May 14, 2009

Punta Brava: Local Protests

More about Punta Brava. Although there has been very little news from the developers in the last month, the community group in Ensenada that has been protesting the project has been very active. Here is a flyer that they produced and sent around in an attempt to challenge and stop what is planned:

Also, here is an online petition that people are signing as a form of protest. They are utilizing all sorts of media to challenge the project, including this page on facebook. The developers, for their part, have used a highly polished web site (which reflects how much money they are putting into the project), and standard news/press releases.

I have read through the website and the press releases put up by the developers. While they try to sell the project as "eco-friendly" and culturally sensitive, in my opinion their plans are severely suspect. First of all, why don't they mention the real location of the project, which is on Punta Banda, in Baja California? Also, how can this project be environmentally sensitive? A golf course in a place where water is scarce? And what about all the runoff from the grass? How will that affect the local marine and coastal environment? Finally, how can this project be sold as something that "benefits" the local community when that community is not allowed to enter the site?

There is a section on the main Punta Brava website called "Enlighten." Under that is yet a subsection titled "Sea Change." It reads:

When we cease to think primarily of ourselves and our own preservation, we undergo a truly remarkable transformation. A sea change. At Punta Brava, such a transformation of spirit is almost inevitable. Nature's power and beauty are everywhere. With every breath a fresh perspective is inhaled, and one's inner energy surges. The invisible pull of inertia and apathy falls away enabling the heart to soar to new places. This transformational power of Punta Brava must reach beyond its owners and guests. The transformation must flow through them. Project Sea Change is designed to make it possible. Project Sea Change is about transformation. It is about protecting and inspiring. It is about allowing the heart to guide our actions. To transform the life of another, and thus experience the transformation of self. To give back for the betterment of all. For this generation, and for generations that follow.

It's great language, of course. But I do not see how the proposed project in any way illustrates any of these stated ideals. How is the project giving back to the local population (and where is the local population in the overall plan? They aren't even on the website).

Then there is the "Family Impact Program," which is also under the "Enlighten" section of the website. This section reads:

Strong families are the bedrock of vital communities. When the life of one family member is positively impacted - with a sustaining job, with life-advancing education, with the possibility of even more for their children - ripples of hope begin to spread. This is the promise of Project Sea Change's Family Impact Program: to also invest in the families who make Punta Brava special.

That sounds great too. But it's also incredibly vague. What does it mean, and what is actually being done? If there is a community outreach part of the project, where is this happening? Why aren't there any press releases about that? If the project is so engaged, why is there local protest and dissent?


Mike Wilken said...

You're exactly right! If this company actually believed any of the things they're stating on their website, they would be working to preserve this extraordinary site rather than destroying it. This is a clear example of how developers have appropriated the language of "green" as a strategy to distract from what they're real intentions are: to extract maximum profits while robbing local communities of their most valuable natural and cultural resources. Punta Banda has many important archaeological sites which could deepen our understaning of thousands of years of human history in the larger region (including southern California) but the vast majority of these will be destroyed if the developers are allowed to proceed. The spectacular natural biodiversity and landscapes will be destroyed to enrich a few US billionaires. A few crumbs will be thrown back to the local community to buy off some local support and use for promotional purposes. But you can help make a difference! Read more on the website mentioned above and sign the online petition.

Moisés Santos Mena said...

To know more about their architectural project, check this site:

Saludos: Moika.

P.S. Could this text be used as part of our Facebook Wall? Do you approve??