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Ranchers Confront Climate Change in Chiapas

Ranchers Confront Climate Change in Chiapas

I was born in Mexico City, but my parents are from Chiapas and I was raised in Chiapas and Veracruz. Even when I was a teenager I always wished to go back to Chiapas to work for the protection of its wildlife and its forests. Before I joined The Nature Conservancy in June of 2011, I worked for many years in the El Triunfo Biosphere Reserve in the Sierra Madre, the mountain range along Chiapas’ Pacific coastline. This is a beautiful land; I was the director of this reserve for almost eight years. It’s one of the most diverse places in the Americas. It is Paradise to me.

To show the mountains to people from other parts of the world – and to introduce them to the villagers who live here – is an unusual but gratifying experience. Sometimes I wonder how they see the world I grew up in. Do they understand why the Conservancy’s climate adaptation efforts are so important – to the land and the people?

This video (in English, and en Español) is a special report by Deutsche Welle TV, a global TV station based in Germany, on the initiative we help carry out in Chiapas with support from the German International Climate Initiative, one the major funders of the Conservancy’s climate adaptation program in the Chiapas Sierra Madre. I spent five days with the crew making the video: one from Berlin, one from Argentina and one from Mexico. They had never been to Chiapas before.

The video is a good introduction to our adaptation work here. The Sierra Madre is near ground zero for climate change in Latin America. Our project involves helping villagers who make their living from ranching, growing coffee and other kinds of agriculture do a better job of managing their land. This means reforesting steep mountain slopes, changing grazing practices, identifying alternative livelihoods.  We work with many partners, including state and federal government agencies and other NGOs.

We think our work could change the way government agencies address climate change throughout Mexico. Also, it could set an example for how other people in other countries will have to deal with the challenges of climate change. It will be very important for us to continue to get support from other countries – so this video is not only informative but potentially very helpful to our ongoing efforts.

Alejandro Hernandez is The Nature Conservancy’s Watershed Coordinator  for Mexico and Northern Central America, based in Tuxtla Gutierrez, capital of the state of Chiapas, Mexico. This post is adapted from a recent Planet Change blog, devoted to enhancing the conversation on climate change and inspiring actions of all sizes. Opinions expressed here are the personal opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Nature Conservancy.

Video: Deutsche Welle TV.

Image Credit: Danny Huynh/Students of the World (Alejandro Hernandez has returned to his family roots in Chiapas, Mexico to help protect the Sierra Madre region from a rapidly changing climate.)

By Alejandro Hernandez, The Nature Conservancy‘s Watershed Coordinator  for Mexico and Northern Central America

Read more: Community, Environment, Global Healing, Green, Make a Difference, Nature, Nature & Wildlife, Videos

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10:27AM PST on Mar 1, 2013

thanks for sharing :)

5:35PM PST on Feb 20, 2013

Good to hear. I bought 2 pounds of coffee grown in Chiapas because it was organic and fair trade- we all can encourage responsible stewardship of the land by purchasing things that were produced in sustainable ways.

5:22PM PST on Feb 20, 2013

Thanks for sharing!

2:03AM PST on Feb 20, 2013

Great.Thanks for sharing

6:13PM PST on Feb 11, 2013


11:15AM PST on Feb 11, 2013

How wonderful! I hope you are able to teach this basic message of living in harmony with nature to many other parts of the world as well :) Please keep up the good work and God bless :)

11:14AM PST on Feb 11, 2013

How wonderful! I hope you are able to teach this basic message of living in harmony with nature to many other parts of the world as well :) Please keep up the good work and God bless :)

7:36AM PST on Feb 11, 2013

wow...what a great job...thanks for sharing

12:10AM PST on Feb 11, 2013


6:17PM PST on Feb 10, 2013

Great work!

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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