Baja California Sur Bans Plastic Bags, Straws & Sytrofoam

Plastic Straw Pollution (image source: Waterways Charity Thames 21)

“New state law in Baja California Sur banning use of plastic bags, straws and styrofoam. In the following 12 months stores, restaurants and food venders will be given time to use the plastic they have and then after that it will be prohibited. In the following 18 months venders for plastic containers (plastic bags, straws, and styrofoam cups, plates, bowls) will be given to change for organic and compostable options now available in BCS and in general in Mexico. Basically, the government gives a certain time to vendors and clients to adjust to a now widely known fact: plastic kills our wildlife, pollute the marine and terrestrial wildlife we eat and over fills our limited land. The complete press bulletin in Spanish is attached. The attached pictures are from the young folks who made it possible in La Paz at the State Congress – the law was passed unanimously. In 34 years of living in BCS, I never thought I would see the day. I am so happy to see this time come! Every time that as a consumer you showed up with your own canvas bags, or your own container, or said “no straw please” – it made a measure difference. Thank you for helping us get here. Desplasticate = take plastic out of your life – is the state coalition of business that achieved this law.”

– Thanks to Cecilia Fisher for posting this on Facebook.

La parte sustantiva de la ley es:
“El Congreso del Estado aprobó por unanimidad una reforma a la Ley de Equilibrio Ecológico y Protección al Ambiente del Estado de Baja California Sur, mismo que establece la eliminación del uso de bolsas plásticas, contenedores de unicel (poliestireno expandido) y popotes plásticos.
Cabe mencionar que a partir de que la Ley entre en vigor se dará un lapso de 12 meses a supermercados, tiendas de autoservicio y conveniencia, mercados y restaurantes, para utilizar el producto con el que ya cuentan e ir desplazándolo por otras opciones. Mientras que los distribuidores de menudeo y mayoreo de dichos productos contarán con 18 meses”

From Above ….

One of the few luxuries of the short flight from Loreto to the States is to view the peninsula from great heights. The rugged expanse of the Baja terrain comes more clearly into focus, with shadows defining its craggy rock faces, narrow canyons, wide arroyos and spiny mountain ranges.

From above, except for the seasonal covering of green, the landscape appears barren – treeless – rough – yet stunning with its angular surfaces met on both sides of its narrow length by water.  On the west coast, the Pacific Ocean.  On the east, the Sea of Cortez. The seas moderate the temperature on the fringe coasts, while in the summer, the central spine steams under the summer sun, and in the winter, chills down to an occasional frost.

In the short expanse of 700 miles, the landscape encompasses arid scrub desert, dry lakes, creeks fed by waterfalls, inactive volcanoes and the piles left behind by their liquid lava activity… visible by highway travel, but from the air, more a palette of smooth surfaces vs jagged edges.

Since I travel both by auto and by plane, I love the opportunity to merge the images in my mind. To track Mex 1 far below from the air and to ponder places where I have camped and kayaked, creates a mind map of the terrain with personal overlays.

This broad and unpopulated expanse of landscape opens my mind and heart and clears the heavy weight of city responsibilities. I am so lucky to call this rugged this country my second home.

Mex 3 – Road Construction a’la Baja

Traveling the highways of Baja are – well – different than driving stateside.  When a huge rock slide close off a section of Mex 1 – the main north/south artery that connects Tijuana with Cabo San Lucas, the locals got to work.  In the USA, next steps would be emergency vehicles, flashing red lights, and weeks of no passage.  In Baja, next steps are a couple of guys with pickup trucks and ropes who move the offending obstructions out of the way, followed by maybe a friend with a bulldozer pushing some of the dirt aside.  I.e., roads are the lifeline .. and the residents don’t wait for the government to fix things.

Mex 3 – a southern route from San Felipe along the western edge of the Sea of Cortez has long been an out-of-the-way route that that terminated at Mex 1 near Lake Chapala. Mostly rugged washboard miles with an occasional paved section that washed out during hurricanes, the road was merciless on tires, suspensions, and overall mechanics of vehicles.

During the last two decades, small fishing villages have given way to retirement homes for gringos from the states, and the road has become more popular.  Gonzaga Bay, originally a landing strip with fly-in homes, now sports an upgraded hotel and multiple restaurants.

In their continuing effort to enhance access to all parts Baja, the government has set about ambitious road development projects, and Mex 3 is one of them.  The included photographs illustrate the scope of this project, the fact that a little dirt never hurt an intrepid Baja traveler, and the vast beauty of the landscape.

Just as Mex 1 was a dream before it opened in 1972, Mex 3 will provide an alternative to the crowded western route.

Crescent Moon ….

Sultry summer nights.

Palms against the Evening Sky

Palms against the Evening Sky

To the east, the mainland sends up a show of lightning.  Bursts of reddish colors paint the undersides of thick storm clouds.  Loreto is humid, but no rain or thunder for the moment.

The repaired lighthouse in the marina casts a welcoming green white light as the top spins in its glass housing, guiding mariners safely home.

Overhead, starts punctuate the space between the clouds.  The low level of city or neighborhood lights provides enough dark sky to enjoy a palette of twinkling white. Distant suns and planets.  The extension of our our small earth-based universe.

