaces. This may well be a consequence of México’s social security system being what the OECD identifies as “...neither equitable nor efficient”.[104] And, if so, then our national government needs to make whatever changes are required to IMSS so that it is more efficient and equitable, to then result in employers willing participating in this national programme intended to benefit average Mexicans.


11.4.4.2 Fair workplaces: In politics.

We also encourage our national, state and local level politicians to demonstrate in action the principles of meritocracy over nepotism by changing the way politics operates in Mexico. The Mexican “political workplace” also need be fairly grounded in merit over its current nepotism based on family and business connexions.

By demonstrating meritocracy in action in politics, México’s politicians would help encourage Mexican businesses, industry and Mexican society in general to follow their public example. Leadership does indeed start at the top. If only México’s politicians would fully understand this.


11.4.5 México’s resources should first benefit Mexicans.


Within México live people from many other countries. Foreign investors in our country receive direct financial benefits from their investments. Yet a problem we see existing in México is that foreign and even Mexican business operations do not let our country’s people fairly share in the wealth they generate through the privileged access they are given to México’s common resources and human capital.

In the Cancun hotel industry we see this dynamic demonstrated through the simple process of important hotel jobs often being occupied by foreigners over Mexicans. This may simply be a consequence of what we might politely refer to as the “unconscious superiority complex” that often seems to permeate the thinking of many people from overdeveloped countries (people who, while in actuality only coming from monetraily richer parts of Earth, often-times act as if they are intellectually superior to other peoples). No matter the reason, this situation does result in many of these foreign-run hotel businesses often reflecting foreign concerns over national interests.

We see further evidence of this when large shares of the financial resources generated in México by foreign companies, including in the hotel industry, do not remain in our country but are sent away to international head offices to then benefit other countries and foreign citizens. In the tourism sector, this is a well-documented dynamic not unique to Cancun (it is a dynamic common in many tourist resorts located in the developing world and where foreign-owned hotels are dominant players).[105] Yet México’s governments, joining with foreign governments experiencing the same reality, should be able to develop creative solutions to put an end to - or at least to diminish the consequences of - this economically unhealthy dynamic in our Republic.

It is so evident in Cancun that the many foreign-owned hotels and the few Mexican-owned hoteliers, while certainly central to the economy of our State of Quintana Roo, also help to negatively impact our natural environment through their operations. And so often these same hotels do not seem to even care that they are doing so. Making money is their clear priority, over their also helping our country with the equally important considerations of retaining each of a healthy natural environment and healthy social conditions.

Of course, many companies do operate honestly and follow laws (even when forced to do so under pressure: such as a known foreign-hotel in Cancun’s Hotel Zone, one that chose to flaunt local building rules and build a higher hotel than was legally permitted, but which then willingly paid a meager fine to local government for having done so).

As both a country and people, México and Mexicans have matured significantly. Cancun and México both now need to encourage and attract more companies, investors and operators who look to the holistic health of our City and Republic. México no longer needs business enterprises that simply look at our City and tourist zones as a means to make a fast peso for their foreign owners, regardless of the societal, environmental and economic consequences to our own country.


11.4.6 Community safety through creating a wider sense of community.


We call on México’s governments to consider new ways for improving community safety. We suggest that this issue be approached from newer, longer-term, perspectives which will move our country beyond guns and a stronger military presence.

"We think that a realistic solution through the lens of sustainable development is that our governments need help Mexicans create a sense of community beyond that of their immediate blood families."
In this 21st century, we call on our country’s people to move beyond their narrow, very traditional and even conservative, view of “family above all else”, and to begin to see neighbours and non-blood others as people who we can learn to appreciate and also include in our “extended family” circle.

By expanding Mexicans sense of community, our governments will also help expand the very idea of community that Mexicans will choose to care about and want to keep safe. Government education campaigns on expanding Mexican senses of family and community, whether taught through the formal school systems of our country or via public education activities in the mass media, will help our Republic achieve this goal over the longer term.

We see this as important, for we think the safety and security of our fellow citizens lay not just in police having shoot-outs with criminals. Our citizens themselves also need to be involved in indirect crime fighting, which they will participate in through their direct involvement in caring about their community’s safety. Through the action of our caring for our broader community, Mexicans can then be encouraged to organise in our own neighborhoods, to then simply monitor our local streets and our neighbors' homes. We would then help in fighting crime simply by our caring enough to “watch and report” on the activities we see on our own streets.

As identified by the famed but now deceased urbanologist Jane Jacobs, one of the founders of the “new urbanism” which helped revive many North American cities:

“...there must be eyes upon the street, eyes belonging to those we might call the natural proprietors of the street.... to insure the safety of both residents and strangers..."[106]

We do feel it necessary to repeat, however, that better social conditions and a fairer distribution of wealth in México would go a long way toward solving crime related problems in our country. We simply cannot believe that most reasonable persons, when faced with the choice between working in a fairly-paid job as a respected member of the community or working in a higher-paid activity but as a wanted criminal, would rationally choose the path of crime. We think those growing numbers of people in our country who seem to be choosing the path of crime do so only because our country, through its increasing social inequity enhanced by its continued practice of nepotism, are simply not provided with realistic alternatives for survival and personal success. Some of our people then unfortunately come to see survival and personal success as being associated with what should otherwise be seen as highly undesirable activities.


11.4.7 Encourage and Support Public Transportation.


For the purpose of sustainable development in México, our governments at the national, state and local levels need begin the long-term process of creating a public transit culture in our country. To encourage more Mexicans to take public transportation (buses and subways), our governments at all levels need to take yet another role in public education, this one regarding public education related to:
  • reducing social stigmas that exist in Mexico around use of public transit; and
  • emphasise to Mexicans the environmental benefits of bus, combi and subway usage.

If middle-class and even wealthy people in Western Europe and Canada can take public transit, including one of the wealthiest men in the world who takes both subways and buses throughout Europe, there is no reason Mexicans cannot be secure enough in ourselves to do the same thing as well.[107]

Also, one certain way to reduce the amount of CO2 being released in our atmosphere and to also better manage the movement of the population of our country is the use of more public transit and less use of cars. For through more use of busses instead of cars, we can reduce the amount of human-caused CO2 contamination by transporting more people in fewer vehicles.

Our governments at all levels also need to become actively involved in assembling bus fleets in and around our major cities: fleets which are modernly-equipped, accessible, reliable, safe and affordable. Additionally, we encourage our local governments to be involved in planning bus route services, so that these meet the needs of local people over the current needs of private transporters and unions.

Modern_collectivos_-_public_transit_-_in_Play_del_Carmen.jpg
Modern collectivos (privately operated public transit) vans and buses in Playa del Carmen.

Cities like Cancun or Villahermosa, Tabasco, which most often have old, run-down, even unsafe buses or combis operating as public transit vehicles, serve to discourage people from even considering public transit as an option. Our governments can consider tiered options of services, such as where differential prices are charged for different levels of bus service. For example, air conditioned buses or more modern buses running on popular routes might charge passengers a higher fare than non-air-conditioned buses and older buses operating on the same routes.


Cancun_bus.jpg
One of the better looking public buses in Cancun. Hopefully the shocks work on this bus.

Lastly, national and state governments need ensure that, for the obvious public safety reasons, all bus and public transit fleet drivers are professionally trained and certified. And also that, if a public vehicle driver breaks road safety rules, they can be guaranteed that they will be penalised including the possibility of permanently losing their license to drive. (On road safety rules: we see no safety benefit to public transit users when, such as is commonly experienced in the Riviera Maya, publicly used but privately operated vans zoom along the Cancun to Playa del Carmen highway at speeds of up to 140 kilometres per hour, even when their vehicles post signs stating that their maximum allowed vehicle speed limits are 95 kilometres per hour).

There is extensive academic literature and much proven experience available on both public transit matters and public transit benefits to sustainable communities. Our country’s political leaders only need source out such expertise, including from prominent cities recognised for excellence in public transit, such as in: Europe (i.e. London, England’s Transport for London), Canada (i.e. Toronto Transit Commission) and the USA (i.e. Metropolitan Transit Authority in New York City and throughout New York State).[108]


11.4.8 Police and Public Security.


“We are more afraid of México’s official police forces than we are of criminals who are not police.”

The people of México are well aware through direct experiences that corruption of all sorts is rampant throughout the police forces of our country. Mexican police officers requesting bribes or being involved in criminal activities is common practice in our Republic.

We have no allusions that this is an easy situation to solve. Nor is solving it a safe activity to be engaged in, based on the number of senior level police officers who have been assassinated across our country. (This includes the Deputy-Chief of Police in Ciudad Juárez who, sadly, was assassinated on the very day we finished our book and whose murder, as national media are saying, appears to have had involvement from within the police force).[109]

While likely an uncomfortable suggestion for many Mexicans, a realistic solution may now involve our Republic’s engagement of honest and respected police forces from foreign countries. This could possibly include police help from México’s two NAFTA trading partners (i.e. the internationally-respected FBI - Federal Bureau of Investigation in the USA or the equally internationally-respected RCMP - Royal Canadian Mounted Police force in Canada).

México’s national government might be wise to publicly state we have corrupt police forces. Thus, to then begin public addressing this problem straight on. By bravely doing so, our national government will then be in a better position to begin to focus on related and strong solutions, such as actively hiring the expertise of honest police forces from foreign countries. This hired police expertise can then be purposely used to help our national government and Mexican society with the desperately-needed clean-up, reform and professional training required of all of México’s police forces.

By necessity, to be sustainable México will need honest and respected police forces.


11.5 Sustainable development solutions for Mexico: Education for Sustainability.


11.5.1 Public Education for Sustainability.


The years 2005 – 2014 are the United Nations´ (UN) Decade for Education for Sustainable Development.[110] We consider it essential that our governmental leaders join with the UN, us and others, who understand the urgent need to educate Earth’s citizens in the concept, benefits and need for sustainable development and sustainable living.

Public education about sustainability is essential if México’s citizens are to be both informed about the concept, approach and practice of sustainable development, and to also be given ideas on how to implement it in their daily lives.

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Public school in Cancun.

Proof for this educational need in México is found in the recent OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) Report on PISA 2006: Science Competencies for Tomorrow’s - World Briefing Note for Mexico:

"...when it comes to science and the environment, Mexican 15 year olds report a below-average level of awareness of environmental issues.... At the same time, many young Mexicans reported being concerned about the environmental challenges that we face and do not believe that these will improve over the next 20 years. The less they know about science, the more optimistic they report to be that the environmental challenges will be successfully addressed."[111]


What this OECD report reveals is that the less Mexican students know about the environment, the better they think the health of the environment is. Or in the reverse, the more Mexican students know about their natural environment, the more aware they are about the seriousness of the environmental challenges which humans are causing to Earth. There is a direct correlation between the education of our citizens on environmental matters, and their awareness and understanding about the environmental component of sustainable development.

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Money buys bigger spaces at private schools in Cancun. Equality of opportunity in México need begin with schooling.

That said, today in México we have increasingly more students who have classes in which they are taught ecological matters and where they also learn about the environment. In our own personal experiences, the goal of these classes generally seems to be to make students understand ecological systems, their elements and the environment as an entity. Basically, students are taught about Earth’s natural environment in the same way they also learn about chemistry or math. The environment is seen as one of very many subjects to study in school. Yet this approach is unreal, for Earth’s ecological systems are not simply a conceptual singularity but an interconnected reality in which we humans are only one part.

We see a goal of sustainability education in México to be to make our fellow Mexican citizens clearly aware that they are not separate from their natural environment, but that they are only one of many elements to make up that same environment and its ecosystems. Sustainability education in México would also teach Mexicans that sustainable development is not only about the environment, but a holistic concept, approach and practice related to the social, economic and environmental interconnexions of human societies and Earth’s natural environment.

We encourage our government to have SEP (Secretaría de Educación Pública) redesign the national education system so that México is one of the first countries on Earth to produce a generation of people educated, trained and prepared as sustainability thinkers.

We see it essential that our governments create environmental education programmes related to recycling, reforestation, water conservation, concern and care for wild and domestic animals, pollution control measures for vehicles, and so much more. Yet it is equally important that our governments educate Mexicans in social sustainability, including but not limited to those matters we addressed above in what it takes for México to build a sustainably strong society, as well as in matters related to economic sustainability (some of which we suggest below).

How the people of a society come to see themselves arises from how a society educates its population. President Calderón understands this, for he has recently said:

“...el éxito o el fracaso de las naciones en este tipo de acciones, no será determinado por el volumen de las reservas petroleras que se tengan, ni por el tamaño de nuestros recursos naturales, tampoco por la superficie de nuestro territorio o la producción que tenga nuestro país." [“The success or failure of a nation is not based on the volume of petroleum reserves it has, nor the amount of natural resources, nor even because of how much land the country has or how much the country produces."]

"En esta era de la información, de la sociedad del conocimiento el éxito o el fracaso de las naciones estará determinado por la educación, el tipo de educación y la calidad de la educación que reciban los jóvenes y los niños de nuestro país." ["In this age of information and of knowledge based societies, success or failure of nations is determined by education, the type of education, and the quality of education that our youth and children receive in our country.”][112]

In today’s knowledge-based, information-focussed, global economy we are certain that the way to educate young Mexican minds is to lead them to critically think about and analyse information, not to merely memorize it. And this includes educating young Mexican minds in critical thinking and analysis about issues in sustainable development.


11.5.2 A people who are “Sustainability Thinkers”.


When talking about sustainability, we are certain that Mexicans must learn to always think about our society as a collective whole.

We encourage two basic levels where our governments can focus their attentions toward creating a country of “sustainability thinkers”:
  1. Sustainability Thinkers at the level of household; and
  2. Sustainability Thinkers at the level of neighbourhood.


11.5.3 "Sustainability Thinkers" at the level of household.


Our fellow citizens need to be actively involved in sustainability actions. Our people first need to be taught simple ways to begin practicing sustainability thinking from their homes. Afterwards, they can then be taught increasingly more complex ways for practicing sustainability in their lives.

To be sustainability thinkers at the level of household, Mexican families need be taught:

1. How to recycle their trash, including separating it into inorganic and organic items:
  • a) Inorganic bin are items include: paper, cardboard, glass, aluminium cans and steel. These are materials that can be transformed to similar or other uses by specialised companies that buy the used product to then recycle it.
  • b) Organic items include food scraps that can be transformed in to compost soil or as fertilizer for plants.[113]

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Recycling depot in Cancun.

2. To plant at least one tree in the back yard of their homes and to even grow grass in their front and backyards, and to do this instead of spreading concrete:
  • a) People need to know that all plant life creates oxygen for human life and fresher air.
  • b) People also need to be educated that while concrete yards may be easier to care for, they divert rain run-off away from seeping in to the ground and underground water systems, which are essential to supporting human and plant life.

3. To check gas installations, including pipes, and to fix any leaks.
  • a) Aside from doing this for safety reasons, this also helps keep air cleaner and fresher by closing holes in pipes that leak gas.

