Last week with the first nightly rainstorm of the season, one of those grand 40-foot heritage trees that grew near the Lake on the Ajijic beach fell. The winds of the storm were especially strong that night, and I think most people figured that was what caused the tree to fall.
However, there was aonther critical detail. The tree had absolutely no roots! There was absolutely nothing left of the root system to hold this great tree to earth, thus all it needed was one strong blast of wind to topple it over. If this had happened during the day when hundreds of people were about, it could have been a massive tragedy.
The tree’s root system likely fell victim to the same things that happened to the wetlands that were in and around the Lake in front of where the tree fell. Those wetland habitats on the playa were suddenly bulldozed about three months ago, and chemicals like Roundup were sprayed there and along the shore and paths along the Malecon to keep any roots or seedlings from springing up again. All in the name of “creating a place for people to play along the beautiful lake shore.”
The social-minded politicians who dreamed up this cockamamie plan “airbrushed it” by clearing out the land all the way back to the lakeside road.Then they installed new exercise equipment, again for the enjoyment of the many visitors to the beautiful shores of Lake Chapala. No one seemed to think about — much less care — that they were destroying the very things that make this place magical: the habitat of about a dozen different species of shore birds, other fish and wildlife, and the beautiful trees and grasses that grow along the beach. Neither did anyone seem to take note of the fact that these same chemicals will eventually leach deep into the soil and attack the roots of the other heritage trees and shore grasses as well. What were they thinking?
It seems highly likely that with successive storms, others in this grand stand of trees will fall victim too. It’s a tragedy of immense proportion. And it all occurred under some politicians’ notion that clean-clearing would help establish Ajijic as a “Pueblo Magico.”
In the words of my great-great-grandpa: Balderdash!
The factories and farms along the Lerma have already made the lake a polluted mess by dumping massive amounts of chemicals and waste into the source that feeds the lake. This pollution is an ongoing daily activity that dangerously affects the supply of clean water for millions of people. It will take years — and billions of pesos — to clean it up. Countless children in villages along the river are dying from this pollution. Now, in the name of “progress’ it appears the shoreline is the next to be attacked.
Once again I ask: What are they thinking and how in the name of everything sacred do we stop this madness?