Stories written by Verónica Díaz Favela

MEXICO: Scientists Reinvent the Corn Tortilla

The process of making corn tortillas - the filling, age-old traditional food throughout much of Mexico and Central America - pollutes huge volumes of water and consumes a great deal of energy.

Tortilla production is a source of water pollution in Mexico - Verónica Díaz Favela/IPS

Scientists Reinvent the Corn Tortilla

Mexican scientists are working to make "nixtamalization," the ancestral technique for preparing maize to be made into tortillas, a more environmentally sustainable process.

A digital rendering of algae-ethanol production pools.  Credit: BioFields

ENERGY-MEXICO: Big Plans for Ethanol from Algae

The Mexican company BioFields will begin production in 2014 of an algae-based biofuel at a site 300 kilometres from its border with the United States, which is likely to be its biggest customer.

A digital rendering of algae-ethanol production pools. - BioFields

Mexico Has Big Plans for Ethanol from Algae

A biological process in which blue-green algae produces ethanol will be the basis for fuel production by a Mexican company beginning next year.

Coral reef on the Mexican coast.  Credit: Courtesy of the Comisión Nacional de Áreas Naturales Protegidas

MEXICO: Underwater Museum to Protect Coral Reefs

Four sculptures in human forms, made of concrete, will be submerged in November in the Mexican Caribbean - the first of 400 figures that will comprise the world's largest underwater museum.

A coral reef on the Mexican coast. - Courtesy of the Comisión Nacional de Áreas Naturales Protegidas

Underwater Museum to Protect Mexico's Coral Reefs

In the ocean depths off the coast of southeastern Mexico, galleries of human sculptures are to be installed as an artistic attraction with environmental ends.

Elevated house resistant to hurricanes and floods. Credit: Verónica Díaz Favela/IPS

MEXICO: Houses Put to Flood and Hurricane Test

Federico Martínez was born in a land of hurricanes. As a young boy in Mexico he saw the wind uproot trees and roll wooden houses "as if they were shoe boxes." As an adult, he developed a house that can withstand winds up to 300 kilometres per hour and floods three metres deep.

An elevated house resistant to hurricanes and floods. - Verónica Díaz Favela/IPS

Houses Put to Flood and Hurricane Test

Over a span of eight years, a Mexican engineer visited areas thrashed by hurricanes. His goal was to design a home capable of withstanding nature's worst.

Employees and patients alike enjoy the green roof at the Belisario Domínguez Hospital. Credit: Verónica Díaz Favela/IPS

MEXICO: Green Therapy on the Rooftops

In the last two years a Mexico City hospital, kindergarten and municipal government office building have experimented with plant-covered rooftops. Today, workers and visitors are enjoying the benefits.

Employees and patients alike enjoy the green roof of the Belisario Domínguez Hospital. - Verónica Díaz Favela/IPS

Green Therapy on the Rooftops

In Mexico City there are more than 8,000 square meters of public building rooftops covered with vegetation. This novel approach for bringing green to the cities is now reaching hospitals and kindergartens.

Fourth meeting of Asamblea de Afectados Ambientales, held in May in El Salto, Jalisco.  Credit: Courtesy of "Un salto de vida"

MEXICO: Scientists and Communities Forge Eco-Alliances

Graciela González answers phone calls, organises meetings and gives interviews as part of her work to save a river from ecological disaster. Thousands of kilometres away, farmer Gonzalo Rodríguez helps take air samples in a region polluted by petrochemicals.

Fourth Assembly of Environmentally Affected, held in May in El Salto, Jalisco. - Courtesy of

Mexican Scientists and Communities Forge Eco-Alliances

Two worlds join forces in Mexico -- academia and common folk -- to confront environmental problems.

UNAM

MEXICO: Nation’s Future Hinges on Near-Empty Science Classrooms

Many solutions for sustainable development in Mexico lie in the scientific and technological training of its younger generations, say academics. But students in this country, where everyone wants to be a doctor or accountant, are ignoring those fields.

UNAM's medical school. - Photo Stock

Mexico's Future Hinges on Near-Empty Science Classrooms

The suspension of classes in Mexico due to the swine flu epidemic is not the only reason science and technology university courses have been nearly deserted.

Tourists at Le Méridien Hotel. Credit: Claudio Cruz/IPS

MEXICO: Hints of Sustainability at Cancun Resorts

Antonio Moreno is the banquet manager of a four star hotel in the south-eastern Mexican resort city of Cancún, but for more than a year his duties have included digging through the trash.

Tourists enjoying Le Méridien Hotel. - Claudio Cruz/IPS

Hints of Sustainability at Cancún Resorts

Cancún, a resort destination in Mexico, began to lose tourists who were demanding a more natural vacation. As a result, several companies have set out on the path towards a more sustainable hotel industry.