Patricio Martin is a staff attorney for the Mexican Center for Environmental Law, a non-governmental organization (NGO) founded in 1993 that works to protect Mexico’s environment and natural resources. Based in Cancun, Patricio is the only staff attorney working to protect the fragile coral reef ecosystems of the region from threats by high-density hotel development, urban sprawl, and other forms of environmentally destructive economic development. Martin provides legal support for NGO’s, other social organizations, individuals, public officials, and members of the private sector who are working on protecting the natural resources of the state of Quintana Roo. He organizes conferences, workshops, and press events, and writes informational materials to increase the public’s awareness of the importance of mangrove protection, the consequences of over-growth of the tourist destinations, and how to keep abreast of the complex environmental situation of the Mexican Caribbean.
A significant project that Martin is working on is the protection of Cayo Centro, a three-mile long barrier island in the Banco Chinchorro Biosphere Reserve, the Caribbean’s largest atoll, whose healthy and breathtakingly varied ecosystem is currently threatened by the cruise-ship industry. Martin and other antidevelopment activists hold workshops at fishing cooperatives and schools, encourage residents of the island to speak out, to learn zoning laws, and to expose violations by the developers.