Published On: Sat, Feb 26th, 2022

“Cenotes must be protected as living entities with rights,” says Maya lawyer-activist Samantha Colli

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There must be a paradigm shift: recognize the land, ecosystems and cenotes as living entities that must be subjects of rights to be protected, stressed Samantha Colli, international consultant in eco-social regeneration. 

(MERIDA, YUC. – ).- “The levels of contamination to which these bodies of water and the Maya aquifer have reached “are alarming”, we are facing an ecological and social crisis”, Colli acknowledged.

The Maya activist and lawyer indicated the above on February 24 during the seminar “The human right to water and the self-determination of indigenous peoples”, where she presented, together with Yameli Aguilar Duarte, the report on the cenotes of the Yucatan peninsula as subjects of rights. 

The event was organized by the Due Process Foundation (Dplf), and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights in Mexico (ONU-DH Mexico).

Samantha explained that the crisis in which the cenotes find themselves invites us to seek complex solutions, given the contamination of the aquifer, therefore this report aims to generate reflection, open the debate academically through organizations, together with the Maya peoples. 

The creator of the Maya Loom project (El Telar Maya) indicated that we live in a collective narrative that sees the earth as a kind of supermarket, where we can obtain everything we need to satisfy our needs, however, at the same time we see it as a sewer.

This vision, she added, has led us to separate ourselves from nature. of perceiving it as something that is out there; However, these crises make us consider another way of looking at things, obtaining the best of modernity and the ancestral systems that have preserved biodiversity for centuries. 

“Reconnect with the notion that the earth is an organic and living system and that its ecosystems are still alive,” she said.

We must change, the way in which we understand ourselves as human beings and that the basis of this renewed vision of the world is also the worldviews of indigenous peoples, she stressed.

Samantha Colli (Photo:

The Riviera Maya Times



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