Undoubtedly anyone who picks up Emily Wakild’s book will be totally ignorant of the fact that Mexico once experienced an extremely active period of national park creation. This is such a deeply hidden history that even Mexicans have forgotten about it. Such a lapse of memory is because the effervescence of creation lasted one administration, that of Lázaro Cárdenas (1934 – 40). What makes this episode worth rescuing from the dustbin of history is that, as Wakild convincingly argues, the creation of national parks was imbued with an ethic that integrated conservation and social justice into economic development. Local communities had real negotiating power in the process of establishing parks. Peasants, indigenous people, or campesinos (whichever concept is preferred to describe the sector involved) were agents with power in this instance. Wakild calls the process “democratic environmentalism” (p. 154), part of an ideology...

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