Biologist, Archeologist, Paleontologist, and Director of the Desert Museum.
The relevance of one of the most fragile ecosystems, the risks it faces, and how tourism can help this and other sites of great natural and historical value
Wetlands are crucial to maintaining healthy and balanced ecosystems and the planet itself. One of the many things that make Cuatro Ciénegas such a unique place is its unusual inland location, quite far from the coast. The reserve is a living natural laboratory where we can watch organisms that date back to the origins of life on Earth. For biologists, the specimens found in different water bodies are a great tool that helps us to understand evolution, as each of these lagoons and springs has singular and distinctive characteristics and fosters species with specific attributes to adapt to the conditions of each environment. Stromatolites are the best example of these organisms. They are 3,000 thousand-year-old microbial reefs that exist in very few places around the world. Today, Cuatro Ciénegas is home to more than 80 endemic animals and plants.
Sadly, this pre-historic legacy is in danger because of the overexploitation of its wellsprings. If it were to disappear, invaluable, one-of-a-kind life expressions would be lost, along with a water resource with healing and therapeutic properties.
The concept of regenerative tourism can play a crucial role to preserve high-priority sites. This new way of traveling goes beyond sustainable tourism and focuses on recuperating the environment through investing resources in programs oriented toward repairing the damage and regenerating. This new tourism is beneficial to communities, strengthens the social fabric, and generates a real awareness in travelers, who experience true contact with the essence of the place, which departs from the traditional concept oriented to indulging the visitor despite the degradation of the ecosystem, the precarity of the living condition of locals, and the loss of identity.
Cultural spaces are key to a change of mentality. Museums are the ideal place to create a sense of belonging, rooting, and love for the place where we live. It has been proven that cities with more of these sites generate more robust and aware communities.