This year we invite you all to inhabit for a week the shores of the Seven Colors Lagoon, Bacalar or Sian Ka’an Bakhalal which in Mayan means “Door of Heaven Where the Reed Grows.”
Located in the state of Quintana Roo in southeastern Mexico, Bacalar is the most ancient human settlement in the region. It is located in the heart of a hydrological basin with multiple lagoons and an extensive area of wetlands with mangrove forest and an ecosystem that hosts thousands of flora and fauna species, some of them unique in the world.
Bacalar is the third biggest lagoon in Mexico; however, currently there are neither environmental protection mechanisms nor proper handling programs to protect and preserve these ecosystems, and the increasing environmental impact caused by the rapidly growing human activity, mainly resulting from 3 key factors:
The increase of the population and tourism activity, since there are not sufficient and efficient infrastructures for wastewater treatment.
The absence of a program for solid waste handling and a sustainable culture.
Nearly 5,000 hectares deforested.
The hydrology in the Peninsula is complex and it is interconnected in multiple ways: lagoons, cenotes, mangroves and ocean. All of them have a crucial role in the health of that huge ecosystem. Perhaps one of the great mistakes of water management is to see it as isolated systems instead of a whole. Bacalar’s health and its connection with all the other systems to its connection with the sea has effects on the water quality all the way up to the northern part of the peninsula. So, the conservation of Bacalar and the great system of the southern peninsua is key to having healthy reefs in Cozumel and all the Riviera Maya.
Due to the hydrologic nature of the basin and its fragility, these factors are endangering not only the biodiversity of the area and the health of the population, but one of Mexico’s biggest freshwater sources, and one of its most productive ecosystems in terms of environmental services, since it retains tons of carbon and releases huge amounts of oxygen, contributing to climate change mitigation efforts.
The weather in the microregion is warm subtropical with rains throughout most of the year. The bioregion stands out as a nesting area for turtles, butterflies and migratory, marsh and aquatic birds; more than a hundred species of mammals, 90 species of native bees, 47 species of dragonflies, 219 species of local birds and 120 species of migratory birds inhabit the area.
The imminent advent of mass-market tourism, a growing population, plus the lack of infrastructure, opportunities and collective leadership move us to make the Call of the Water in November 2017. We aim to activate the Earth Guardians, to form a huge network of social actors and people enthralled by this beautiful lagoon, and to unite our collective force to turn around the cyclic history of looting the riches of the Mexican Caribbean. We can join forces to look after nature’s assets and to make sure that the development in this microregion of Bacalar will be sustainable, with respect for the rights of the Earth, and of all the species, the Mayan peoples and generations to come.
This Vision Council is a call to co-create another possible reality, to learn about the solutions proposed by the inhabitants and civil groups of this bioregion, and to help weave relationships between them. We can reinforce those relationships with the experience we have gained from our collectively managed projects to maintain the integrity of biological and cultural diversity of the region.