4. Paint indoor walls with a clear colour and, instead of using indoor light, open house windows to benefit from natural sunlight:
  • a) Use of natural light over indoor light saves home electricity costs and cuts down on electricity production needs in our country.
  • b) Always turn off any electric appliances not in use.

5. The importance of water conservation. Water is the essential building block and supporter of life, yet as we earlier noted, it is increasingly becoming reduced in available supply while global demand increases. Some ways people can conserve water are:
  • a) Wash family vehicles with a pail not a hose, for pail washing reduces water use by 12 litres per minute over that of hose;
  • b) Water gardens first thing in the morning or after the sun goes down at night. The outdoor temperature is lower in mornings and evenings, so there is less water waste through evaporation;
  • c) When brushing teeth, simply fill a small glass half-full with water and use that to help you with your brushing;
  • d) When taking a shower, turn off the water while soaping up;
  • e) When turning on a hot water tap, the first part of the water is wasted because it is cold before the hot water arrives. Collect the cold water in a pail and then use the water for the toilet or sprinkle it on plants.[114]

6. When families go to the supermarket, they should be encouraged to:
  • a) Buy locally-produced food, so as to encourage Food Sustainability (food self-sufficiency) in Mexico.
  • b) Not buy more fresh food items than can be realistically eaten in one week, so as to not waste food by having to throw it way due to spoiling.
  • c) Avoid buying items with lots of packaging - like Tetra Packs (which are difficult to recycle) and bottles (as our country doesn’t yet have the recycling plants necessary to reuse these) - for such packaging most often just ends up in the garbage dump.

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Roadside garbage in the forgotten Cancun.

7. To be careful when using and throwing-away all substances and items that can contaminate our water supply, such as batteries, kitchen oil, car and truck oil, antifreeze, and dead animals. For:
  • a) Batteries, once used, can be taken to various local government programs for recycling.
  • b) Household oil and car oil and antifreeze must not be thrown into toilets or household pipes because it simply drains into and contaminates the water mantle or subterranean water supply. These products need be taken to recycling centres for proper disposal.
  • c) Dead animals can be disposed of at city animal disposal facilities. If sent to the garbage dump, their decomposing bodies can contaminate underground water systems.

8. The need to reduce energy use in our homes. To:
  • a) Turn off lamps and electronic devices when they are not needed or in use by any one person.
  • b) Not use too many electronic devices at once, so that our country can reduce overall electricity usage and production, and also so that our electricity supply does not have an unnecessary strain on it.


11.5.4 "Sustainability Thinkers" at the level of neighbourhood.


At the level of neighbourhood, our fellow Mexican citizens need to be taught ways they can engage in sustainability thinking, including their being taught to:

1. Organize themselves to clean the public spaces that they use, such as parks, rivers, beaches, mountains, etc.

2. Encourage and create more neighbourhood public “green spaces” for use by all people of their city, town or neighbourhood.

3. Encourage neighbourhood sustainability by advising neighbours of how they practice sustainable development in their own home and how these actions can be replicated by other people in their neighbourhood:
  • a) Invite neighbours to your home to socialise while also watching a movie with a sustainability theme (i.e. “An Inconvenient Truth”).

4. Buy and use trash cans to help dispose of garbage, so as to avoid animals (like cats and dogs) breaking into garbage bags and resulting in trash being spread across streets:
  • a) Neighbourhoods need to be taught that loose garbage can spread disease and cause illness.

5. Respect laws that forbid the improper disposal of garbage, including laws related to the illegality of burning garbage.
  • a) Whether you are a city, town or individual... DO NOT burn garbage. (In one of our Maya Riviera communities, we smell the smoke from the garbage that seems to be burnt nightly in our municipal dump.) Burning garbage pollutes the environment, contributes to global warming, and can cause asthma in humans by affecting the cleanness of your local air quality.

6. Participate in any neighbourhood councils / delegations created by local governments, such as the ones that exist in Cancun, which are offered as a means to motivate a local population to participate with the local government.
  • a) In our Cancun neighbourhoods, we elect a neighbourhood president to represent us to the Cancun government. Yet few people seem to participate in these councils, so the problem isn’t always that our government doesn’t want to engage us but that our citizens do not always want to participate in the opportunities presented to them.
  • b) Our governments need help create public education campaigns to help motivate, encourage and increase citizen participation in activities designed to inform our governments about citizens’ views and opinions.


11.6 Sustainable development solutions for México: Leading for Sustainability - Behaviour change by government.


11.6.1 Pride in Government.


We want to feel proud of our country, but our political leaders most often don’t make us feel proud to be Mexican. We don’t think that many Mexicans would disagree with our perception that:

“México doesn’t belong to us: México belongs to its politicians.”
We do congratulate President Felipe Calderon for cutting his salary and that of his cabinet by a full 10% in 2006: yet even still Mexican politicians are some of the highest paid on Earth.[115] This while they govern a country that regularly rates with high levels of poverty,[116][117] high levels of wealth inequality,[118] and consistently rates with high levels of corruption.[119]

Under the principles of sustainability as we understand them, we call on our politicians at all levels of government to cut their pay packages to then bring these more in line with the income levels earned by average Mexicans. Again, leading by example need start at the top with our politicians.

Instead of our country’s national income continuing, in noticeable degree, to help enrich the lives of a very few politically-entrenched and business-connected families, we are certain more of our Republic’s national income would be better spent on things like:
  • helping the poorest of our citizens;
  • expanding education services across our Republic;
  • ensuring that all Mexican families are enrolled in and have access to IMSS healthcare;
  • bettering our natural environment;
  • genuine economic diversification;
  • helping Mexico’s many different indigenous peoples’ protect and expand their culture and language;
  • and so very many other possibilities and national necessities.


11.6.2 Government example in Sustainability.


We think it essential that our government set the public example and take the public lead in sustainability approaches and styles by legislating sustainability practices at all levels of government in our Republic. Mexican federal, state and local governments can be public examples in sustainability through simple actions such as their:
  • Adopting and applying the 20 essential elements we have identified as being required for Building a sustainably strong society.
  • Ensuring recycling by all government operations at all levels.
  • Buying only low-emission cars and trucks for national, state and local government vehicle fleets.
  • Using only clean energy in all government operations.

Such efforts by our governments in implementing sustainability practices can and should be extended to all government-supported departments and operations. This would include extra-government organisations like SEP-run schools, public universities, government agencies like FONATUR, and government business enterprises like PEMEX.

We also think our governments would be wise to take the lead and quickly establish regional sustainability businesses across the country (whether as Public-Private Partnerships (P3s) or as a government-run business operations), whose focus would be to collect and sell all recyclable materials collected from us Mexicans in our neighbourhoods.[120] It seems ridiculous to us that in so many cities and towns of México, where people separate trash in to organic and inorganic components, that these very separated elements most often end up in the same trash dump for they have no where to be redirected for recycling. Certainly more Mexicans will be inclined and encouraged to recycle if they knew the process of separating trash in to organic and inorganic parts is not simply done for show.

Extensive anecdotal evidence exists that recycling and related sustainability practices are not a true cost to government or businesses or industry, for they actually open up many unexpected income generation possibilities. (See the references below for the international, science-based, The Natural Step programme for examples of such evidence.)[121]

We encourage our governments to begin looking at sustainability and recycling programmes for the modern business opportunity that they are at their core. If Europeans and increasingly the Americans can look at sustainability with these different and expanded eyes of opportunity, so too can Mexicans. México can even strive to be a global leader in this new and growing field of sustainability business opportunity.


