Sunday, August 14, 2011
Society of Ecological Restoration in Merida Mexico
We have arrived in Merida, Mexico. The first week is vacation, the next is the conference where we have two symposia on the Mesopotamian Marshes. Dr. Nadia Fawzi, University of Basrah Marine Science Center, and I are co-facilitating two symposia. Unfortunately, our invited speakers and proposed two symposia. One is on the socioeconomics of the marshes, discussing the Marsh Arab culture, prospects for restoration, and the disabling lack of water and loss of livelihood now occurring in the marshes. For this symposia, Dr. al Fartosi, Iraqi expert on water buffalo, was unable to attend. He sent pictures and text, and Monica Dean and David Kelly helped prepare the powerpoint. Water buffalo are cultural icons to the indigenous marsh arab culture, as well as integral sources of livelihood in modern Iraq. Without water in the marshes, the reeds die, the villages are dusty, and conditions deteriorate rapidly. Talks by Dr. Nadir Salman and Dr. Nadia Fawzi show the people in the marshes suffer from poor health, inadequate sweet, clean water, high unemployment (including inability to support themselves through subsistence economies), and poor education especially for women. I will give the presentation for Dr. Nadir, who was unable to come.