Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Awards and Inspiration-James Balog and Jane Goodall at Wild 9

Time to get caught up to today, Tuesday(Martes). Sunday morning offered a bit of free time which allowed us to get a small taste of the real Merida because we were able to connect with my friend Nancy and her husband Barry who moved down here last year and are in the process of remodeling a home that they purchased about 6 blocks from our hotel. They have an interesting blog and website which details their move to Merida, their remodeling adventure and has lots of interesting info about Merida. They appear at left with their 3-legged dog buddy.

As Nancy and Barry walked us back to our hotel, they explained that every Sunday one half of the Paseo Montejo, which is a main artery through the center of town, is closed down until noon so that families can ride bikes with their children without worry for the crazy traffic. It also allows families to take a leisurely stroll without left traffic noise and exhaust. What a brilliant idea! Can you just envision half of College Avenue closed down each Sunday morning! It encourages family activity, exercise, not driving, slowing down a bit ... I am ready to come back and lobby the city council for that!

Jane Goodall gave a very moving keynote presentation on Sunday and set the stage for an in depth discussion of her Roots and Shoots Program for Children. If you have never seen this woman speak, you must make a point to do it before she stops travelling and speaking. She only does so out of a sense of urgency for the protection of primates. She says she has not been back to the land she loves for 15 years because she knows that she is their best hope for the future. I don't think she will rest as long as she knows she can connect one more person to the issues and raise one more dollar for protection. Jane inspires simply by her presence but when she says she is inspired and made hopeful by this gathering, it reminds us of the privilege and the power of taking part in this congress.
On Sunday evening, James Balog received the inaugural iLCP Conservation Photographer Award - voted as the very first recipient by his peers, both for his lifetime body of conservation work and expecially for his current project, "The Extreme Ice SurveyHis expansive visual documentation through time lapse photography of the rapid recession and disappearance of glaciers is waking up hearts and minds arounbd the world. He recently testified before the US Congress on the issue of climate change. And all I can say is that if they saw what we saw in Jim's presentation, they had to walk out of chambers scared to death. There is no other way to say this - it is simply horrifying to see the full measure of decline of the glaciers - it is NOT part of the natural cycle. It IS catastrophic! Below is a cut from his presentation at the 2009 TEDGlobal conference in Oxford England. It will give you a good idea of what we saw the other night.
There is SO much more but I'll save it for another post. Adios. Linda


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