11.7 Sustainable development solutions for México: Economic Sustainability.


11.7.1 Refocus our economy as factor of the environment.


This point simply serves to re-iterate a common theme emphasised throughout this book. It is clear through the work of the hard sciences like physics, biology and climate scientists – but still often unclear to many economists - that humans must learn again to see themselves as part of the environment and not separate from it. This includes our governments, and through our governments the rest of our Mexican society, to again see the economy as part of and not external to nature. Our governments publicly speaking to this reality and again setting the public example in this direction would be a fine first place to start.

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One with the environment: Exconvento in Oxolotan, Tabasco.

11.7.2 Stop the “Brain Drain” of Mexicans.


An economically sustainable México would find ways to stop the current brain drain from our country: that being, the loss of so many of our talented compatriots who leave México to mostly go to the USA for better employment opportunities. This lost human capital is a significant loss to our country, for the contributions of these Mexicans then goes toward the success of a foreign country instead of benefiting their own home society.

One of the reasons the USA is known for business success is that it purposefully strives to attract the brightest minds on Earth to its country. These foreign minds are welcomed throughout the USA, in their universities, research organisations, businesses, and industries. These great minds from other countries then put their collective minds to work in helping the USA excel and succeed. The USA sees that more bright minds help make for a more successful economy and country.

USA-born and now Canadian-based Social Science Professor Richard Florida has become internationally-famous for his research showing a direct correlation between a community having a strong “Creative Class” (Thinkforce) and it then also experiencing stronger economic development. Simply stated, the more thinkers or creative minds who live and work in a community, the economically stronger is that same community.[122] And it is a short leap to then expand the notion of community to include a national community: that the more thinkers or creative minds living and working in a country, the greater is the economic potential of that same country. But we do speak to this in more detail in the next section.

This loss of people from our country should not be seen as a positive to Mexico simply for the small benefit of the foreign remittances that later flow back to our country. This unfortunate exodus of our people should be seen as the net outflow - a net loss - of human potential from Mexico that it is in reality.

The Migration Policy Institute records that from 1986 to 2006, there were approximately 4,620,118 Mexicans who legally migrated to the USA alone.[123] In addition to these legal Mexican migrants, the United States government estimates that, in 2005, there were 6,216,000 illegal Mexican immigrants living in their country.[124] These numbers alone add up to 10,836,118 Mexicans, or approximately 10.14% of México’ current population of 109,955,400 people, who are now living in the USA.[125]

This is a loss of our compatriots that we think all Mexicans should be saddened by; not proud of. To us, this drain of Mexican human potential represents a lack of leadership in México. It publicly demonstrates México’s inability to solve our own internal problems over this being any representation of the success of the USA societal model.

This then leads to another sustainability-related reason why México should be concerned about this outflow of such valuable human capital and potential from our Republic: International perceptions. México should be concerned that we can be accused by other countries of trying to solve our country’s own (un)sustainability problems by off-loading them - in the form of exporting our human capital - to another countries.

To be seen as a sustainable society, Mexico neither wants to lose its best and brightest people to other countries, nor do we want to be accused of being globally irresponsible off-loaders of our (un)sustainability problems.

By our country’s leaders finding creative and positive ways to stop our brain drain, Mexico ensures that it positively responds to both potential concerns.


11.7.3 Economic diversification into future-oriented technologies.


11.7.3.1 México: forward thinking, not backward looking.

We do not see the economic future of successful countries in this new Millennium being in outdated, generally non-renewable technologies from an old industrial area: old technologies centred on extracting Earth’s resources at (un)sustainable rates and then re-processing these same resources in to products made at pollution-spewing factories and plants.

“We are certain that economically successful countries of this new Millennium will be those that look to the future.”
These modernly successful countries will be those that see Earth’s human societies moving in to sustainable activities and products, and which then willingly move their own countries in those same new directions.

“We want México to be a country that is forward thinking, not backward looking.”

In our modern world, successful economies are those that tie into the knowledge-based, information-focussed, global economy. We earlier noted the vision that our current President Felipe Calderon has in this same direction. Yet unfortunately, México ranks last in the OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) in its “Thinkforce”; that is, in the number of researchers our country has per thousand of fulltime employees.[126]

We think it essential that our federal and state governments actively support Mexican-based research and development in the field of sustainability. México has the potential to leap over the stage of western-style industrialisation - a type of development which has also resulted in extensive global pollution and environmental degradation - to then move right in to the future-oriented, knowledge-based, information-focussed economy that current industrialised countries are themselves purposely striving to move in to.

Support in Sustainability R&D by México’s national and state levels of government would help foster Mexican leadership on the global stage in this growing and increasingly important area.


11.7.3.2 México: A future leader in alternative energy.

Specifically in this regard, we call on our national and state governments to promote and support Sustainability R&D (research and development) in alternative energy sources. With the strong winds that our country experiences blowing off of any of the coasts of Baja California and the rest of our Pacific Ocean coast, the Gulf of Mexico or even the Caribbean, México can be a serious global leader in wind technology. In the south, Quintana Roo, Yucatan and Oaxaca States additionally seem ripe in opportunities for real Mexican leadership in solar power generation.

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Wind generation power is a real sustainable, economic, opportunity for México. Wind blown palm trees on the Gulf of México coast, Tabasco.

México’s national government need consider investing upwards of 10% of all the national petroleum income it receives from PEMEX in to alternative energy research and development. This could be directed in to Sustainability R&D in any of:
  • Sun: Thermal heat, solar heat.
  • Water: hydro electric, wave action, thermal.
  • Wind power: wind turbine.
  • Geothermal energy.

By our national government actively engaging in Sustainability R&D, particularly in alternative energy, México will be closer to having its own alternative energy resources available and on-line by the time our non-renewable petroleum resources are gone. Yes... gone. For few Mexicans seem aware that our country’s oil supplies, whether located in the Cantarell oilfield in the Gulf of Mexico or elsewhere in our country, are running out. Oil production in México has declined “...a total of 10% since its peak in 2004”, resulting in our country actually having to now import petroleum in addition to our being a “net importer of natural gas”.[127]

What this means for Mexico is that, at current rates of consumption, all of our country’s existing reserves of oil are set to be depleted in only 9.2 years time.[128]

This situation poses a grave energy danger for Mexico, in addition to the national revenue concerns we discuss below. Our country urgently needs our governments to pursue alternative energy solutions... now.


11.7.4 Economic diversification away from (un)sustainable economic mix of activities.


A very important point for the sustainable growth of Mexico is for our country to diversify our economy away from our country’s primary and (un)sustainable reliance on non-renewable petroleum resources, foreign remittances from Mexican nationals living abroad, and foreign tourism.[129] This current economic mix of Mexico’s makes for a basket of (un)sustainable national economic activities.

While the maquiladoras in our country can also be argued as being (un)sustainable, for they primarily assemble products destined for the USA market and so then become dependent on the health of the USA economy, we leave that discussion to the appropriate experts in that specific subject.


11.7.4.1 (un)sustainable revenue mix: oil.

We again return to the matter of México and oil. Over this past century, México has been heavily reliant on the non-renewable and declining resource of petroleum. So much so that, today, about 40% of the entire budget of our Mexican national government comes from PEMEX and oil.[130] This (un)sustainable Mexican reliance on oil resource revenue concerns us for this primary reason: it makes for an uncertain economic future for México. As the OECD advises, México’s government’s “heavy reliance... on oil revenue” helps create a “volatile and uncertain” situation for the public finances of our country.[131]

Not only is México facing an uncertain energy future with our country’s oil running out. Our Republic also faces a disconcerting financial future when we have nothing yet available to replace the large share of our national revenue which is derived from oil. A 40% drop in México’s national revenue from an equivalent drop in México’s oil revenue is a recipe for social chaos in any country.

