Mayan Agriculture and climate change

Screen Shot 2013-04-16 at 00.15.45
Antonio Mendoza, of Mayan activist group Oxlajuj Ajpop:What does cause us a great deal of concern is how to bring people together in the effort to refocus our behavior with respect to nature, global warming, and the neoliberal policies that only extract oil and minerals and install large factories, posing a serious threat to humanity. … The idea [behind Mayan organizations in Guatemala coming together in 2012] is to come together in unity and solidarity and salvage the valuable Maya knowledge about nature and Mother Earth

This new stage is extremely important for reflection and analysis about human coexistence and nature.Modern Mayans speaking up for environmental protection and protection of Mother Earth, and against neoliberal trade policies and extractive industries, is just another example of a wider Central and South American movement with roots in indigenous cultures speaking up for a different vision of humanity’s relationship with the planet.At the World People’s Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth, held in Bolivia, the following rights for Mother Earth, for Pachamama, were agreed upon:

The right to life and to exist; the right to continue vital cycles and processes free from human alteration; the right to pure water and clean air; the right to balance; the right to not be polluted; and the right to not have cellular structure modified or genetically altered. Controversially, it will also enshrined the right of nature “to not be affected by mega-infrastructure and development projects that affect the balance of ecosystems and the local inhabitant communities.” (The Guardian)

Screen Shot 2013-04-15 at 23.03.23

El Naranjo Vase, with a Ixim´che´ or Breadnut tree

Connection To the EarthWhat does it mean to have a spiritual connection to the land? For the Maya it means that they think about their natural environment in a certain way, they interact with nature in a certain way, and they engage in rituals that offer respect to the forces of nature. The Maya are one of many indigenous cultures around the world that engages in what is known as a nature-based religion.

Spiritual significance is found in all living things. The Maya revere each animal and plant. One tree – the ceiba or cottonwood tree – holds special significance as the Maya use it as a symbol of the power of nature. Symbolically, the branches hold up the sky and the roots keep the earth together. The copal tree is sacred as well, as it produces the resin and the bark that are burned in censers during spiritual ceremonies.

mayan compass The “four corners of the earth” or the earth’s cardinal points are also important to the Maya; they are even associated with specific colors. The colors of blue and green are also important as they signify the sky and the environment.The four corners are important when praying; for example, a man may look to or turn to all four corners as he prays in his milpa prior to planting his corn.
AgricultureThe Maya are sustained by their use of the land for agriculture. The land where their sustenance is cultivated begins right outside their front door and expands over a very broad area of their village. Herbs used in cooking are often grown in pots next to their homes. Orchards of oranges and fruit trees may be close to the residence or closer to farmland. Farmland begins outside the center of the village and may be as far away as a two-hour walk.

There are several types of farmland that involve different crops and cultivation methods. A milpa is a plantation that has been cut from the bush and burned before it is planted, a technique known as slash-and-burn. The fire releases nutrients back into the soil.

For the Maya, agriculture represents a cultural connection to the land as important as traditional languages, arts, and ceremonies. Key to that connection is corn.
The cultivation of corn is connected ecologically, socially, and spiritually to Mayan culture. Sacred spiritual rituals specifically concerning the burning of a milpa, selection and use of seeds, and the actual planting of the corn have existed since the time of the ancient Maya.
corn milpa
Corn milpa
There is also a cultural significance to the cacao (cocoa) bean. In ancient times cacao beans were used as currency. Today the drink made from the ground bean is served regularly during family and community gatherings. Finally, cacao trees are of such importance that they are passed from one generation to the next as part of a family’s inheritance.

Please go to:

Faced with global population growth, agriculture seeks the support of technology to meet the food demand. In contrast, in southeastern Mexico, the Mayan descendants practice ancestral rituals asking their gods to guarantes their harvest.

Here is a link to a very interesting article about Mayan Agriculture:

We have more power to help than we think.

Every penny we spend means something!

To be mindful of what we spend our money on can help save this world.

By choosing sustainable projects that are ethically focused, by investing and banking with company’s that are safe and not funding oil, war and other shortsighted activity that will lead to pollution  pain and death .

By choosing green energy as much as possible. By refusing to fund bad policys by informing ourselves will be a big step into helping our living planet.

Humanity is meant to Thrive