Todos Tortugueros – Turtle Action Alert

April 29, 2010 by  
Filed under Blog, Press

Courtesy of Wendy Rains, editor of Building in Baja

Invernadero for Turtle Egg Incubation

The following important items are needed in order for our local sea turtle conservation group, Tortugueros Las Playitas, to build this year´s incubation greenhouse.  Please help if you can. We need:

  • Building materials (pvc, wood, screws)
  • Greenhouse quality plastic
  • Gasoline
  • ATV maintenance assistance (new tires, oil, etc)
  • A much needed GPS

Tortugueros Las Playitas builds a turtle greenhouse every year to incubate the precious Leatherback eggs of Todos Santos.  Without the greenhouse, the eggs wouldn’t develop in this region due to low sand temperatures during Leatherback nesting.

The greenhouse is built with PVC, wood, and greenhouse quality plastic.  It elevates the temperature up to six degrees and has proven to produce viable hatchlings similar to those who hatch in warmer climates.

Dedicated Locals

Volunteers patrol the beaches October through April, searching for the giant leatherback nests, and when one is found, it is relocated into the greenhouse.

Incubation takes anywhere from 70 to 90 days depending on the temperature.  Constant supervision of the greenhouse is necessary because when a hatchling emerges, it can only survive in the hot air a few minutes.

Luckily for the group, the greenhouse is located on Quirino Cota’s beachfront ranch, where he and his dedicated family supervise the hatchlings round the clock during incubation.

Build your Baja Karma and help this group save the critically endangered Leatherback from extinction! Donations can be made to the Todos Tortugueros.

Todos Santos Community Working Together

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Mexico Denies Gold Mining Permit to Canadian Company

February 23, 2010 by  
Filed under Blog, Press

Monday, February 22, 2010 — Barnard Thompson, (Reprinted in its entirety with permission)

Mexico Denies Gold Mining Permit to Canadian Company

Last December the Mexican media, in part reviewed by Frontera NorteSur, reported that the door could be closed to some foreign-owned mining operations in Mexico — the case in point being a planned open pit gold mine in Baja California Sur (Canadian Mining Companies at Odds with Many in Mexico).

Well, that door has now been slammed shut, in large part due to the opposition of local residents and activists — which just might be a harbinger of what to expect in the future.

According to the story at the time, area residents opposed a mine within the buffer zone of the Sierra de la Laguna Biosphere Reserve, the Paredones Amarillos gold mine, planned byCanadian-owned Vista Gold Corporation.  The mining company was awaiting a final step in the process, a requisite federal land use permit, in order to begin operations towards the extraction of an estimated 1.2 million ounces of gold over a 9.3 year period.

Critics contend that metals and chemicals used in the mining operations could contaminate vital ground water supplies (including seepage from a planned sluice residue basin), damage ecosystems, and threaten public health. Further, they express concern for coastal sea turtle and whale habitats that could be jeopardized from the construction of a proposed desalination plant.

Vista Gold President Fred Earnest, and project manager Carlos Calderón, both disputed the contentions that Paredones Amarillos would cause ecological harm. According to Calderón, Vista Gold would use environmentally sensitive, state-of-the-art mining technology and practices, and uphold “the highest international standards.”

Over the past two months opponents of the Paredones Amarillos mining project have been meeting with state of Baja California Sur officials, and on February 4, 2010 the Mexico City daily El Universal reported:  “Baja California Sur Governor Narciso Agúndez Montaño has promised to work for the stoppage of the Paredones Amarillos gold mine project.”

The newspaper said that Ariel Ruiz, a representative of the Baja California Sur “Water is worth more than gold” organization, told the governor of concerns due to the negative social and environmental impacts the open pit gold mine could cause in the area, especially due to the risk of contamination to aquifers in the region.

“We are expressing our concern because the costs that the mine could bring are much greater than the benefits.  Not only is it a community, it is the entire region that could be affected,” Ruiz said

Ruiz added that Governor Agúndez supported his point of view, and the governor would ask the Secretariat of Environment and Natural Resources (SEMARNAT) not to allow the project to go forward.

On February 19 El Universal reported: “The Secretariat of Environment and Natural Resources denied the Paredones Amarillas project change of land use application, for the operation of an open pit gold mine in the Sierra de la Laguna Biosphere Reserve.”

“The Mexican Environmental Law Center (Cemda) reported that, according to a communiqué from the Canadian company Vista Gold, headquartered in Denver, Colorado, the federal agency rejected the application as it deemed the information insufficient in order to certify that the mine would not cause erosion or an impact on biodiversity,” the newspaper stated.

“Interviewed by El Universal, Agustín Bravo Gaxiola, an attorney with Cemda Northwest, said that the majority of the claims in the company’s technical justificative study ‘lacked support.’  He noted that the investors must certify they are the property owners, or that they have a concession for the area.  The permits they have are for temporary occupation, he emphasized, [and] not for operations on national properties as are most of the lands that they want to exploit, and that were previously designated for preservation by the National Protected Areas Commission (Conanp).”


