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Posted by Gringo Frio from 126.96.36.199 (209-112-221-163-cdsl-rb1.sol.acsalaska.net) on jueves, septiembre 25, 2003 at 20:15:44 :
In Reply to: The Good, the Bad & the Ugly posted by ZihuaRob from 188.8.131.52 (dup-200-65-171-210.prodigy.net.mx) on jueves, septiembre 25, 2003 at 11:48:35 :
I heartily agree with your sentiments Rob, but not with your economics. Living in Alaska I am all too familiar with the syndrome of misguided but zealous outsiders "going native" while both natives and outsiders are often equally to blame for the destruction of their own back yards in one way or another. The ones who say "I got mine but I earned it and I'm different -- so you can't have yours" -- we have a name for them...but you don't deserve to know it. Humor.
It is the same in Mexico. Having travelled in Mexico for over 20 years and, I believe, in all but about 5 states I know the choices well: agriculture (deforestation); oil (take a look); heavy industry (how's NAFTA going?); tourism (that's all those big boats and planes); drug trafficking (appears to be one of the most ecological -- and devastating --choices); private enterprise, such as competing with expatriates like yourself (you've chosen a fine place to settle); and legal and illegal aliens who work in countries where the governments (read: economies) are sound -- and who therefore send money home.
Your mayor is to be commended, supported, and protected. Hopefully, the local people can be stimulated economically and educationally to take the daunting risks and rise up and protect their resources from lagoon to lagoon and hilltop to hilltop. And we all know that that is no small feat. That said, Mexico, and Zihuatanejo, must develop or die. Take a look at the competition up and down the coast, if not the entire Pacific, or Atlantic.
Expatriates tend to bring with them (or in my ongoing study of them seem to tenaciously develop) a sentimental bubble that is as out of touch with their host countries as the attitudes of the greedy carpet baggers in the big ships. They go from globetrotters in an expanding bubble to isolationists in a glass bubble. And in the long run, they are equally as dangerous. Yes, Cancun WAS better before the high-rises -- but it wasn't better for Mexico.
It's true: people don't need 5 houses. But if they want to build them in an ecologically sane and friendly manner would you rather they hire Mexican workers in Zihuatanejo or have Guerrero dry up like Puebla and have gringos hire the same illegal Mexican workers for their houses in Phoenix? Pardon the sloppy analogy but I'm never sure whether you really want to live in a touris resort or not.
As far as the floating hotels, I'm worried about waste water discharge (have you been checking that out? -- they all do it), reef damage, mangrove and other coastal destruction too. But with the right system in place, those big ugly cruise ships are no uglier than a bulging galleon up to the gunwales with loot sailing into a Spanish harbor and they (the new version) represent several orders of magnitude less pain and suffering from any viewpoint. I believe even Muir would agree on that.
This may sound like a mean spirited rant. It was not meant to be. I would welcome a separate LOCAL "tell-all" ecololgy section on your site with a title like: "Eco-Winners" And "Eco-Losers" or "Winner/Loser of the Week." You get the idea. Maybe moderated by someone other than yourself so you don't get in hot water (or hot lead). Great newspapers were started on far less.
I'm sure other readers would agree. I simply will not patronize places such as the ones you describe when I believe that they are so environmentally and of equal importance -- culturally -- insensitive. And for the many idiots who will never figure it out, the two are inseparable.
That said, I haven't met a bubble I won't pop.
A Gringo From So Far North That He's South, With No Intention Of Building More Than A Taco In Mexico
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