Contributions of the Mayans to Sustainability

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A lot of Latin American ethnic groups have contributed to sustainability by growing organic foods, and especially coffee. These groups include the Mayans, Mexicans, and other groups. They grow organic coffee mostly in Chiapas, which is in the southern part of Mexico. Even long ago Mayans have always engaged in practicing sustainable agriculture, since it is part of their beliefs and culture.

“They [Mayans] knew a great deal about their own ecology, and all their systems of land management were sophisticated” (Maser 203). They did not go in and use up the land and then leave it, as most of the world is doing today, Mayans cultivated the land and knew what to grow, since this was their way of surviving. What distinguishes them from most of the world today is that they took pride in their land. The way they practiced sustainable agriculture was by “Constructing pet kotoob (plural for pet kot, which is Mayan for a “round wall of stone” two to three feet high). Each such enclosure is about the size of a backyard garden. Within these pet kotoob, the Mayans grew many kinds of exotic agricultural plants, such as herbs, shrubs, and trees, along with indigenous plants” (Maser 203). This was about 2,000 years ago, yet some ethnic groups in Latin America still practice sustainable agriculture.

Even though Mayan agriculture is very sustainable, the Mexican government has been trying to stop it since the introduction of agricultural technologies, because it is a faster way for production. “This reached a crescendo in the early nineteenth century with introduced sugar, henequen and cattle production, and a related tenure regime, that violated the principles of the cyclical balance” (Williams 28). The Mayans have started to lose their spiritual connections with the land, because they believe that the land should be taken care of so it could be used every year. “Clearly the Mayan historic practices are being threatened by a new productive technology that pays...
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