113 Children Join the Fight Against Corporate Destruction of Mangroves in Cancun

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When the Mexican government okayed the destruction of 143 acres of mangroves in Cancun to make way for Malecón Tajamar – a Fondo Nacional de Fomento al Turismo (Fonatur) real estate project that would bring offices, apartments, shopping malls, and a church – the community was outraged, according to Vice. Activists were able to step in before there was further damage.

Así cerramos la noche!!! No nos van a cansar!! Y no nos vamos a rendir!!! Necesitamos su apoyo!!! Acompáñenos!!!!…

Posted by Salvemos Manglar Tajamar on Thursday, January 21, 2016

Recently, the project was halted, and though a final ruling is still to come, 113 children are being credited with the victory. The children joined lawyers, environmentalists and other organizations to protest the building of the project, and one lawyer suggested that the children be the face of the movement – something that the BBC said helped tip the scales.

12-year-old Alberto was upset when he heard of Fonatur’s plans, and he immediately asked his mother about the animals who live in the mangroves. “I really like animals, any type of animal,” he told the BBC. “I don’t want them to be without a home because of construction in Tajamar. Also, the mangroves protect us against hurricanes, it weakens the impact.”

The Malecón Tajamar was first approved in 2005, but it’s not clear why the project wasn’t started sooner. Now that the group of children have filed a motion, activists are hoping that it’s not resolved until February 2016 – when the development authorization based on an environmental impact report will expire.

The Centro Mexicano de Derecho Ambiental (Cemda) has also called out Fonatur on some sus behavior, such as approving the project before the group formally presented it or alleging that Fonatur didn’t disclose that it would affect the mangroves. Alejandro Serrano, the Cancun director of Cemda said that since 2005, it has been illegal to make changes to mangrove zones.

Check out some art by the children who are working to save the mangroves: