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  • Hiking through the jungle with my filming team, I find myself panting. The air is sweltering and feels like a wet wash rag on my lungs as it is over 90% humidity and 90 degrees. In my mind I had always imagined a jungle as a cool refuge from the direct sun, but here in the jungles of the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve in Mexico, the trees and undergrowth prevent even the slightest breeze so it seems closer to 100 degrees as we hike.

    Antonio Caamal, our Mayan guide, is not affected by the heat. He is light-on-his-feet and suggests we go just a bit further through the jungle to visit a pyramid. We hike on, drenched in sweat and panting, until the thick semi-tropical jungle opens up before us.

    Suddenly the air is lighter as an ancient highway is carved through the middle of the jungle. Here you see Antonio standing next to the road which is made of limestone rocks. At one time the road was flat and even, but now it is pocked with plants and rocks which have heaved up, so the going is treacherous.

    We pay close attention to each step as Antonio explains that the highway and the pyramids are also protected by UNESCO’s Man and the Biosphere Program. No one is allowed to cut a single weed or tree on the property without permission and the Mayan people's that live on the property and their ancient pyramids and highway are also protected so that the Mayan people can work to preserve their heritage and way of life.

    My team and I hike carefully over the highway and imagine what it would be like to live hundreds of years ago among the Mayan's; to experience these ruins as they once were. We are quiet, even reverent, as we carefully step across the highway and know that the road to saving a people is about protecting the environment with which they live.
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