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An Interview with Oscar Arizpe Covarrubias
David Ornelas Editorial Associate, SDSU Press
had the opportunity to interview Dr. Oscar Arizpe, one of the three authors of Loreto, Mexico: Challenges for a Sustainable Future. My main goal was to better understand the deeper meanings of the book as well as what made the authors pick this certain topic? and why Loreto? We also touch base on the reason why this may be important for everyone to know even if they don't live in Loreto, Mexico. Dr. Arizpe explores the factors that challenge a sustainable future--on both sides of the border. Dr. Arizpe will also cover some measures that need to be taken and what he recommends others do that will help in the long term.
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Dr. Arizpe: Oscar Arizpe Covarrubias, PhD. I am a Professor at the Universidad A. de Baja California Sur.
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OAC: I have been preoccupied and involved with the Loreto region for almost 40 years. This was one of the main reasons that lead me to design the proposal that transformed the area into a national park in collaboration with the Mexican Environment Ministry.
DO: What is one challenge we should be aware of when considering a sustainable future?
OAC: The main challenge of sustainable development is the lack of consideration in the planning of economic activities. Two examples for this region could be found in the mining plans, and the accelerated population growth rate, and the impact that these could have on local natural resources.
DO: Are there factors that challenge a sustainable future that aren't mentioned in your book?
OAC: In general, we try to describe and analyze all these challenges in this book. It is important to mention that we had valuable tools that allowed us to document the antecedents of Loreto today--this includes Loreto: The Future of the First Capital of the Californias / Loreto: El Futuro de La Primera Capital de Las California which I co-edited with Drs. Ganster and Antonina Ivanova
DO: Your book mentions that adaptive measures need to be taken, which measures should we focus in on when reading your book? What part does community engagement need to focus in on when taking these measures?
OAC: The community participation and involvement on decision-making processes is central if we expect to reach an integrated approach to sustainable development of the Loreto region. The high vulnerability of the region requires a full participation of both the community and stakeholders in the process of decision making and the undertaking of these adaptive measures, whose implementation is urgent for the Loreto region.
DO: Your book addresses leading research on things such as history, society, tourism, and others taking place in Loreto. Is there one topic out of the ones addressed in your book that we should look into more after reading your book? And why?
OAC: The environmental factors are described more thoroughly in the 2007 book, while the prospective analysis of the effects in the sustained development of the Loreto region, (the population growth rate, public policies and the deterioration of natural resources) were explored in the above mentioned study of Alternatives Futuresfor the Region in 2005.
DO: After reading your book, what should a reader take away from it? Should we take your main points and apply it to our thinking?
OAC: Reading the book will provide a general knowledge of the main environmental, economic, and social issues in the region. Also, it provides some options for sustainable development of the municipality and insight on how to cope with the threat of traditional mass tourism. The book also suggests some actions that need to be taken to face the scarcity of freshwater, and some adaptive measures in the context of climate change and renewable energy, that the population and authorities should urgently consider and implement in Loreto.
BIO: Oscar Arizpe Covarrubias
Oscar Arizpe Covarrubias currently works at the Ecology of Coastal Sciences Laboratory at the Autonomous University of Baja California(UABC). Oscar does research in Ecology of Coastal Systems. Their current project is on ecological vulnerability and sustainable development strategies on relevant areas of South of Baja California.