Mangrove trees can be found all over Mexico, and along with adding to the lush and tropical vibe of the country, these trees also serve an important purpose as hurricane buffers and home to assorted wildlife. Heavy development, especially in tourist areas such as Cancún, has resulted in a loss of at least 10% of mangrove-covered areas, but that trend may change as the result of a surprising recent legal ruling. Due to the work of 113 local Mexican children in Cancún, a significant portion of mangroves that were slated for removal have been preserved. In a landmark legal suit for Mexico, the children claimed that they have a right to a healthy environment and that the proposed construction would be a violation of their collective rights. Amazingly, the judge ruled in their favor to permanently suspend the mixed-use development project and preserve the 170 acres of mangrove forest. But it’s not quite that simple in the end…

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The judge has asked the children to pay a bond of $1.2 million dollars to compensate the developers for their losses — and the Cancún project investors’ losses are being calculated around $900 million dollars! Unless there’s a Kardashian among that mix of kids, it’s pretty unlikely they’ll be able to pay, so the children’s attorneys are attempting to point out that the bond shouldn’t apply to children. Despite the hefty bond fee, the judge’s ruling is an encouraging sign that lawmakers are considering the interests of future generations and choosing environment over development. Other (adult) environmentalists have been protesting the original concept for the contested space since planning began twenty years ago. The cleared area was to include homes, shops, a boardwalk, and restaurants. Nice work, kids, and thanks for inspiring us to remember that even the youngest voices can make a difference!

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via Quartz

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