The CTBT Youth Group (CYG) membership from Latin America and the Caribbean held the CYG Meeting of the Americas in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, the past Oct. 27-Nov 2, 2019. This event took place during the Annual Meeting of the Mexican Geophysical Union, one of the largest scientific conferences in the Latin American region. It reunited close to six hundred geoscience students and young professionals out of near one thousand attendees.
The CYG members presented their research and work related to the CTBT and CYG activities. For instance, Natasha Zhurina from Russia, Ericka Alinne Solano, and Alan Juarez from Mexico had a poster presentation featuring the CTBT and its Verification Regime. They discussed why the Treaty is essential to the Latin American nations. Furthermore, they spoke about the workshops and seminars that they have organized to promote the Treaty and its Verification Regime. Luis Vazquez, from Mexico, presented his research about seismic studies using data from the seismic network of the International Monitoring System (IMS) in Mexico. The National Seismological Service of Mexico provided these data. Luis invited the conference attendees to visit the CTBTO booth after his presentation.
The booth sponsored by the CTBTO and coordinated by Miguel Rodriguez-Dominguez showcased handouts, videos, and posters that showed scientific and civil applications of the Treaty. These materials helped the CYG's to engage the young scientists to contribute to the CTBT mandate. The conference participants that visited this booth were curious about the Organization, the Verification Regime, and possible applications of its technology in Mexico. The CYG members explained that all nations could benefit from the IMS data. For example, a tangible example is the hydroacoustic stations that the CTBTO installed in Mexico and the seismic stations that transmit data to the IDC and that are used to monitor seismicity. These stations are quite crucial because Mexico is in a seismogenic zone, and very often, large earthquakes hit the country. The CYG's also talked about the hydroacoustics technologies, which have led to investigations about whales migration and climate change. Additionally, they explained that using infrasound technology, volcanic explosions, and storms can be monitored. Some students showed interest in radionuclide technology. They asked particular questions such as how the IMS detects noble gasses and how the data could be used to study radioactive decay.
CYG's and conference attendees debated concerns about the political aspects of CTBTO. Some young scientists and students believed that a developing country like Mexico should not worry about nuclear tests or nuclear disarmament. After an engaging discussion, they seemed convinced that CTBTO should be a global concern, and every country in the world must promote its entry into force. "We support this cause because the CTBT Verification Regime has shown that many countries, including those from regions where the development is less favorable, like Africa and Latin America, can benefit from it," said Miguel Rodriguez-Dominguez, a CYG member from Mexico.
Additionally to the booth, the CYG's participated in conference-related outreach activities. Ericka Alinne Solano, a participant of the third training cycle for Surrogate Inspectors, organized "The Festival of the Earth and Space Sciences" with the support of the American Geophysical Union (AGU) and the Mexican Geophysical Union (UGM). There, the CYG members showed experiments that help to understand scientific applications of the CTBT Verification Regime to the locals and tourists of Puerto Vallarta. Luis Vazquez collaborated with some analysts from the National Seismological Service of Mexico to show how to locate an earthquake and to explain what focal mechanisms are. Mark People from the United Kingdom, and Alan Juarez and Andrea Lara from Mexico prepared experiments for children to understand the ocean acidification and its relation to climate change. "We considered relevant to inform children, youth, and adults about transcendent topics of science, diplomacy, and scientific cooperation. They were quite interested in learning." The CYG participants Luis Vazquez, Alinne Solano, and Alan Juarez, were fully committed to sharing science with the public.
During the conference, the CYG members from Latin America demonstrated that the CTBTO is seeking to strengthen networks of scientific collaboration for tackling global problems such as sustainable development and climate change. They believe that this approach creates support among the scientific community to advance the treaty ratification, its entry into force, and the IMS maintenance and improvement. "An important outcome from the first CYG Meeting of the Americas is that we showed our work to other CYG members and young scientists from Latino America. We also had the opportunity to create collaborations and discuss future projects to promote the Treaty and its entry into force," said Alan, the CYG Coordinator for Latin America and the Caribbean.