Ricardo A. Navarro
Ricardo Navarro is a mechanical engineer by profession.
In the 1970s while he was a professor at the State University in San Salvador, he organized three international Congresses: "Efficient Use of Natural Resources," "Appropriate Technology for Developing Countries" and "Basic Needs and Technology." Due to this, the engineering community of El Salvador became involved in ecological and social issues in the country for the first time.
In 1980, Navarro founded the Salvadorian Centre for Appropriate Technology (CESTA).
While in political exile, Navarro continued to work for the welfare of his people. He conducted an investigation into the use of bicycles as an alternative transport medium. The bicycles made from used parts provided jobs and an energy-friendly transportation mode.
Upon his return to El Salvador, he influenced peoples' attitudes towards their environment encouraging more direct participation in environmental matters. Navarro was one of the main contributors to the action plan for the National Ecological Recovery of El Salvador (the"Cerro Verde" proposal). A timely plan as the country had a war-torn abused environment.
Through CESTA, and in cooperation with Salvadorian ecologists and environmental organizations, Navarro was able to save ecologically important areas from destruction and hazardous industrial development. He also prevented toxic waste dumping.
Carlos Roberto Hasbun
Carlos Roberto Hasbun, born in El Salvador in 1963, is a biologist who has done more for the environment in six short years than most accomplish in a life-time. His activities have been undertaken at the grassroots level without publicity or fanfare, but simply out of love for the flora and fauna of his country. He wrote and lobbied for the first wildlife conservation law approved in the El Salvador Congress (1994). He is co-founder of the Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation Centre of El Salvador - a clinic where injured and/or confiscated animals are treated and returned to the wild. He is the founder of the National CITES Commission and of the Zoological Foundation of El Salvador. He also founded and continues to head the Sea Turtle Conservation Programme in the village of Barra de Santiago where he develops management schemes for the sustainable use of mangrove wood, green iguanas and marine turtles through the involvement of local communities. He established the Salvadoran Environmental Association "Friends of the Trees" which has planted 300 mangrove seedlings for each adult mangrove tree cut down. He is currently the Director of the National Parks and Wildlife Service where he develops conservation and management programmes for wildlife and wildlands. His is the tale of a quiet man and a beloved teacher who taught children in a village who in turn taught their parents, to leave half the eggs each turtle lays on the shore so that this species can be safeguarded for future generations.
Centro Salvadoreño de Tecnologia Apropiada
Centro Salvadoreño de Tecnologia Apropiada (CESTA) is the most influential environmental institution in El Salvador. Founded in 1980, it has a staff of 60 and a membership of 3,000. It has an environmental page in a national newspaper and a quarterly journal. CESTA has stopped the destruction of the El Espino Forest which would have affected water availability to the 1.5 million inhabitants of the Capital, and saved the El Pescadito de Oro waterspring from being exploited by Government and industry. It has stopped 3 million tons of ash and 400 tons of used tires from being brought into the country. CESTA has a school which develops technologies to improve sanitation, reduce energy consumption, improve nutrition and make transportation environmentally-friendly. Thousands of bicycles, pedal-powered garbage collectors, water pumps, solar cookers and dryers, water filters and environmentally-friendly roof tiles have been produced. CESTA has Eco Centres in 21 communities involved in garbage recycling, reforestation, water cleaning, reduction of soil erosion, harvesting and processing of medicinal plants, production of biodegradable pesticides and firewood-saving stoves and turtle harvesting. CESTA has created a forest in the name of the 75,000 people who died during the war. Thanks to CESTA, there is now a legislative department, an ombudsman, an attorney and a police force dealing with the environment, and laws on agro-chemicals, industrial effluents, wildlife protection and the use of unleaded gasoline.