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Case #768

Mexico City Impoverished Youth Work To Create a Better Environment


Many people dismiss environmentalism as a middle-class luxury that few can afford. But in Mexico City a group of impoverished street punks are pioneering radical social alternatives because their survival depends on it. In a city that has only ever land filled its rubbish, Chiwy is among a group of youths who are working on local recycling and composting programmes. They go into neighbourhoods to teach residents how to sort waste, and build depots where recyclables can be taken for collection. The needs of the city are that basic, and, rather than waiting for the government to institute solutions, Chiwy and his friends are doing it themselves.


STRATEGY: Working within groups focused on political change, impoverished young people in Mexico City are working to provide basic education about and facilities for recycling and composting programs. They do this to fill in the void left by governmental agencies which should be doing this work.

WHAT WORKS: Gathering together youth with lots of energy, political motivation and dedication who want to make changes in their poor and urban setting. Creating practical and badly needed projects.

IMPORTANT POINTS: Confronting waste, creating 'autonomous zones' and dismantling machismo, they liberate their neighborhoods a little bit more each day. This includes surviving in a hand-to-mouth way instead of taking meaningless full-time jobs that would consume valuable time which is better spent rebuilding communities and sharing their skills and knowledge with others. The reality of their daily existence makes their work for change that much more vital. It is not an intellectual exercise, as it often is for middle class wanna-be revolutionaries in the North. It is a matter of survival.
Location: Mexico City
Action: Building, Economic/Business, Education/P.R.
Setting: Semi-Developed, Urban
Extent of Action: Local
Issues: Environment, Conservation
Year(s): 2003
Outcome in progress
Source: The Ecologist, April 2003, p.54


Prepared By: sl, 4/06
Rating: 1
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