This is a very serious matter. The people of our great land must be made aware of this coming financial reality and its possible consequences to our Republic. Both alternative energy and alternative national revenue solutions need begin to be developed today in México, so our country is not caught off guard 10-years-from tomorrow when our oil resources and its related revenue are currently set to expire.


11.7.4.2 (un)sustainable revenue mix: foreign remittances

While our receiving remittances from Mexicans living abroad in foreign countries - mostly from Mexicans living in the USA - seemingly makes for an easy income stream for our country, it does little to put México on the path of economic sustainability. Particularly when the remittance income of foreign-based Mexican nationals itself depends on the virtual strength of the foreign economy they are a part of.

As the respected The Economist international business magazine has noted, when the USA is in a recession (as it is now said to be in) México can expect a drop in remittance income due to the weakness of that foreign economy.[132] This situation then results in a related drop in México’s own totals of national revenue.

Sustainability thinking would have México actively exploring alternative revenue streams to foreign remittances: alternatives which are based on México’s own internal strength over that of any foreign economy.


11.7.4.3 (un)sustainable revenue mix: tourism.

Tourism itself is also an industry which depends on the economies of foreign countries being strong. It is an industry where foreigners and their foreign-domestically-earned currency can choose to redirect their income abroad through travel choices to non-domestic locations.

In México, we have historically received mostly Americans bringing their USA-earned dollars to spend in our country. Thus, a recession in the USA - or in Canada or Europe, the other two regions of Earth that are the main contributors of tourists to our country - also then means diminished tourist revenue for México. The Economist says fewer tourists can be expected to visit México when the USA is in recession; such as that country is now said to be in.[133] Thus fewer foreign, mostly fewer American, tourists to México means another negative hit to our Republic’s national revenue stream.

As the United Nations notes, and which applies to both México and Cancun:

“Over-reliance on tourism, especially mass tourism, carries significant risks to tourism-dependent economies. Economic recession and the impacts of natural disasters… can have a devastating effect on the local tourism sector….."[134]

Sustainability thinking would then also have México seeking alternative revenue streams to tourism, for tourism too is an economic generator (un)sustainably dependent on the strength of foreign economies.


11.7.4.4 A sustainable revenue mix: generally speaking.

We see a sustainable country being one that remains an integral and dynamic part of the global economy. At the same time, a sustainable country is one that has a national economy that is not strongly dependent on any one particular sector of its economy for its total revenue nor is it a country that is strongly dependent on foreign economies for the strength of its own national economy.

What a sustainable revenue mix would include for any country is some significant degree of economic activity in the knowledge-based, information-focussed, economy in to which Earth’s current dominant economies have been actively moving. This includes national and state government investments in Sustainability R&D, required to help a country move in to and become a leader in new sustainability technologies and processes.

To put it simply: for México to be a sustainable country, we think our Republic first needs to be strong in and of it self, so that our country can then eventually be strong - and even be a leader - in the global marketplace.


11.7.5 "Sustainability Strategies" required of governments and businesses: End "Greenwashing".


Greenwashing is a phrase to refer to companies that call themselves sustainable even when their activities are not; thereby they falsely claim to be in public what they are not in reality. This practice must be discouraged in México, particularly when greenwashing seems rampant. Here in the Riviera Maya, one can find so-called Eco-Real Estate, Eco-Tortillería, , Eco-Property Development, Eco-Laundromat and even Eco-Mechanic businesses.

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Eco-everything in the Riviera Maya.


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Greenwashing??? ...in Cancun.

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A green wash: Laundromat in Playa del Carmen.

Sustainability Strategies are a tool used to help businesses, industry, governments and NGOs to practice sustainable development in both their private realities and public lives. They also help these same entities to avoid being accused of merely greenwashing.

Sustainability Strategies are the implementation of Agenda 21 sustainable development approaches and practices at any local level. Often, they are referred to as Local Agenda 21s or LA21s when applied at the level of local community or local government. They are a very modern tool for incorporating the sustainable development Triple-Bottom-Line throughout all levels of operations. These strategies follow a structure similar to traditional business plans, with their primary difference being on what they focus on and in on who is involved in their development.

The “what” Sustainability Strategies focus on and require is for governments (national, state or local), industry and business to change their operational priority from one centred mostly on economic profit to one re-focused on planning for the Triple-Bottom-Line (that is, balancing each of the social, economic and environmental aspects of sustainable development). For NGO’s, the difference is that they need to include a greater focus on economic sustainability over a usual focus on social sustainability. "Who" is involved in the development of these plans are any people (stakeholders) who have an interest in the work of the government, business, industry or NGO.

LA21s and Sustainability Strategies are being increasingly used by businesses and governments around Earth, particularly those in Europe. The ICLEI (International Council of Local Environmental Initiatives), which has a national office in México, “…estimates that more than three thousand local communities worldwide are now implementing Local Agendas 21.”[135]

England has become a recognised global leader in sustainability planning at local levels through the LA21 / Sustainability Strategy approach being required at every level of local government in that country.[136] The ICLEI offers a respected international programme designed to encourage local governments in the development of LA21s and Sustainability Strategies for their communities.[137] As already noted in our section on “Refocus our economy as factor of the environment”, there are also many international businesses that have already learned the value of the sustainable development Triple-Bottom-Line and which are also making money through its practice.

To ensure that Mexican governments, businesses and industries are engaged in actual sustainable development practices over greenwashing, we strongly recommend that our national and state governments explore laws, regulations and financial incentives designed to require the development of Sustainability Strategies and LA21s throughout our country. The focus of such laws would be to ensure that Sustainability Strategies and LA21s are implemented at all levels and in all sectors of México.

Businesses and industries that choose to remain rooted in past (un)sustainable patterns of behaviour by not implementing a Sustainability Strategy approach could face fines and other penalties from our governments. Reductions in federal cash transfers to municipalities could be a consequence for those communities that choose to continue with their own (un)sustainable practices and not develop an LA21. Monies collected from such fines or reductions in cash transfers could go to offset the societal costs which arise from these businesses’, industries’ and communities’ (un)sustainable activities.

México’s national government could consider creating an (Un)sustainability Tax to be placed on those enterprises and municipalities that choose to not develop and adhere to a Sustainability Strategy / LA21. Money collected from an (Un)sustainability Tax could then be directly used for environmental regeneration or clean-up purposes, as well as for social and economic programmes tied in a government’s sustainable development plan.

If industry and business - and even individual humans - will not willingly shift their operations and patterns of behaviour to ones that are sustainable for Earth and the planet’s humans, then governments need consider applying regulatory and tax pressure to force changes in these same operations and patterns of behaviour. This reality is increasingly becoming understood by governments around the world. A very recent case in point is the February 2008 decision of the Province of British Columbia in Canada to become the first jurisdiction in North America to introduce a carbon tax on all fossil fuels.[138]

While a symbiotic and balanced relationship between government, business and industry is always desirable, such a constructive relationship is not always possible without initial and strong encouragement - even regulatory force - from government.


11.7.6 Food Sustainability.


As we have been writing this book, another serious sustainability concern has unexpectedly arisen for humans on Earth. “For the first time in recent memory, there were food riots... in a host of countries, ranging from Austria and Hungary to Mexico, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Morocco, Yemen, Mauritania, Senegal and Uzbekistan.”[139]

Commodity prices have been increasing in global marketplaces. This has resulted in those countries which have become reliant on imported food products acquired under international managed-trade agreements (products paid for at foreign exchange rates), to now be experiencing rising food costs. These countries with some level of food-dependency (over food independence) have seen some of their people rise up in protest at the rising food prices.[140] To give an idea at how much food prices have risen in the past year, The Economists’ “...food-price index is higher today than at any time since it was created in 1845” and this respected newspaper suggests that higher food prices are “likely to persist for years”.[141]

The Secretary-General of the United Nations, Mr. Ban Ki-moon, has declared a “food crisis” on Earth and even identified “...that escalating energy prices, lack of investment in agriculture, increasing demand, trade distortion subsidies and recurrent bad weather are among the reasons for the surge in prices.”[142]

The matter of food sustainability (food self-sufficiency) is suddenly and unexpectedly at the forefront of Earth’s humans.

