It took me a while to face my fear, financial loss and frustration regarding the issue of illegal logging on my land in Belize. How do we deal with people that are illegally cutting, logging and stealing trees that are private property or protected national resources? The significant damage, deforestation and destruction that occurs with their primitive illegal logging and board cutting is a serious matter in the rainforest of Belize and many other countries. Having written about it before, now it is up close and personal with people doing this illegal activity on my property in Belize. As a follow up to Earth Day it seemed appropriate to share my personal experience with this destructive and devastating environmental issue. As a long term environmentalist and eager eco developer, designing an eco friendly and green development based on renewable resources and sustainability standards has become a big part of my leadership lifestyle and passion purpose. My passion project is to investigate, research and understand various building designs, materials and methods to determine those that will best serve our Belize Eco Village businesses, homes and projects.  We are committed to creating an aesthetically appealing, eco friendly, financially strong and sensibly sustainable Belize Eco Village education and wellness center plus wildlife sanctuary on our 149+ acres of land in Stann Creek district of Belize.

Food, Lumber or Rainforest?

Bulldozer in Belize

As a long term environmentalist and eager eco developer, designing an eco friendly and green development based on renewable resources and sustainability standards has become a big part of my leadership lifestyle and passion purpose. Photo by Michael Morningstar.

Did you know we are losing global rainforests at an alarming rate and it is one of the most catastrophic, complex and counter productive crisis in the world? Trees are being cut down at an alarming rate to: grow food for animals and humans, make paper products, produce feedstock and fuels, provide firewood for cooking and lumber for building. There are better methods than cutting down rainforest trees for all of these needs. Stabilized Compressed Earth Block(SCEB) homes are more cost efficient than wood homes, hemp is better for making paper products, permaculuture principles are a better way to provide more sustainable foods, solar ovens are efficient for cooking and 2×3 stoves are significantly more efficient than open fires. All these effective, efficient and eco friendly ideas will save many regions of rainforest from being destroyed.

As part of my research for the Belize Eco Village and Wellness Center it is vital to investigate various topics for ideas, insights and inspiration to reverse human damage and destruction of our environment. My current focus is learning about Caribbean and Central America resources and role models for helpful ideas and incentives to build better communities. The goal is to find ways to design, build and live with more effective and efficient eco strategies and eco systems. A recent visit to Christopher Nesbitt at the Maya Mountain Research Farm offered different approaches for agroforestry, food production, lifestyle, off grid living and permaculture principles that would help stop excess logging and slash and burn methods and start sustainable strategies. He is a great business success and sustainability role model to prevent destroying the ecology and ecosystems of the rainforest. He also built a variety of buildings with clever designs using the local building materials.

I am impressed and inspired by their master plan focused on permaculture principles of rebuild, recycle, reduce, regenerate, renew, rethink, reuse and review. He has great values and visions regarding what it requires for people in a community to be successful and sustainable. Christopher has taught many students from many countries to understand how eco communities and permaculutre are smart and sustainable. They promote eco friendly, green and sustainable as they walk the talk. They are currently putting energy, money and time into creating, designing and researching  eco community development and gladly share their information. Christopher understands the need to protect the environment and offers guidance for habitat preservation and protection. Learning the materials and methods will benefit us all with updated and upgraded ideas to create a higher standard for regenerative methods beyond sustainability for our Belize Eco Village. International Permaculture Day is May 3rd so it might be a great time to watch Greening the Desert by Geoff Lawton.

His knowledge of compost toilets, green building methods, passive design features, passive solar water heaters, rain catch and solar panels represents a quantum leap forward for simple efficiency and sustainability. Properly designed homes will be comfortable and cool. Utilizing a reasonable amount of land for community gardens, green space and permaculutre principles will help create a Garden of Eden. By updating and upgrading building materials, methods and mindset we can all be even more eco friendly and sustainable for the future.

Sustainable Systems Save Trees

Building site

A Dwell Earth building site.

