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It shouldn’t be news, but it is. Mexico, Canada and the US just signed the first ever agreement to work together to protect wilderness in North America. The “Memo of Understanding” (MOU) signed at the WILD 09 Conference last week in Merida,Mexico is the first trilateral continental vision of wilderness protection–the first time that all three countries have formally agreed to cooperate on wilderness conservation.
In a speech given by Mexican President Calderon, he said, “This agreement will facilitate the sharing of successful experiences, monitoring, and training of human resources, as well as the financing of projects that will protect and recover wilderness areas.” After flying home from Los Angeles on Friday and marveling out the plane window at how completely jam packed the landscape is with humans and concrete as far as the eye can see, I hope it will include provisions for wildlife corridors throughout the continent. It looks like it does (access the document here). It also addresses ecosystems and natural resources that defy political boundaries, while encouraging cooperative research. It promises to consider and respects indigenous customs and conservation strategies, national environmental policy, and prioritize species survival. It recognizes the importance of wilderness conservation in mitigating and monitoring and surviving climate change.
What it means on the ground: stay tuned and we’ll see if it’s just government fluff or if it will inspire substantive change.