Yolanda López-Maldonado is an Indigenous researcher with experience in freshwater issues and Indigenous peoples. She joined GESA 2014, went on to co-organise the first GEN Latin American regional academy in 2015, and now sits on the GDF-US Board of Directors.
In her article Can the Cenotes be Saved? Biocultural Conservation in Yucatan, Mexico in Langscape Magazine’s recent edition on the theme Biocultural Diversity Conservation: Communities at the Cutting Edge, Yolanda introduces readers to cenotes (from the Mayan word d’zonot, “sinkhole”):
“Yucatán is an area with many places of cultural and environmental significance, most of them water related, including traditional sacred natural sites such as springs, landscapes. and caves, as well as human-made monuments. The Maya, one of the ancient cultures that developed in the region, have a particular worldview related to the use of the cenotes as a source of freshwater.”
Read about the cultural and spiritual values of cenotes, and what inspired Yolanda to direct her efforts to caring about what surrounds her: water!
As an academic woman, I learned that freshwater is a life-sustaining resource. As a Maya woman, I was taught about the importance and sacredness of life.