México is a country with many natural privileges. We have vast resources, as well as much land on which food can be grown to support our citizens and for export purposes. Ours is a country with more sustainable options than are available to many other countries on Earth.

Watermelon_truck_in_Cancun.jpg
Watermelon truck in Cancun.

In our view, for any country to be sustainable would directly imply food-sufficiency (food independence) at the local, regional and national levels, including within the tourism markets so important to our country. We think that sustainable economic diversification for México would encourage the creation of Greenbelts, continue to encourage support of family and larger agricultural production at local levels, and require the development and expansion of agricultural activities around tourist resorts in our country.


11.7.6.1 Greenbelts.

Greenbelts is a term used to refer to any area of undeveloped or agricultural natural land that has been set aside near urban or developed land to provide open space, offer recreational opportunities, support agriculture activities, protect historic towns, or restrict urban growth.[143]

London, England has had a greenbelt since 1938 and these have existed throughout England as a whole since 1955, to the point that they now cover approximately 13% of that country.[144] The Province of British Columbia; Canada has had greenbelts since 1973 through their creation of the Agriculture Land Reserve, which “…is a provincial zone in which agriculture is recognized as the priority use. Farming is encouraged and non-agricultural uses are controlled.”[145]

Urban greenbelts exist in many other locations throughout Earth, including a prominent one located in Portland, Oregon, USA, and other urban greenbelts found in Ottawa, Canada, and San Francisco, California, USA. Natural greenbelts are found in many locations including India, Malaysia, Canada and Sri Lanka.[146] A new urban greenbelt focused on strong agricultural land protection was recently created in Toronto, Canada.[147]

We strongly encourage our federal and state governments to use the Greenbelt tool as a means to help our country achieve national and local food sustainability. Greenbelts can be established around major cities in Mexico, including Cancun, and would be identified areas in which land would be specifically and legally set aside by governments so as to help these cities develop local food production and local food sustainability. Local food production can be achieved through use of the local soil itself or (as would be required in Cancun) through establishing local greenhouse food production.


11.7.6.2 Traditional Agriculture, Regional Production, and Greenhouse Farming.

With the abundance of sunshine in Mexico’s south, greenhouse production should be encouraged, including in areas such as Cancun where the local soil is not conducive to serious agricultural activities. Areas in México interested in greenhouse food production could emulate and use as a model the impressive Hidraponica Maya greenhouse facilities located in Felipe Carrillo Puerto, Quintana Roo.

Throughout México, whether in or outside or tourist zones, local farmers and their families can continue to be employed to help grow food stuffs and provide local, even organic, food choices for local peoples and even for hotel menus. Greenhouse food production in the Riviera Maya can provide fresh vegetables for both local peoples and the hotel industry, while our local soil can be better used to produce locally-grown fruit and produce such as radishes, mango, pitaya and chaya. Elsewhere in México, local food production can support food sustainability through the growing of local fruits and vegetables indigenous to any given area.

Banana_Plantation_in_Tabasco.JPG
Banana plantation near Teapa, Tabasco.

All areas in México should be encouraged to support and encourage regional production (i.e. at the state-level or through a collection of states) in dairy, poultry, cattle and pork. National and state marketing boards in dairy, poultry and pork production (a model that exists in Canada), can also be considered a possible model for México.[148]


11.7.6.3 Food Sustainability: Final thoughts.

Also related to food sustainability, with México being rich in agricultural resources and human capital, we see no reason why - nor do we see any particular benefit to México’s economic sustainability when - foreign-owned hotels ship in food products from overseas. Particularly considering when so many food items can be directly sourced from within the Mexican Republic. If hoteliers and our politicians were more creative with and caring about the local community’s in which foreign-owned hotels are located, they would encourage food production around tourist resorts through use of proven traditional and also more modern farming methods such as the greenhouses.

Through encouraging local food production, not only is some degree of Mexican food sustainability (food-sufficiency or food independence) achieved, but more employment opportunities for local people are also created.

Food sustainability to us is a must for any country to be on the path to sustainable development. And we do seriously think foreign owned hotels must help contribute to Mexican and local food sustainability by their doing their best to source and buy food items produced in México.


11.8 Sustainable development solutions for Mexico: Environmental Sustainability.


As we keep emphasising, México needs to take better care of its resources and environment, because these are important both to current generations of Mexicans and also to the well-being of future generations of our people.

Nature offers many benefits that cannot be taken for granted by our country’s people. For example, mangrove swamps offer natural coastal buffer protection against hurricanes, help clean the water around them, and also provide a natural protective habitat for fish fry where they can live in safety until they reach maturity and can head out to sea.

Yet in contravention of Mexico’s Ley General de Vida Silvestre that restricts such practices, in Mexico’s Riviera Maya we see with our own eyes how mangrove swamps are being uprooted at an alarming rate for tourist, housing and other developments.[149] Destroying mangroves poses dangers to our region’s coastline during hurricanes, and threatens both water quality and local fish species. During and after a hurricane, our country and its people literally pay in pesos -and also potentially pay through lost human lives - from the consequences of these mangrove lands being destroyed.

Mangroves_being_bulldozed_in_Cancun_-_May_2008.jpg
Mangroves being bulldozed in Cancun: May 2008

Cancun_housing_and_far_distant_new_condo_towers_all_built_on_top_of_mangrove_lands.jpg
Cancun housing and far distant new condo towers, all built on top of mangrove lands.

Destroyed_Mangroves_-_May_2008.jpg
Destroyed Mangroves in Cancun: May 2008

México is one of the most biodiverse countries on Earth yet, as we outlined in our section on Biodiversity Loss, we Mexicans cannot take our country’s natural wealth for granted. Our country has already documented the loss of many species indigenous to México and these species losses will continue if we Mexicans do not begin to seriously care for the health of our Earthly home. Mexicans urgently need to learn to respect their natural environment, care for it, protect it, and even allow it to grow in size and scale.

México has on paper some of the finest, even strongest, environmental laws of any country on Earth. So all we really want to say in relation to the environmental aspect of sustainable development and México is:

"We ask only that México’s governments enforce México’s environmental laws."
Laws on paper look nice, but they mean absolutely nothing if not enforced. By enforcing our country’s laws, Mexican politicians will help make México a global example for environmental protection and sustainable development.




