“Why spend time chopping down a tree that is rotting from the inside out when instead you could be focusing on making sure the young trees grow safely?” These wise words seem quite pertinent to the current sustainability movement across Mexico—and the globe. Fernando Ausin Gomes reports from Mexico.
Mexico is facing turbulent, systemic collapse. During the last few months, struggles have arisen throughout the country to protest the disappearance of hundreds of people, and of government involvement in actions against whistleblowers and student groups.
Although we do not wish to amplify the critical state of political affairs in Mexico, it is worth noting several important aspects where resistance movements, permaculture settlements, and sustainability education organizations are helping forge a new way forward for society; not protesting the current governments (or “chopping the trees that are about to fall down”), but ensuring that we, the ‘saplings’ of the newer generation, collectively craft a new way forward.
This year marks the 20th year of persistence and resistance for indigenous groups in southern Mexico. Spearheaded by the EZLN (the Zapatista Front of National Liberation), rural society has been struggling to successfully establish autonomous communities independent from government involvement; called caracoles (or seashells in English.)
At the end of 2014, they will hold the ‘First World Festival of Resistance and Rebellion Against Capitalism’, where the National Indigenous Congress will work towards the holistic reconstitution of people, and display the spectrum of possibilities that autonomous communities live in across rural Mexico.
The forum expects hundreds (if not thousands), of journalists, grass-roots organizations, peasants and indigenous groups from across the country, and across the world. Keep up to date at http://enlacezapatista.ezln.org.mx/
The ‘eco-nomads’ movement is also picking up steam across Mexico, and forging new alliances through colectivos in several states. Earlier this year, the ‘First Permaculture and Ecotechnology Fair’, brought together a whole range of different sustainability and permaculture organizations to Mezquitic – an indigenous community in the highlands of the state of Jalisco – in order to demonstrate different sustainable and permaculture solutions, bike machines, bio-construction, organic seed banks, and many other eco-technological possibilities.
What began as a weekend fair up in the remote mountains, is now growing to become a nationwide accelerator of like-minded sustainability groups and organizations. One of the country’s leading public transportation companies, ADO, has donated a small sprinter van to a sustainability education non-profit, in order to continue reaching out to more communities such as Mezquitic and help spread the message of sustainability and permaculture across Mexico. For more information, visit http://www.biotu.org/mezquitic
The Mayan lands in Mexico, especially in the state of Chiapas, are quickly developing as important ecovillage settlements in the country. El Jardin (or ‘The Garden of Eden’), is a sacred space located in front of the ancient Mayan temples of Palenque, Chiapas, that welcomes thousands of people from all parts of the world year-round.
It helps to harmonize and provide solutions for the collective energy of the place and its visitors, including permaculture, yoga, art, temazcallis, medicine ceremonies, song circles, and dance. For more information visit http://www.jardin-palenque.com/.
Finally, Mexico and the world need more permaculture and sustainable settlements. As such, the ecovillage La Ventana (‘the Window’), is pairing up with several important NGOs from Mexico to develop a new Ecovillage Design Course in the heartland of the Mayan peoples. All details can be found at http://www.organi-k.net/ – !copia-de-cursos/cvkr
The latest good news for the Mexican network is the completion of our national, digital webpage. As a part of CASA (GEN’s Latin American branch of sustainable settlements), Mexico will now be starting a new network of interconnected projects available on our new website www.casamexico.net in 2015.
Thanks to the support of the Global Ecovillage Network, countries like Mexico can focus on growing community-based sustainability projects—as opposed to becoming concerned about when the rotting trees will (inevitably) fall down!