Businesses around the world are taking after environmentalist and primatologist, Jane Goodall, tailoring their building approach to an ecological and sustainable one. Here’s how they have been taking steps toward this goal and why it’s important.
The rise of tourism has played an important role in the growth of economically stable regions across the globe, that would otherwise fall on financial hardships. Unfortunately, however, this economic growth can sometimes come at the expense of the environment and wildlife residing in the regions where rural tourism is on the rise.
One of the up and coming luxury resorts in Tulum, Mexico, Kaaba Luum, is looking to follow in the footsteps of well-known environmentalist and primatologist, Jane Goodall. The process of creating an eco-friendly resort takes careful thought and dedication, but the team working to build Kaaba Luum is determined to make this happen. Here are five ways in which they’ve made an added effort towards land and animal preservation, and why it is important for others to continue this conservation effort.
Using locally sourced materials
Kaaba Luum is the first property inside a portfolio of properties being built all around the world. The meaning of Kaaba Luum in the native Mayan language is “Earth’s Origin”. This name represents its connection with both Mother Earth and the birthing experience that every human and living being is connected to. With this in mind, their developers have been working exclusively with indigenous and traditional materials throughout the entirety of their building process.
Every material used at Kaaba Luum was selected with intention. Instead of the traditional concrete, they used a technique called “chukum,” a term derived from the colloquial name for the Havardia albicans tree native to Mexico. Made with chukum tree bark, the material has several defining qualities that separate it from traditional stucco, including impermeable properties and a natural earthy color. More importantly, it is significantly less invasive and ecological. Zapote Wood was used throughout the property as the decks, stairs, and even the Zacate for the palapa. Local giles and roots were used to build the perimeter and tunnels which you will see all throughout the property and hand cut, indigenous mayan stone was used as the final touch on every villa.Inviting unnatural and non-local materials to an environment that has remained untouched for decades can be harmful to the wild fauna and flora that resides within the region.
Eco-friendly materials and composting
When a business that is introduced to a new region invests in sustainable and biodegradable materials, their waste production minimizes by over 70%. A huge problem within the hospitality industry that coexists with rural tourism is the issue of wasted food. Thus by utilizing composting techniques, it can reduce methane emissions (CH4) and helps to build healthy soil, reduce runoff, control erosion, and support local wildlife. Through recycling organic waste, composting helps multiple aspects of natural systems.
Leaving the land untouched
Mass tourism has already changed the landscape of places like Mexico, which has already lost 65% of its mangroves. The natural beauty of the land is what drives rural tourism, especially in places like Tulum, where the Mayan Jungle is carved by beautiful rivers and cenotes. Kaaba Luum employed over 60 local Mayans on this project and these builders never used any heavy machinery throughout the process, in order to protect the natural land. With over 500 acres of protected jungle, this eco-conscious resort promises to build on only 15% of the total surface area of its property, leaving 85% of the local wildlife untouched in the process of its development.
Biodigesters (or other examples of waste reduction)
A biodigester system is one that utilizes organic waste, more specifically, animal and human product, to produce fertilizer. These systems can not only help minimize pollution in the air and soil, but they can also offer filtration for water systems as well. Water usage and treatment can be very delicate in Mexico. With its focus on sustainability, Kaaba Luum’s water is sourced directly from a local underground cenote. Because of this, ALL products used on site need to be both organic and biodegradable to protect the system and ecology on site. Biodigesters and other filtration systems ensure that the environment is free from outside micro-contaminants. The minimized pollution allows for the exotic species of this region to remain in their natural habitat, like the hotel’s friendly orange-winged parrot named “Luum”. In Mexico, this loro guaro or large amazon parrot is a resident breeding bird and this one in particular likes to land on people at the hotel for a short visit.
Minimizing light/sound pollution.
This kind of pollution can disrupt the natural light of the sky at night, which not only disrupts sleep, but can also confuse the local wildlife. Animals that are nocturnal in a region affected heavily by light pollution may adopt a sleeping schedule that is detrimental to the ecosystem, which can create a ripple effect. One of the signature elements of Kaaba Luum is that it features little to no outside noise or light pollution that would interfere with your connection to the jungle. Kaaba Luum is a different kind of stay. Late nights, loud music, and the sound of constant construction can dampen the rejuvenative experience many are looking to experience while in Tulum. Their goal is to create a space filled with the harmony needed for guests to leave their getaway feeling recharged in all aspects; mind, body, and soul- without leaving damaging effects on the nature around them.By reducing these man-made interruptions to an ecosystem, resorts can minimize their environmental footprint and help to maintain systematic patterns within a region.
As Jane Goodall states, “Only when our clever brain and our human heart work together in harmony can we achieve our true potential.” There isn’t a lot that we can do to reverse the damage that has been done to our planet’s natural wonders, but we can work to drastically slow that process. Large businesses that work in conjunction with rural tourism can utilize these simple steps to make sure that they are doing their part to maintain the beauty and ecology of the space that they choose to occupy.