CFACT Collegians traveled to Cancun, Mexico for our annual Eco Summit. It sounds glamorous doesn’t it- bright lights, blue water, white beaches and fun in the sun? Not for CFACT. Students from all over the United States, representing 15 different college campuses flew to Mexico, not to simply hang out, but to put CFACT’s message into action.
CFACT has always believed that a practical application of free markets can bring people in the developing world into a world of technology, prosperity, and liberty. For years the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow advocated for this idea, but it wasn’t until 2003 that a permanent program in Valle Verde, Mexico was created. In 2003, CFACT and several other like-minded organizations delivered 2 tons of food to this impoverished area on the outskirts of Cancun. In 2005 they returned again to help with Hurricane Wilma relief efforts. During this time, CFACT listened to what the people of Valle Verde needed. What they wanted the most was technology. In a world that is quickly going off paper and online, these people would need to learn technology in order to get ahead.
This past school year, CFACT’s students collected laptops from all over the United States to deliver to Mexico. Simply delivering them was not enough. On Thursday, 18 students worked in the blistering heat and humidity to put up solar panels to power the laptops. In addition to this project, they also conducted a massive clean up effort. The garbage they collected will be sent to The City of Joy Foundation. There it will be sorted and most of it will be sold to a recycling plant and the money will go right back into the community.
On Friday, CFACT switched gears and put on their painting pants! Traveling 45 minutes away, CFACTers picked up garbage once again, this time in Rancho Viejo. Rancho Viejo is a community that is considered a ‘dump’ community. Partnering with Caritas, a Catholic charity, CFACT set up laptops in a building there to create a schoolroom for the children there. CFACT students decorated the classroom in colorful alphabet letters and laughed as they tried to teach the English alphabet to some children that had gathered to be a part of the excitement. Meanwhile outside, the rest of the CFACT students were busy painting a chapel and cleaning out a garden, amongst other projects.
CFACT students were given a lesson in property rights. This lesson is best learned on the ground staring poverty in the face, rather than in a classroom. The land that these people live on is owned by someone else. They are basically squatting on the land. At any time, the property owner can say that they own what is on the land and take people’s property away from them. Electricity is either bought from the Federal government at ridiculously high rates or like in Rancho Viejo, it is simply taken from power lines. This results in a dangerous jumble of wires. This land is uncultivated and the property is littered with garbage.
In addition to all their hard work during the day, these students also worked in the evening. The Eco Summit is traditionally a time when student leaders gather from around the nation to discuss ideas for chapter development and growth. CFACTers were able to hear from CFACT’s own top notch speakers! Duggan Flanakin, the Director of Policy Research spoke on property rights and development as it relates to freedom. Craig Rucker, the Executive Director of the Committee, spoke on the pitfalls of cap and trade policies, and Marc Morano, Executive Editor and Chief Correspondent for ClimateDepot.com, gave an insightful lecture entitled ‘Global Warming: Consensus in Freefall’. The Students are excited for a new year and have lots of great ideas to make this CFACT’s best year yet!