lunes. 15.07.2024
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Laguna de Bacalar, Quintana Roo, México

David lives in Xul Ha, a small village located on the shores of Bacalar Lagoon, the place where heaven is born. Every day, he wakes up to take tourists and friends to enjoy one of the most special events that can be experienced in this area: watching the sunrise in the middle of the lagoon while paddle surfing. Along with other friends, he works at Sup Green Monkey, organizing tours of various water activities to explore the lagoon. They also offer accommodation and various volunteering opportunities.

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The Colors of the Lagoon
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Dawn at the Lagoon

His social consciousness and concern for sustainability have led him to care for and protect the environment he lives in since he was a child. He spends most of his time with the lagoon and suffers seeing it in danger: "I remember the day when it all woke up with a brown color," he tells us. Several years ago, the Seven Color Lagoon, as it is also called due to its different shades of blue, turquoise, and green, appeared brown. This was probably due to an excess of environmental pollutants that led to the proliferation of invasive species, which unfortunately affected part of the native flora and fauna. "The bay was full of dead snails; it was a disaster, and the authorities did nothing," he said indignantly. The chivita snail is essential for the balance of the lagoon's ecosystem; without it, the survival of the lagoon as we know it today would be limited.

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David explaining the mangrove's life cycle

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These situations have driven David's activism, dedicating much of his time to cleaning plastic and all kinds of garbage from the lagoon. Moreover, he is taking on the responsibility of passing these values on to future generations. Selflessly, he teaches children in his community how to preserve the environment through paddle surfing: "Sometimes, I come home exhausted from work, and I find a kid waiting for me at the door, wanting to paddle and pick up trash again. So, I grab my board and head back to the lagoon," he says happily. In the village where he lives, children from some economically limited families help their parents with various tasks, which is why they cannot come regularly. David takes them paddling whenever they come looking for him.

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Searching for the sunrise from the lagoon

With the crystal-clear waters at our feet, he shows us the oldest evidence of life on Earth, the stromatolites. These are part of the most important fossil record of early microbiological life and can be seen here in the form of reefs. There are also many areas with stromatolites forming thanks to the activity of cyanobacteria that inhabit the lagoon, which also contribute to its characteristic turquoise color.

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Paddling among stromatolites in the Pirates' Channel

As we navigate through a growing maze of mangroves, he says, "This entire area used to be pure mangrove. But it was lost." However, he remains hopeful for a better future; it seems that there are emerging movements concerned about conserving the environment in Bacalar. Although the number of motorboat licenses has increased considerably, some aggressive projects, such as the construction of a restaurant on one of the islets in the lagoon, have been halted.

Stories like David's show us the changing mentality of the Mexican population, the growing concern for sustainability and nature conservation, and, above all, a better coexistence between the community and the environment.