If the world ends, don’t blame the Mayans

As most of us joke about the end of the world on Twitter using the #endoftheworld hashtag, 2% of Americans believe the prophecy foretold by ancient Maya (or Mayan) scribes and are out there scanning the heavens for fire and brimstone to rain down on us all. The Maya communities are taking a much more levelheaded approach to the end of 13 B’aqtun by celebrating the Maya way of life.

While the Maya celebrate, they deliver a strong warning: “If the apocalypse is coming, its cause isn’t Maya prophesy— it’s the damage to our planet caused by industrial capitalist societies.” At the current rate, that is exactly what we are going to do.

But maybe tomorrow there will be an apocalypse. Maybe some how, some way, humanity, or at least the leaders of the industrialized world, will have a revelation and a veil will be lifted that leads us away from the climate cliff we are currently hurdling ourselves towards at great speed. Or maybe the 24 out of 40,000 scientists that deny climate change will be proven right and we can all get back to consuming as much as we damn well please. I’ll take either one, but am not holding my breadth.

Below I have shared the rest of the Maya communities’ press release. Thank you to the Maya communities for continuing to share their wisdom with us, and let’s all pray that we find the energy and political will to survive the Maya prophecy and not be the makers of our own climatic apocalypse.


Maya communities mark end of 13 B’aqtun by celebrating Maya livelihoods & community resilience

Maya Leaders Alliance (MLA) and Toledo Alcaldes Association (TAA)
Cristina Coc, Spokesperson of the MLA, (501) 660-5583
Alfonso Cal, TAA President, (501) 667-3934 / 663-6912
Victor Cal, Coordinator for the Q’eqchi’ Healers Association, (501) 632-4588
Pablo Mis, MLA Program Director, (501) 662-1663

The world is watching the Maya region. Many people believe that the end of the world is coming because of a prophecy foretold by ancient Maya scribes, part of a civilization that has collapsed and a people who have disappeared. Yet we will mark the transition from 13 to a new B’aqtun (December 21-22, 2012) by sending three messages to the world:

  • The Maya people are not gone—and you don’t have to look to the ancient past to learn from us.
  • Maya livelihoods have much to teach the world—but are under threat and should be defended and celebrated.
  • If the apocalypse is coming, its cause isn’t Maya prophesy—it’s the damage to our planet caused by industrial capitalist societies.


We invite one and all to join us for the following events that we have planned to mark our
transition from 13 to a new B’aqtun (see attached flyer):

  • Thursday, December 20: symposium at the Maya community of Santa Cruz (2-5 PM) followed by a vigil.
  • Friday December 21: ‘mayehak’ (6 AM – 9 AM) performed by the spiritual guides, followed by a march from the community of Santa Cruz to Uchbenka where we will stage a press conference and celebration at the ruins with traditional music, food and cultural events.
  • Saturday, December 22: a public educational event (10-11 AM, Punta Gorda) entitled “We’re still here! Maya livelihoods today: threats and opportunities.”

From southern Mexico to Guatemala and Belize, Maya communities face daunting struggles against an array of companies and governments that wish to exploit their land and labor. In southern Belize, the government has ignored domestic and international laws as it continues to violate the Maya community’s land and natural resources. Still we persist. Our success has been as a result of our communities’ capacity to self-organize and mobilize – for instance through the Alcaldes – and to achieve unity within our communities. These are the source of our strength and organization which brought the successful 2007 and 2010 Supreme Court judgments for Maya land rights.


Maya communities recognize the Alcaldes as the fundamental authority for decision making. The role of the Maya Leaders Alliance (MLA) is to facilitate information and provide support to the traditional leaders as they engage with government and others. The Q’eqchi’ Healer’s Association was formed in 1984 to regulate and promote the practice of traditional Q’eqchi’ medicine and healing and to foster the health and well-being of the Q’eqchi’ people. Together we strive to mobilize communities to create a broad, unified political front and defend the wellbeing of our people and the environment. Our principle tool is community-based human rights education to build popular dignity and mobilization.



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