Close-ups of beautiful vines, which seem to cover most walls here..
Another striking thing about Ajijic is the proliferation of green on all sides. There are gardens and trees wherever you look, and the ubiquitous stone walls are generally covered with flowering vines. Biodiversity, already very high in this part of Mexico, is astounding. Although many non-native species of plants are grown around houses, birds of many colors, small animals and insects are in abundance. The surrounding mountains, largely undeveloped and disturbed only by some traditional agriculture, are also sources of beauty and biodiversity.
Most large cities don't have the nature-rich, mountainous backdrop of Ajijic (nor the near-ideal climate), but there is no reason they can't adopt the sustainable and biodiversity-enriching practices I see around me here. Many streets and alleyways in U.S. cities could be, at least in part, made from permeable, natural pavements. I mention the U.S. because in Europe permeable streets are much more common. Both European and American cities can strengthen efforts to increase the variety of trees and shrubs they plant, choosing those varieties that encourage and nurture wildlife. Spaces that generally are not green, such as the walls of buildings, can be retrofitted to support vines and other plants and provide nesting sites for birds. These may seem like radical ideas, but here in Ajijic they surround you on all sides. I will miss this corner of Mexico.