In Mexico, there are around 182 protected natural jungle areas, including the country’s most important lung: the Lacandon Jungle. A jewel of megadiversity that hosts 625 butterfly species, 114 mammal species, 345 bird species, and 84 reptile species, in addition to 3,400 plant species, 160 of which can be found in a single hectare, and jointly representing 15% of the vegetables that exist in Mexico.
This wonderful and essential ecosystem is constantly endangered for a range of reasons.
In the last decades, human settlements have trespassed the limits of the protected area and have started to build houses on irregular lands. On the other hand, the deforestation that has been accelerating due to exploitative logging and the use of resources for livestock have damaged it through the years.
A third factor that is decisive and can determine the future of the Lacandon Jungle is climate change, which is the direct responsibility of human activity worldwide, so we’re also responsible for reducing and reverting its effects.
Today we will speak about the 7 ways in which you can help stop the destruction of the Mexican jungle by contributing your grain of sand.
1: Knowledge is power! Investigate the origin of the products you consume..
Some of the products we buy may be directly or indirectly linked to the exploitation of natural resources related to the Mexican jungle. However, knowing the exact origin of a product with the naked eye is very complicated.
We recommend that you search the internet (if possible) for the origin of the products you purchase, for example, today it is well known that mahogany furniture must have a certificate stating that its supply chain is “environmentally friendly”. There are other cases where the origin of the materials is more difficult to trace, but without a doubt being informed in advance will make you a more sustainable buyer.
2: Reuse: One of the best practices you can adopt.
Buying used items (wood furniture or other wooden home accessories) and extending their useful life is one of the everyday actions focused on sustainability for excellence. And not only furniture, buying clothing and other articles at second hand bazaars saves hundreds of liters of water for the planet and reduces your personal carbon footprint.
3: Support and promote the Jungle’s Biocultural Protection.
Human settlements in the jungle respond to a need for housing according to the population growth of the place and the political or even agrarian conflicts that have historically affected the communities close to this ecosystem. It is important to vote for government policies that help create a plan where communities can prosper with a high respect for natural resources, creating a symbiosis where the population is in charge of protecting those resources.
4: Reinforce your sustainable habits at home!
As we read at the start, direct actions to protect the Lacandon Jungle will not be enough if we don’t revert the effects of a larger and more global process: climate change.
All of your sustainable actions add up: reducing meat consumption, choosing cleaner transportation than the car or buying local are habits you could permanently adopt.
5: Support organizations that work for the jungle.
Signing online petitions may not be enough when it comes to supporting mother nature from home. There are several initiatives and NGOs actively promoting the protection of the Mexican jungle and some have donation systems or even sell items to continue their activity.
6: Responsible tourism
For many, personally visiting the jungle is a dream in their bucket list, so it is important that if you ever travel there, make sure to respect the environment, as well as planning your trip (lodging, services, tour guide) at places and with organizations that have the credentials certifying them as environmentally responsible.
7: Don’t buy exotic animals.
Endemic fauna lives in the Lacandon Jungle and is often threatened or in danger of extinction, such as the river otter, the jaguar, the spider monkey and the river crocodile, among many others. Although it may seem tempting to own an exotic bird, the reality is that this only fuels the terrible animal smuggling market that each year increases the environmental imbalance by changing the fauna’s survival habits and diminishing the populations.
The jungle is a complex and fragile ecosystem, so it is everyone’s responsibility to protect it so that it can continue to fulfill its function as the lung of Mexico. Its natural resources and animal inhabitants comprise an invaluable treasure for the country and humanity.