As more ecologically friendly and passionate people put their heads and hearts together it will soon be self evident that one of the most environmentally friendly and financially feasible long term solutions to save trees is to use Stabilized Compressed Earth Blocks (SCEB) for construction of businesses and homes. Expanding our education and experience with SCEB will help more people make better choices when it comes to building better businesses and homes. James Hallock is the home building expert that first educated me to the benefits of SCEB for building better homes.  SCEB are made with local clay, sand and 10% cement or lime that is compressed and shaped in a powerful press. This creates a consistent and strong SCEB which is not a fired but is naturally cured slowly to be very durable and long lasting. SCEB machines are being manufactured in Africa, India, Mexico and the US so builders can easily use this method instead of using lots of lumber.  SCEB homes are extremely energy efficient and eco friendly because they insulate against heat or cold and are locally sourced, long lasting and low cost long term. The homes can reasonably expect to last for over a hundred years if not a thousand years with minimal care and maintenance. Learn more about SCEB technology from Adam and Bob De Jong the experts at DwellEarth.

Beyond Sustainability Code of Conduct

His ideas, intentions and inspiration will help with our guidelines and home owners manual for safety, self sufficiency and sustainability. We will avoid spraying synthetic chemical compounds like fungicides, herbicides, insecticides and pesticides on our property. These synthetic chemical compounds are toxic to people, plants and planet. It is obvious the long and short tern consequences are too risky to animals, babies, bats, bees, birds, butterflies and beautiful people living in our community to allow the use of toxic products. We will maintain very high standards for living in a chemical and toxin free environment to protect the air, food, homes, soil and water. Our Declaration of Protective and Restrictive Covenants and Design Standards will adopt best practices of permaculture, regenerative, renewable and sustainable principles.

Healthy Habits & Habitats

Rows of Seedlings

Photo by Michael Morningstar.

In 2017 Morningstar NEWS will continue our focus 50% on Healthy Habits and 50% on Healthy Habitats and Sustainability Strategies. We are designing our new Belize Eco Village master planned community by researching and role modeling other projects. The vision is to attract a wide variety of eco-conscious and passionate people to help design, build and live in an eco friendly, healthy and sustainable community. Imagine a piece of paradise where people will live, retire, visit and work while enjoying an even more happy, healthy and in harmony lifestyle. We will focus on ideas, insights and inspiration as we provide more progress pictures and vivid videos about solutions, stewardship and sustainability. Stay tuned for progress posts with steps, strategies, suggestions and systems to develop the 149 acres of pristine Caribbean pine ridge and riparian forest into a Belize Eco Village master planned eco community.

Where is Your Gap?

What behaviors, beliefs and decisions regarding your habits and habitats are harming your happiness, health and home we call earth? What will it take for you to protect your family, self and our world from damage, degradation and destruction? What steps will help you stop being part of the problem and start being part of the solution instead?

Mastery Action Plan (MAP)

It is well documented that our daily habits and habitats greatly impact our happiness and health. There is a wealth of wisdom regarding a wide variety of healthy habits to start and health hazards to stop. What are you willing to do differently to protect your self and Mother Nature with better choices? Creating a healthy habits and habitat code of conduct and mastery action plan will enhance our quality of life for all. Are you ready to do your personal part for rapid results? Have you seen the documentary Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret yet? According to the documentary by Kip Anderson animal agriculture is the leading cause of deforestation, water consumption and pollution. Did you know there are  over 70 billion animals raised for food? The earth cannot sustain that many agriculture animals and healthy humans. Earth Day was April 22, 2017 and there are simple ideas and information here to help you be part of the solution. Remember  Earth Day Every Day.

Call to Action

What comments, commitments or concerns come to mind regarding healthy habits and habitats to save rainforests? Are you ready to learn more and join our terrific team?

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Next Morningstar NEWS Blog

International Permaculutre Day May 3