Mexico is a leading country in the consolidation of the climate change agenda in Latin America and the Caribbean. It is the only country in the world that has five approved national communications and a sixth presented and under review, a general law on climate change since 2012, and is executing two special climate change programs since 2010. Mexico has it all, but despite this, the impacts of the environmental phenomenon continue to haunt it.
The world is transforming. A NASA report highlights that the hottest years on record have occurred in the last decade. The planet’s temperature could increase by 5 degrees Celsius in the next 30 years, which is considered to be a point of no return where the Earth could become a very hostile place.
Researchers from the United States Forest Service say that climate change will have a substantial impact on forest fires, increasing both the area affected and the number of forest fires that will occur throughout the planet, including in Mexico.
There is a very special place in Mexico where the quality of life of the inhabitants is affected by all these changes. We are talking about the state of Jalisco, more specifically the community of Ahuisculco, where they experience the impacts of climate change more directly.
Ahuisculco is a small community of over 2,000 inhabitants, located 1,340 meters above sea level and only 40 kilometers from the city of Guadalajara. It is characterized by its drive and its commitment to the environment. In 2015, a peaceful sit-down that took place in front of Congress managed to prohibit the installation of tanks to process molasses due to the negative impact it would have on drinking water coming from springs. The vast majority of the community was mobilized and this demonstration marked history.
Before this historic event that brought Ahuisculco to national attention, the community had already seen the benefits of caring for the environment. The La Primavera forest and the Ahuisculco mountain are the lungs of Guadalajara, which benefits from the pure air that they provide. Unfortunately, La Primavera —a protected natural area— suffers from the impacts of climate change and is threatened by its causes.
The “Pumas de Ahuisculco” brigade, mainly a forest brigade created to act once the fire season begins, actually tends to almost all of the problems in the community. The Pumas also carry out seed collection, fence the fields of the mountain range, perform masonry tasks, de-water the streams and provide other services to the community.
Composed of local inhabitants, these heroes possess great knowledge of the region. A technical cooperation generated through an alliance between Fundación Ecológica Selva Negra and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) is fortunate to have this brigade as part of its team. Their mission is to teach us everything there is to know about the Ahuisculco Mountain.
Together with the forestry brigade, the IDB technical team and other local actors, we hope to contribute to Mexico’s goal of zero deforestation by the year 2030. With them, we are working on the restoration and conservation of the La Primavera forest that is under a serious pressure of deforestation and is undergoing a severe forest and soil degradation process.
Today, with more than 30 thousand trees reforested, and thanks to the collaboration of the Jalisco state government, the work of Fundación Ecológica Selva Negra and the support of the IDB, we are furthering the national climate change policy through the promotion of mitigation and adaptation actions. The sustainability of the project is based on alliances with all the actors involved, on their commitment and on strengthening the community.
Communities like Ahuisculco can change the course of a region. We must recognize that forests managed by indigenous peoples and local actors help us prevent deforestation, preserving their ecosystems. With Mexico as a world leader in the fight against climate change, we can contribute to the generation of resilient communities that support the achievement of national objectives and put the country at the forefront of a global problem.