Citizens rally to protect natural area in Mexico

Peña Colorada. Photo by Federico Orozco, Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0).

Recently, the governor of Querétaro, a state located in the north-central region of Mexico, posted a video in which two children, María and Mateo, call for state and federal authorities to decree conservation status for Peña Colorada.

Peña Colorada is an area comprised of more than 12,000 acres, located northeast of Querétaro's capital, Santiago de Querétaro, and one of the most ecologically rich areas of the city. It is home to 257 plant species and 171 animal species, 16 of which are classified to be at risk

Besides, it's one of few areas in Querétaro remaining from urban expansion, and it's crucial for replenishing and supplying water, controlling soil erosion, and climate regulation. Its faults provide a natural buffer against earthquakes; without them, the city would be vulnerable to seismic activity.

The children give us an example of what we should be doing.
¡ Peña Colorada State Ecological Reserve !
only together can we give them a better future .
let's support them !

#Video ?? Would you help these two children protect the Peña Colorada ecological zone in Querétaro?

Their goal is to get this message to @lopezobrador [the President of Mexico]. Help us by sharing [the video]

To understand the importance of #PeñaColorada in #Querétaro city, one must read this important text by Social Shorthand #StateDecreeNow #BecauseTodayWeCan #ConservePeñaColorada

The fight for the preservation of Peña Colorada dates back two decades, but it was only in 2014 that the National Commission for Natural Protected Areas (CONANP) started proceedings to turn it into a Natural Protected Area (Área Natural Protegida, or ANP). Five years later, however, there are no signs that the proceedings are moving forward.

ANP is a legal status defined as an area, terrestrial or aquatic, that hasn’t been altered in significant ways and that is ecologically valuable. Currently, Peña Colorada is protected by three different legal dispositions, two on the municipal level and one on the regional level. By turning Peña Colorada into an ANP, it would be granted the highest legal protection on the federal level.

Mexican law establishes eight categories of ANP. A CONANP document from 2014, quoted in an article by Juan José Arreola for Shorthand Social, recommends Peña Colorada is decreed an “Area of Protection of Natural Resources,” which only permits human activities related to its preservation.

The recent call to action received an immediate and persistent response, as Peña Colorada is constantly being stalked by real estate developers who buy land in the area.

They're already moving, they already talked, now it's time to finish!!!

#ConservePeñaColorada #QuerétaroPrideOfMexico #Don'tMessWithMyTrees

@PanchoDominguez informs us that the process of declaring #PeñaColorada as a [Protected Natural Area] began 4 years ago by the [National Commission of Protected Natural Areas], which has not been able to be achieved until now.
Let's help find alternatives at the local level until a federal solution is reached. #Queretaro

Brilliant explanation by América Vizcaino about what's at stake for #PeñaColorada #Querétaro #PrideOfMexico #StateDecreeNow #ConservePeñaColorada

Conscious of the time that proceedings at a federal level will take, and in addition to concerns about arson, deforestation, and illegal logging that Peña has suffered in at least 29 acres, local activists and ecologists are proposing to turn Peña Colorada into a protected area under federal jurisdiction.

A petition seeks to get authorities to establish federal protection before the next change in government and thus preventing political manipulation, which this issue has been used for in the past.

Such an act would give the natural area immediate protection without complicating or impeding its future federal protection under CONANP.

Using the Twitter hashtag #ConservemosPeñaColorada (#Let'sConservePeñaColorada), citizens are asserting “because you can today” throughout its networks:

Pancho we support you in decreeing PEÑA COLORADA a State Ecological Reserve

It's time to act mister pancho, the world is filled with good intentions, we citizens require actions not words

Join me in looking at this sad history: The endless administrative flip-flopping for the #PeñaColorada Decree[.] Incomplete procedures, half-hearted wills, deceitful [obstacles], unfulfilled promises…

Peña Colorada is a key part of reversing Querétaro's ecological disaster. Its value not only lies in its air quality, but Peña Colorada also serves as a comprehensive regulator for the entire metropolitan area. The urbanization of this area would cause, as environmentalist América Vizcaíno cautions, the city's urban, environmental, and hydrological collapse.

Project Citizens Reforesting Querétaro, a grassroots organization founded in May 2019 that advocates for the protection of existing greenbelts and the planting of native trees in the area, posted a video on Twitter urging the government to declare Peña Colorada a federal ecological reserve as soon as possible:

Because you can, Pancho
Decree Peña Colorada as a STATE ECOLOGICAL RESERVE
Today, today, today
We trust you, Mr. Governor #ConservePeñaColorada

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