[78] OECD - Organisation for Economic Development and Cooperation. (2007a). Economic Survey of Mexico, 2007 [online]. Available from: http://www.oecd.org/dataoecd/19/24/39425922.pdf (Page 1). [Accessed: 04 May 2008].
[79] UNFPA - United Nations Population Fund. (2002). Macroeconomics, Poverty, Population and Development [online]. Available from: http://www.unfpa.org/swp/2002/english/ch3/index.htm . [Accessed: 10 May 2008].
[80] Presidencia de la República, Estados Unidos Mexicanos. (2001b). Plan Nacional de Desarrollo 2001-2006: La transición demográfica - Transición demográfica y uso de los recursos naturales [online]. Available from: http://pnd.fox.presidencia.gob.mx/index.php?idseccion=23 [Accessed: 15 April 2008].
[81] Camara de Diputados del H. Congresso de la Union, Estados Unidos Mexicanos. (1974). Ley General de Población: Ultima Reforma DOF 04-01-1999 [online]. Available from: http://www.diputados.gob.mx/LeyesBiblio/pdf/140.pdf . [Accessed: 22 April 2008].
[82] CONAPO - Consejo Nacional de Población. (1997). La situación demográfica de México, 1997. Planificación familiar: Conocimiento de métodos anticonceptivos [online]. Available from: http://www.conapo.gob.mx/publicaciones/1997/pdf/09.pdf (page 84). [Accessed: 22 April 2008].
[83] CONAPO - Consejo Nacional de Población. (2000). Cuadernos de salud reproductiva: Republica Mexicana - Número ideal de hijos e hijas [online]. Available from: http://www.conapo.gob.mx/publicaciones/CuaSalud/pdf/1Republica.pdf (page 34). [Accessed: 22 April 08].
AND
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[84] CONAPO - Consejo Nacional de Población. (2000). Cuadernos de salud reproductiva: Republica Mexicana – Diferencias socioeconómicas de la fecundidad [online]. Available from: http://www.conapo.gob.mx/publicaciones/CuaSalud/pdf/1Republica.pdf (pages 18 & 23). [Accessed: 22 April 08].
[85] msn - encarta. (2008). China - Encyclopedia Article [online]. Available from: http://encarta.msn.com/encyclopedia_761573055_22/China.html#p360 . [Accessed 25 April 2008].
[86] Chapman, Audrey R. (1996). “Reintegrating Rights and Responsibilities: Toward a New Human Rights Paradigm”. In International Rights and Responsibilities for the Future [online]. Ed. by Hunter, Kenneth W. and Mack, Timothy C. Available from: http://tinyurl.com/4otzfu (Page 3). [Accessed: 03 May 2008].
[87] ibid. (page 15).
[88] Camara de Diputados del H. Congresso de la Union, Estados Unidos Mexicanos. (1999). Ley General de Población: Ultima Reforma DOF 04-01-1999 [online]. Available from: http://www.diputados.gob.mx/LeyesBiblio/pdf/140.pdf . [Accessed: 22 April 2008].
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[89] Mercer. (2007a). 2007 World-wide quality of living survey [online]. Available from: http://www.mercer.com/referencecontent.jhtml?idContent=1173105 . [Accessed: 08 May 2008].
[90] ibid.
[91] Mercer. (2007b). Highlights from the 2007 Quality of Living Survey [online]. Available from: http://www.mercer.com/referencecontent.jhtml?idContent=1128060#what . [Accessed: 08 May 2008].
[92] ibid.
[93] ibid.
[94] The Economist. (2008). Liveability ranking: urban idylls. The Economist.com, April 28, 2008 [online]. Available from: http://www2.economist.com/markets/rankings/displaystory.cfm?story_id=11116839 . [Accessed: 08 May 2008].
[95] The Economist. (2007c). Liveability rankings: sweet spots. The Economist.com, November 28, 2007 [online]. Available from: http://www2.economist.com/markets/rankings/displaystory.cfm?story_id=9706431 . [Accessed: 08 May 2008].
[96] David Suzuki Foundation. (2007). Temperate Rainforests [online]. Available from: http://www.davidsuzuki.org/Forests/Forests_101/temperate_forests.asp . [Accessed: 09 May 2008].
[97] City of Vancouver. (2007). Building a Better City [online]. Available from: http://vancouver.ca/sustainability/building.htm . [Accessed: 08 May 2008].
[98] Microsoft. (2007). Microsoft Expanding Canadian Operations In Greater Vancouver Area [online]. Available from:
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[99] Mckinley, James C. Jr. (2007). Mexico City takes to the skating rink. International Herald Tribune - iht.com, December 11, 2007 [online]. Available from: http://www.iht.com/articles/2007/12/11/news/journal.php . [Accessed: 08 May 2008].
[100] Noguez, Alejandra. (2008). México: indígenas que emigran [online]. BBC MUNDO.com, 29 marzo de 2008. As available from: http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/spanish/misc/newsid_7320000/7320099.stm . [Accessed: 23 April 2008].
AND
Brownback, Sam. (2008). Lenguas nativas en peligro de extincion: México pierde sus dialectos indígenas. UNIVISION.com [online]. As available from: http://www.univision.com/content/content.jhtml?cid=606820 . [Accessed: 23 April 2008].
[101] UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs: Division for Sustainable Development. (1992). Agenda 21: Chapter 26 – Recognizing and Strengthening the Role of Indigenous People and Their Communities [online]. Available from: http://www.un.org/esa/sustdev/documents/agenda21/english/agenda21chapter26.htm [Accessed: 10 March 2008].
[102] Camara de Diputados del H. Congresso de la Union, Estados Unidos Mexicanos. (2003). Ley General de Derechos Lingüísticos de los Pueblos Indìgenas: Nueva Ley DOF 13-03-2003 [online]. Available from: http://www.diputados.gob.mx/LeyesBiblio/pdf/257.pdf . [Accessed: 10 May 2008].
[103] Camara de Diputados del H. Congresso de la Union, Estados Unidos Mexicanos. (1995). Ley del Seguro Social: Ultima Reforma DOF 11-08-2006 [online]. Available from: http://www.diputados.gob.mx/LeyesBiblio/pdf/92.pdf . [Accessed: 07 May 2008].
[104] OECD - Organisation for Economic Development and Cooperation. (2007a). Economic Survey of Mexico, 2007 [online]. OECD - Organisation for Economic Development and Cooperation. Available from: http://www.oecd.org/dataoecd/19/24/39425922.pdf (Page 11). [Accessed: 05 May 2008].
[105] You are invited to read more about this dynamic through a United Nations website:
UNEP - United Nations Economic Programme: Production and Consumption Branch - Tourism. (2001b). Economic Impacts of Tourism [online]. Available from: http://www.uneptie.org/pc/tourism/sust-tourism/economic.htm . [Accessed: 21 April 2008].
[106] EcoPlan. (2001). Author’s Corner: Jane Jacobs [online]. . Available from: http://www.ecoplan.org/carfreeday/EarthCFD/partners/writer-jacobs.htm [Accessed: 24 March 2008].
[107] Daniels, Cora (2004). Create IKEA, Make Billions, Take Bus [online]. Fortune Magazine, May 3, 2004. Available from: http://money.cnn.com/magazines/fortune/fortune_archive/2004/05/03/368549/index.htm . [Accessed: 05 May 2008].
[108] Transport for London. (no date). Homepage [online]. Available from: http://www.tfl.gov.uk/ . [Accessed: 05 May 2008].
AND
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AND
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[110] UNESCO - United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. (no date). UNESCO - United Nations Decade of Education for Sustainable Development Homepage [online]. Available from: http://portal.unesco.org/education/en/ev.php-URL_ID=27234&URL_DO=DO_TOPIC&URL_SECTION=201.html [Accessed 08 April 2008].
[111] OECD - Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. (2007b). PISA 2006: Science Competencies for Tomorrow’s World - Briefing Note for Mexico [online]. Available from: http://www.oecd.org/dataoecd/16/21/39723468.pdf (page 4). [Accessed: 09 April 2008].
[112] EL UNIVERSAL. (2007). Necesaria reforma educativa: Calderon. EL UNIVERSAL.com.mx, 28 de mayo de 2007 [online]. Available from: http://www.eluniversal.com.mx/notas/427791.html . [Accessed: 22 April 2008].
