MorethanMonarchs.org: Networking for Illegal Logging Activism
Treehugger readers probably get their share of "action alert" emails from environmental organizations. Typically, a reader receives pertinent facts along with a request to "take action," and email a political representative or corporate executives to express his/her views on the issue at hand. While visitors to MorethanMonarchs.org can also email political officials in Mexico about illegal logging practices in the Monarch Biosphere Region, the winter nesting grounds for monarch butterflies, the ECO-LIFE Foundation has taken full advantage of current web technology, and broadened the scope of communication possible at their site. Not only can concerned citizens of this region email environmental protection officials in Mexico City; they can also share their stories on the site, upload photographs of logging activities, and discuss the effects of these practices on both butterfly and human populations.For those interested in this conflict, the site has become particularly important in light of Mexican President Felipe Calderon's proclaimed "zero tolerance" policy for illegal logging in the Bioreserve. ECO-LIFE founder Bill Toone demonstrated the potential power of the site just last week by submitting a letter documenting continued logging activity after the president's proclamation, along with photographs from his late February-early March visit to the region. By harnessing social networking features, More than Monarchs allows for more than the good feeling that accompanies writing a government or corporate official: concerned citizens can keep track of the progress of private and government efforts to stem both the cutting of trees, and the harassment of local residents who speak out against the deforestation by armed gangs.
The combination of efforts seems to be helping: the site's FAQ notes that field reports from the region show a recent decrease in illegal logging. While that's good news, ECO-LIFE's site on this issue ensures that environmental and human rights activists will have the most recent "on the ground" information available on this fragile region, and its inhabitants -- both human and winged... ::MorethanMonarchs.org