Mexico Takes Aim at Mennonite Deforestation
In the eyes of ecologists, Mennonites' ranches are an environmental disaster
The largest tropical forest in North America yields to perfect rows of corn and soy. Light-haired women with blue eyes in wide-brimmed hats bump down a dirt road in a horse and buggy, past simple brick homes and a whitewashed schoolhouse: A Mennonite community in southern Mexico.
Here, in the state of Campeche on the Yucatan Peninsula at the northern edge of the Maya Forest, the Mennonites say they live to traditional pacifist values and that expanding farms to provide a simple life for their families is the will of God.
In the eyes of ecologists and now the Mexican government, which once welcomed their agricultural prowess, the Mennonites' ranches are an environmental disaster rapidly razing the jungle, one of the continent's biggest carbon sinks and a home to endangered jaguars.
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