A Week in Nicte Ha's Life

June 29, 2023

Welcome to the fifth and final post of the photo essay series "A Week in the Life of a Mexican Environmentalist.” Our fifth post focuses on Nicte Ha’s photographs and fragments from an interview with her about her activism. You can read Fátima, Yameli, Citlalli, and Nicte Ha's full interviews here.

This series is edited by 2022-2023 PPEH Graduate Fellow Pablo Aguilera Del Castillo and PPEH Program Coordinator Campbell Knobloch. 


Protestors holding up sign in defense of water, life, and territory

"I am a Yucatec woman worried about the environment.  I am part of the start of another group in my home town Hunucmá where we organize events such as Water Festivals, and workshops on the importance of water rights and we help others get organized."

Group on a walk in wooded area
Group working on project together at table outside
People ascending Mayan pyramid

"It is really hard to realize that concerns over economic growth dominate the social, environmental, and cultural well-being of communities in the Yucatan. Currently, there is a constant struggle between our traditions, our ways of living, and the way we want to live, consume and produce stuff. The most powerful groups in the country are taking over our territories and are making it harder to live in this new kind of poverty. But I want to make it clear that poverty is not only defined by economic access. We could see poverty as something sad and devastating, but for me, it is way sadder to live the way we live. We are consumers of all the things that kill us."

Group meeting in a circle outdoors

"The Yucatan Peninsula is in a crisis, sold to large industries, which through their economic contributions end up taking away the power of the local people over the control of the water. National and transnational companies are responsible for the death and illness of many Yucatecans. Knowing this it is impossible not to feel outraged. And in this context, trying to become part of the solution becomes the best way to change this reality. I am inspired by the fact that previous social movements in Mexico have led to some of the biggest legal and political changes in the history of the country. That is, people raised their voices in the face of the injustices they experienced and they were able to change things. I sometimes think that it is invaluable to have seen with my own eyes the real problems, the inequalities, and the threats, but also the collective desire to make a change. Above everything else, I have seen the strong commitment of people to defend our water."

People praying outside
Beekeeping house

"Listening to activists has made me see the tangible risk that this work entails. I have started to become aware of how joining the environmental movement in Mexico is actually quite dangerous. However, I never want to limit myself. I want to continue fighting together with so many other people who have sacrificed unimaginable things for this fight. It is for them that I would never think of lowering my head. I will defend with all my heart the forms of nature that have no voice of their own because that is my duty as an inhabitant of this planet."

Man in blue shirt protesting