What is sustainability? As a long term environmentalist and eager eco developer, designing an eco friendly and green development based on sustainability has become a big part of my life purpose and lifestyle. It has become a passion project to investigate, research and understand various building designs, materials and styles to determine what will best serve our homes and projects in our Belize Eco Village. Building materials that are clean, green, renewable, safe and sustainable will definitely play a prominent role in our master planned community. We are committed to creating an aesthetically appealing, environmentally friendly, financially solid and sensibly sustainable Belize Eco Village community on the 149 acres of land.
What is Sustainability?
Did you know that 193 member countries of the United Nations in 2015 adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Goals? This appears to outline some of the best benchmarks for what sustainability means? The Agenda includes 17 Sustainable Development Goals and 169 targets to be reached by 2030.
As part of my research for the Belize Eco Village and Wellness center it has been helpful to investigate other projects for ideas, insights and inspiration on embracing the best practices of sustainability. My specific focus is on learning about Caribbean and Central American destinations for resources and role models that walk the talk with regards to sustainability. The goal is to find a way to blend the best of several eco communities, lodges, resorts, spas and wellness centers into our project. While visiting the TAO Mexico eco project recently it appeared they have missed a few key components of sustainability. Fortunately we were able to visit the Ahau Tulum a small boutique hotel and restaurant that is “off grid” on the Tulum beach for ideas. They appear to be a great business success and sustainability role model that have put a lot of effort and thought into their project. They have built a variety of cabanas and restaurant with clever styling and various local building materials. Most of their buildings are rock, wood and thatch roofs. While fairly eco friendly and sustainable they are also vulnerable to deterioration and the elements being in a tropical environment.
While I was originally impressed and inspired by the TAO master plan that has evolved to some disappointment by the lack of key focus on sustainability. Unfortunately when we asked the TAO representatives they did not have a good answer or vision regarding what it means for a community to be sustainable. In their defense the TAO Mexico developer is looking into that now for a future eco sustainable community project they are currently planning. While the owner has traveled to many destinations to visit international eco communities and wellness centers to inspire the TAO Mexico development he has missed some key details. Their brochures, master plan and website promote eco friendly and green while they have not yet learned enough about sustainability. We learned they are currently putting more energy, money and time into designing and researching a new eco community focused on sustainability and look forward to learning more about it soon. Being near the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve and required to comply with serious habitat preservation it is apparent their construction materials and methods will benefit from being updated and upgraded to create a new and true standard of sustainability.
Their buildings can be designed to require less concrete and iron support beams while being more eco friendly and efficient. With awareness of green building, LEED and passive design features there is an opportunity to be more optimally designed for efficiency and sustainability. Ideas like double pane UV reflective glass, passive solar water heaters, rain catch, shared washing machines, solar panels, Stabilized Compressed Earth Blocks (SCEB) and wind turbines would be a quantum leap forward. Properly designed homes would be comfortable and cool without large Air Conditioning (AC) units or only use small zone AC units. Maintaining a reasonable amount of land for community gardens, green space and permaculutre principles will help create a local Garden of Eden appearance and appreciation. By updating and upgrading building materials, methods and mindset we can all be even more eco friendly and sustainable for the future.
As more ecologically and environmentally friendly and passionate people put their heads and hearts together it will soon appear self evident that one of the most environmentally friendly and financially freeing long term solutions will be to use Stabilized Compressed Earth Block construction technology (SCEB) for homes. James Hallock is the eco home building expert who educated me to the benefits of SCEB construction for building better homes. The SCEB are usually made with local clay, sand and 10% cement or lime that is hydraulically or manually compressed and shaped in a powerful press. This creates a consistent and strong Stabilized Compressed Earth Block which is not a fired brick but is naturally cured slowly to become very strong. SCEB is incredibly durable and resistant to normal home hazards like bugs, fire, lightning, storms and winds. SCEB technology machines are being manufactured in Africa, India, Mexico and the US so buildings can easily use this method instead of the much less eco friendly cement block.
Stabilized Compressed Earth Block construction 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. This is another reason that Stabilized Compressed Earth Block construction could be chosen as the building material of choice. Learn more about SCEB construction from Adam and Bob De Jong the experts at DwellEarth.
Sustainability Code of Conduct
They did share some of their ideas and intentions for guests and residents to follow but did not fully disclose their guidelines and home owners ppolicies for self sufficiency and sustainability. Will they avoid spraying synthetic chemical compounds like fungicides, herbicides, insecticides and pesticides on their property? These synthetic chemical compounds are toxic to people, plants and the planet. It is obvious the long and short tern consequences are too risky to the animals, bees, birds, butterflies and beautiful people living in the TAO Mexico community to allow the use of toxic cleaning and outdoor products. Will they maintain very high standards for living in a chemical free environment to protect the air, food, homes, soil and water. While they support holistic health and natural nutrition will they adopt leading edge renewable and sustainable principles? These are many questions about restrictive covenants and design standards still to be addressed and disclosed.
Healthy Habits & Habitats
In 2017 Morningstar NEWS will focus 50% on Healthy Habits and 50% on Healthy Habitats and Sustainability Strategies. Our new Belize Eco Village master planned community is a composite of master mind projects to role model the best of the best. My passion project is to interview, research and visit super sustainability projects to learn, mentor and role model them. 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 community.
Where is Your Gap?
What behaviors, beliefs and decisions about your habits and habitats are harming your health and the planet? What will it take for you to protect your family, self and the planet from damage, degradation and destruction? How can you stop being part of the problem and start being part of the solution instead?
Mastery Action Plan (MAP)
It is well documented that the beverages and foods we consume and the quality of structures we live and work in greatly impact our health. There is a wealth of wisdom on my blog and the internet regarding a wide variety of healthy habits to start and health hazards to avoid. What are you willing to do differently to protect your self and our planet with better choices? A healthy habits and healthy habitat code of conduct and mastery action plan will enhance the quality of life for everyone. Are you ready to do your personal part for rapid real results? Here is a sample United Nations action plan with some simple sustainability steps.
Call to Action
What comments, commitments or concerns come to mind regarding the many benefits of healthy habits and healthy habitats ? Are you ready to learn more and join our terrific team?
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