[113] NC Noticias Cancún. (2007). Se inaguró otro punto limpio para la recolección de plástico y pilas, Rescatando Cancún. NC Noticias Cancún, 11 de junio 2007 [online]. Available from: http://www.noticiascancun.com/nota.asp?nota=1663. [Accessed: 07 April 2008].
AND
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[114] Vinculando.org. (2004). Tips faciles y divertidos para cuidar y ahorrar agua, Revista electrónica latinoamericana en Desarrollo Sustentable. Vinculando.org - Revista electronica latinoamericana en Desarrollo Sustentable, Wednesday June 30rd 2004 [online]. México. Available from: http://vinculando.org/ecologia/ahorrar_agua.html. [Accessed: 07 April 2008].
AND
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[115] Grillo, Joan (2006). Mexico’s New President Cuts Own Salary. The Associated Press, as printed in Washingtonpost.com, December 3, 2006 [online]. Available from: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/12/03/AR2006120301060.html (Accessed: 24 March 2008).
[116] The World Bank. (2005). Mexico: Income Generation and Social Protection for the Poor [online]. Available from: http://tinyurl.com/5c9arp (Accessed: 24 March 2008).
[117] The World Bank. (2004). Poverty in Mexico: an assessment of conditions, trends, and Government strategy [online]. Available from: http://tinyurl.com/5jbwqb (Accessed: 24 March 2008).
[118] OECD - Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. (2008). SouceOECD Statistics [online]. Available from: http://lysander.sourceoecd.org/vl=2046129/cl=14/nw=1/rpsv/statistic/s36_about.htm?jnlissn=99991004 (Accessed: 24 March 2008).
[119] Transparency International. (2007). Corruption Perceptions Index 2007 [online]. Available from: http://www.transparency.org/policy_research/surveys_indices/cpi/2007 (Accessed: 24 March 2008).
[120] For more information on public-private partnerships (P3s), you can see:
Partnerships British Columbia. (2003). An Introduction to Public Private Partnerships [online]. Available from: http://www.partnershipsbc.ca/pdf/An%20Introduction%20to%20P3%20-June03.pdf . [Accessed: 09 May 2008].
[121] Nattrass, Brian and Altomare, Mary, 1999. The Natural Step for Business: Wealth, Ecology and the Evolutionary Corporation. New Society Publishers: Gabriola Island, Canada.
AND
The Natural Step. (2003). The Natural Step International Gateway [online]. Available from: http://www.naturalstep.com/com/nyStart/ . [Accessed: 28 April 2008].
[122] Creative Class Group. (2008). Homepage [online]. Available from: http://creativeclass.com/ . [Accessed: 29 April 2008].
AND
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[123] Migration Policy Institute. (2008). MPI Data Hub: Country and Comparative Data - United States: Top ten sending countries, by birth, 1986 to 2006 [online]. Available from: http://www.migrationinformation.org/datahub/countrydata/data.cfm . [Accessed: 03 May 2008].
[124] Pew Hispanic Center. (no date A). U.S. Immigration Statistics - Origin of Illegal Immigrants 1980-2005. CNN.com [online]. Available from: http://edition.cnn.com/interactive/us/0603/charts.immigration/frameset.exclude.html [Accessed: 03 May 2008].
AND
Pew Hispanic Center. (no date B). U.S. Immigration Statistics - Estimated number of illegal immigrants in the U.S 1980-2005. CNN.com. Available from: http://edition.cnn.com/interactive/us/0603/charts.immigration/frameset.exclude.html . [Accessed: 03 May 2008].
[125] Central Intelligence Agency. (2008). The World Fact Book: Mexico [online]. Available from: https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/mx.html . [Accessed: 03 May 2008].
[126] OECD – Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. (2007c). OECD in Figures [online]. Available from: www.oecd.org/infigures OR http://caliban.sourceoecd.org/pdf/figures_2007/en/oif.pdf (Page 85). [Accessed: 28 April 2008].
[127] ibid.
[128] The Economist. (2007a). Running just to stand still. The Economist.com, December 19, 2007 [online]. Available from: http://www.economist.com/displayStory.cfm?story_id=10328190 . [Accessed: 04 May 2008].
AND
Smith, Geri. (2008). Mexico´s Oil Dilemma. BusinessWeek, April 28, 2008 [online]. Available from: http://www.businessweek.com/bwdaily/dnflash/content/apr2008/db20080427_752673.htm [Accessed: 28 April 2008].
[129] Fact Monster: The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia 6th Edition. (2007). Mexico: Economy [online]. Columbia University Press. Available from: http://www.factmonster.com/ce6/world/A0859607.html . [Accessed: 04 May 2008].
[130] The Economist. (2008c). Blocked in Mexico: Proposals to reform Mexico’s oil industry are stalled. The Economist.com, May 7, 2008 [online]. Available from: http://www.economist.com/daily/news/displaystory.cfm?story_id=11325013 . [Accessed: 08 May 2008].
[131] OECD - Organisation for Economic Development and Cooperation. (2007a). Economic Survey of Mexico, 2007 [online]. Available from: http://www.oecd.org/dataoecd/19/24/39425922.pdf (Page 3). [Accessed: 04 May 2008].
[132] The Economist. (2008b). A coming test of virtue. The Economist.com, April 10, 2008 [online]. Available from: http://www.economist.com/displayStory.cfm?story_id=11016383 . [Accessed: 04 May 2008].
[133] ibid.
[134] UNEP – United Nations Environmental Programme: Production and Consumption Branch- Tourism. (2001b). Economic Impacts Of Tourism [online]. Available from: http://www.uneptie.org/pc/tourism/sust-tourism/economic.htm [Accessed: 23 April 2008].
[135] UNEP - United Nations Economic Programme: Production and Consumption Branch - Tourism. (2002). The local Agenda 21 approach [online]. Available from: http://www.unep.fr/pc/tourism/policy/agenda_21.htm . [Accessed: 07 May 2008].
[136] United Kingdom Government. (2008). Homepage: sustainable-development.gov.uk [online]. Available from: http://www.sustainable-development.gov.uk/ . [Accessed: 04 May 2008].
[137] ICLEI Global - Local Governments for Sustainability. (no date). ICLEI Worldwide [online]. Available from: http://www.iclei.org/index.php?id=iclei-worldwide . [Accessed: 04 May 2008].
[138] The Canadian Press. (2008). Budget highlights. Globe and Mail - globeandmail.com, Wednesday February 20, 2008 [online]. Available from: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/LAC.20080220.BCBUDGETHIGH20/TPStory/?query=February+20%2C+2008 (Accessed: 24 March 2008).
[139] CBC News International. (2008). Food - Rice riots and empty silos: Is the world running out of food? CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) News International - cbc.ca, April 30, 2008 [online]. Available from: http://www.cbc.ca/news/background/food/prices.html . [Accessed: 04 May 2008].
[140] Ki-moon, Ban. (2008). The New Face of Hunger [online]. Washingtonpost.com, March 12, 2008 [online]. Available from: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/03/11/AR2008031102462.html . [Accessed: 04 May 2008].
[141] The Economist. (2007b). Food Prices - The end of cheap food. The Economist.com, December 6, 2007 [online]. Available from: http://www.economist.com/opinion/displaystory.cfm?story_id=10252015 . [Accessed: 01 April 2008].
[142] UN News Centre. (2008). Ban Ki-moon to lead task force to tackle global food crisis [online]. Available from: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=26491&Cr=food&Cr1=prices . [Accessed: 04 May 2008].
[143] West, Larry. (2008). What Good are Greenbelts? About.com – A part of the New York Times Company [online]. Available from: http://environment.about.com/od/biodiversityconservation/a/greenbelts.htm [Accessed: 28 April 2008].
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