— Barnard Thompson,

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Todos Santos Film Festival 2010

February 5, 2010 by  
Filed under Activities, Blog

Todos Santos Film Festival - 7th Annual

7 Festival de Cine de Todos Santos

Todos Santos Film Festival – 7th Annual

Film transports us to unknown territories andchallenges us with eclectic and provocative ideas. Film, with its light, illuminates us. – Sylvia Perel, Founder Director

For the past 6 years, Todos Santos has held an event of growing acclaim, the Todos Santos Film Festival. Last year a documentary was screened highlighting the nearly timeless lifestyle of the rancheros still living in the local mountains. In fact, many of the featured stars joined the premier to a standing ovation. This year should be just as exciting as the Todos Santos Film Festival brings to Todos Santos and La Paz Latin American cinematography of great artistic and educational merit, while celebrating local and national Mexican film culture. This year the festival offers a selection of the best and most recent fiction, documentary and short films from Latin America and Mexico.

The Todos Santos Film SFF promotes youth education through film and supports women in film while avoiding stereotypes and violence as entertainment. It also supports the protection of the environment and the fight against domestic violence. Film transports us to unknown territories and challenges us with eclectic and provocative ideas. Film, with its light, illuminates us.

On behalf of the Committee of the 2010 Todos Santos Film Festival and Elsa de La
Paz Esquivel, director of the Instituto Sudcaliforniano de Cultura, would like to thank and express their gratitude to all those whose made the Seventh Todos Santos Film Festival possible. Without their generous cooperation this event would not have been possible. – Sylvia Perel, Founder Director
For the complete guide, click Todos Santos Film Festival

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Todos Santos Water is Worth More than Gold to Its Citizens

February 5, 2010 by  
Filed under Blog, Press

Stop the Gold Mine

Agua Vale Mas Que Oro

The following is an email summarizing the great progress made by denizens of Todos Santos, Cabo, La Paz and others by coming together in our opposition to the proposed open pit gold mine in the local mountains. A notoriously dirty industry. This letter is reprinted in its entirety with the permission of Elena Morena. While this undoubtedly this is the first of many battles, congratulations to everyone involved and thank you, thank you sincerely for all your efforts. You are all of our heroes on the ground.

“At the urging of Congresswoman Esthela Ponce Beltran, last Wednesday Governor Narciso Agundez Montaño finally agreed to meet with representatives of Agua Vale Mas Que Oro.  During the meeting the group was able to fully express the concerns of the Todos Santos community and present the Governor with petitions that demonstrate wide opposition to the Paredones Amarillos mining project. Scientists also attended the meeting from the University Autonoma of Baja California Sur and CIBNOR, as well as representatives from SEMARNAT and aids to Congresswoman Ponce. At the end of the two-hour meeting the Governor announced that he would vote against the change of zoning in the Sierra de la Laguna Reserve that would permit mining.  He also made a formal administrative request that SEMARNAT suspend permits allowing the company to initiate mining and that federal agencies formally extend the limits of the Sierra de la Laguna Biosphere reserve. Yesterday Congresswoman Esthela Ponce introduced federal legislation to cancel the mining permits for the Paredones Amarillos mine, the Governor says he will support the legislation.  Governor Agundez stressed the importance of developing sustainable projects in the mountain communities that will offer employment to the many families living in the Sierra de la Laguna Biosphere.

The Governor’s announcement follows an intense week of protests and anti mining activities in Todos Santos, La Paz and Los Cabos.  Our local Congresswoman Ady Nunez Abin introduced a resolution in the state congress opposing the mine and Municipal President Rosa Delia Cota Montaño made public statements in opposition to the Paredones Amarillos project.  Senator Josephina Cota Cota on the federal level is also applying pressure.

The Governor’s public opposition to the project is an enormous milestone and a tribute  to what we can accomplish as a community when we come together in common purpose.  Nevertheless, we are also keenly aware that the mining company will continue to fight to open the mine and we know that there are other mining interests developing in the San Antonio – Las Planes area.   Agua Vale Mas Que Oro and the Todos Santos and Pescadero communities are united in our determination to stop any projects that threaten our water, our health and the unique quality of life that brings so many people to Baja California Sur.   If we destroy our precious natural resources we compromise the very qualities that make our state so special.

A congratulations to our friends at Niparaja and all the other NGOs and individuals who have helped in this campaign.  We have certainly come a long way…together!”

Un abrazo fuerte…

Elena Moreno

Agua Vale Mas Que Oro

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Welcome to the website for CalyCanto, offering Todos Santos vacation rentals and information about the area. We operate a boutique community, currently consisting of 3 casitas in Todos Santos, each with ocean views, about 2.5 miles from the town center, on the way La Pastura, a world class surf break. We at CalyCanto are passionate about eco-friendly travel that provides us with succulent surfing, pristine beach combing, intimate restaurants, exotic bird watching, super special sunsets, horseback riding on the beach, local tours and activities that support the local community. We believe in causing the least harm (approaching zero) while doing business. Environmentalism, sustainability and a commitment to protecting the natural environment through activism are part of our mission as we work to continually reduce our carbon footprint. We hope you'll follow our adventure here, on Twitter and on Facebook while you enjoy your coffee (or tea) or drink a Pacifico (if you've already made it here). If the tequila gets passed around the table too much, gringos might try and spell CalyCanto like calicanto, calecanto, or cal y canto. However you spell it, you are always welcome at Calycanto Casitas. Thank you for visiting.