Without Blue, No Green, and Without Green, No Us!

La Serena, Coquimbo 12. September 2017.

This fitting premise accompanied the atmosphere that was experienced at meetings, discussions, informational exchanges and exhibitions during the five-day IMPAC 4 Congress in the Coquimbo Region, Chile. Without a doubt those present – experts, scientists, persons with social and political functions, holders of office, students, as well as advocates for a responsible relationship with the environment – were absolutely convinced of the urgency to protect the oceans, our seas, the fountainhead of life.


Sphenisco, in unison with and consistently following the motives for its founding in the year 2007, took part in the Congress in order to plant this impulse both in Chile and internationally with Save the Rainforest’s petition “Speak Out for Chile’s Humboldt Penguins!”

During the days of the IMPAC 4 Congress, more than 1,800 people signed the petition, 1,433 of which did so directly at the Sphenisco’s booth (sponsored by the Landau Zoo). In conversations with visitors and participants of the Congress, the location and characteristics of the National Protection Area “Pingüino de Humboldt”, as well as the marine protection areas around the Choros, Damas, and Chañaral Islands were explained.  The threats that this ecosystem is exposed to that make it imperatively important to put this marine region under official protection and prevent it from destruction, were also mentioned.


The planet remembers the threats that the coal fired power plants Barrancones and Farellones presented a few years back; today, the threats are from the disapproved Dominga mine and port project, the Cruz Grande port project from the corporation CMP (Compañia Minera del Pacifico), against which a lawsuit has been filed, as well as other planned projects.


Doubtless, the IMPAC 4 Congress in the Coquimbo Region contributed to making clear the importance of expanding the protected areas, and to recognize that the development of a “Coastal and Marine Protected Area for Multiple Use” (Área Marina Costera Protegida de Múltiples Usos - AMCP MU) from the Pájaros Islands, that belong to the La Higuera municipality, to the Chañaral de Aceituno Island in the municipal district of Freirina, can become a reality. With this in mind, many authorities spoke out:  the Chilean Foreign Affairs Minister, Heraldo Muñoz; the Chilean Minister of the Environment, Marcelo Mena,w the Coquimbo Regional President, Claudio Ibáñez, as well as a variety of regional ministers and governmental council members. This initiative has been analyzed since 2010, and discussed with the citizens of the affected communities. The initial plan submitted by the Environmental Ministry has since been technically improved. This protection area is desired by the citizens of these communities. “… What we have protected so far are the marine areas. What’s missing are the coastal areas. … Let us work together”, was the answer given by the Chilean Foreign Affairs Minister, in answer to the question posed to him at the end of the opening event.


Among the many people that signed the petition were also the following experts, scientists, regional office holders, and other personalities with leading functions:  Sylvia Earle, legendary oceanic researcher and initiator of IMPAC; the Environmental Ministers of the Coquimbo, Atacama, and Biobío Regions; experts from the Environmental Ministry and other institutions such as The World Wildlife Fund; The Columbian Institute for Marine and Coastal Research; The University of Nantes; The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration of the USA; The Earth Law Center; The Leibniz Center for Tropical Marine Research (ZMT); WCS (Wildlife Conservation Society); The Caserta Foundation; Fins Attached (Colorado, USA); Sernanp (Peru); IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources); The Chairman of the fishers small business organization, Conapach; The Chairman of the fishers cooperatives from La Higuera and Chañaral de Aceituno, as well as many others.


Nancy Duman
Sphenicso, Coquimbo Region


translated by Erich Greiner

Blau
Sylvia Earle
Blau
Eduardo Fuentealba
Blau
Richard Vargas
Blau
Cesar Araya
Blau
Josué Ramos
Blau
Amaro Gómez Pablo
Blau
Diego Flores
Blau
Cristián Laborda
Blau
Alain Barcelo
Blau
Felipe Paredes
Blau
Maximiliano Bello
Blau
Mauricio Bruce
   
© SPHENISCO