Suddenly, a larger break in the clouds, now backlit with white.  A tiny crescent moon, bathed in shades of orange, casts a shimmering pathway across the surface of the Sea.  It appears as if I could almost walk to Isla Carmen on a carpet of watery light.

Yes, sultry summer nights on the Sea of Cortez, as we step toward fall …..

We Begin Again – Welcome 2015

We Begin Again

We Begin Again

With open arms, open hearts and (hopefully) open minds, we begin again. The calendar shifts, we turn the page, and leave the successes and wreckages of the past year behind us.

In the New Year – hopes awaken, dreams rekindle, and we give ourselves the opportunity to peer into the future with fresh eyes. Slate clean. Begin again.

What dreams and hopes do you have for 2015? What challenges are you willing to embrace?

Stormy December The year began for me, south of the American border with rain and dark clouds – unusual for Loreto, BCS, Mexico. Today, the second day, blustery winds whip the seas into a froth of whitecaps. Butterflies tangle in the winds and birds make fast for secure branches. Like my life at times, holding on tight with an illusion of security, or letting go .. flying freely .. letting change be the watchword.

For me, this year, my intention is to let go of all things that keep me small ..
And to embrace and celebrate my personal authenticity …

Welcome 2015.

Season of Clouds

Sky on Fire

Humid & hot.

The weighted sky water of summer. A thousand wardrobe changes in the day (and that’s just the sky!).

Color palettes shift from frothy white to angry greys with blasts of orange and red and gold sprinkled between.

The wind carries them from the north east, from the south .. back around again from the west. It shapes them— along with temperature, pressure, underlying terrain — into ragged forms, soft cumulous curls, a streaking line of stratus.   Thunderheads build .. threaten .. and then simply drift away …

The season of clouds. The heart of summer in Baja.

Gardens in the Desert

“The Desert Dreams of Water” is the name of a series of photographs I took in different desert locations.  My experience of the dried earth in sparsely vegetated areas of the desert is that the dream of water is never more than a breath away.  During and after a rain storm, the earth opens up in a plethora of scents and colors and growth that is staggering.  All dormancy slides away with water born from the heavens.

In Baja, those oasis that dot the peninsula do so because of the existence of water – precious water that is never to be wasted or taken for granted.  The palm groves an inland rivers of San Ignacio and Mulege are prime examples of nature’s gardens.  The town of Loreto, tucked off the main highway for decades, shimmers with shades of green when approached by the sea.

Vegetation provides shelter from the heat, protects the soil from erosion, provides an oxygen/carbon dioxide exchange, as well as shelter and habitat for bird life.

In San Quintin, a Pacific coast fishing village south of Ensenada, a small hotel and restaurant complex can be found about 1/2 mile off the highway. “El Jardin” sits in the midst of its own oasis of palms, cactus, flowering shrubs and a small orange grove.  The motel is delightful – only a couple of years old, and the quiet is exquisite.  Rooms have ample windows for garden viewing, and the garden itself is filled with benches and tables for contemplation and relaxation.

It’s an amazing place to stopover, spend some time and recharge during the drive north or south, or even a spot for launching an all day fishing jaunt on one of the local pangas.

Baja Haha

15th Annual Baja Haha .. San Diego to Cabo San Lucas .. 150 boats .. a great and fun way for families/pirates and just salty hands to get in some sail time and find their way south.

I ‘hitchhiked’ – put my name as potential crew on Latitude 38s website .. and got a nice ride on Luna Sea .. a boat owned by Dave Boyles.  Dave Hohman, Don Johnson, Katie & Matt rounded out the crew.  Luna Sea is a Hardin Force 50 .. Built like a Formasa clipper with 2 masts and a full outfit of sails.

We started out in light winds .. which eventually crashed down to no winds.. Landed a tuna – 3 in fact the first afernoon.  Sushi was abundant .. the only worry : would we have enough wasabi?

After two days of party in Bahia Tortuga, the fleet took off again .. this time with winds!  Too fast to catch fish, but fun fun sailing.  Past cruise ships and tankers in the dark of night .. and down to Santa Maria, for another two days of party, surfing, mountain climbing, beach walking and swimming.

Finally — south to Cabo .. and an end to a wonderful journey and experience.

Lunch with the Governor!

Lunch with the Governor!

Had lunch with the Governor two days ago.  Not Schwarzenegger, although he’s on my list, but Narcisco Agündez Montaño, the Governor of Baja California Sur.

Narciso Agündez MontañoI’d love to report that I was able to press with him about issues of environmental protections and educational reform, but he was heavily involved with local politicos who had their own agenda.  At least I was seated at a table next across from him, as is shown in the attached photograph (he is the man seated on the left in the blue shirt).

Narcisco Agündez had come to Loreto to bless several public works projects, survey the damage from Tropical Storm Julio, and work politics.  He is a member of PRD, as is the current Mayor of Loreto, Yuan Yee.

The lunch was well attended by nearly every city official.  A band played several musical pieces and locally caught dorado with salsa and slaw satsified the tastes of everyone.

As I’ve said before, themost amaizng things keep happening in Baja.