An Open Letter to my Friends in Akumal

July 13, 2013

Dear Friends from Akumal,

I write today because I feel we share the Heart of the Riviera Maya…   Akumal the left ventricle and Puerto Aventuras the right…  if you take the point of view of looking from the ocean to the land.  I know recently there has been a lot of discussion about the ecology and economy on our coast as a result of increased tourism.   Not only do we share the privilege of living in one of the most beautiful places on earth but we also share the responsibility of sustaining it, maintaining it and possibly improving it.

Economic growth has blessed us with many opportunities and various problems in the last 15 years I am aware of.  And now, we are standing at a crossroads.  Is it time to apply solutions to the problems based on time worn ideas that may have been successful in the past?  Or is it time to step back, take a breath and look to a regenerative solution?  A paradigm shift?

A regenerative solution starts with the individual – each one of us individually.  Forget the old patterns of trade-offs and ideas to minimize harm.  Instead I am encouraging what could be considered a radical idea; that is, it may be the time to establish a NEW VISION with both long term and short term goals based on today’s reality.  And that reality includes increased tourism and increased use of our natural resources.

Regeneration is inclusive.  It is about including people in the establishment of a new vision.  It is not about minimizing the opposition or justifying top down decision making.  And regeneration is not about defining outcomes beforehand.  It is more about setting a general agreed upon coherent vision.

A paradigm shift is about recognizing a NEW TRUTH.

Many of you know that I have traveled to Bhutan many times, usually about once a year.  For those of you who want to know more about Bhutan, I invite you to check out my blog at http://www.donnala.com.  However, for purposes of this letter, I would like to share a little about Bhutan.

Bhutan is a small Himalayan country about the size of Switzerland and has established itself as one of the most progressive thinking countries in Asia.  The fourth King of Bhutan, Jigme Singye Wangchuk, established Gross National Happiness as the measurement of success for his little country back in 1974.  Since that time, the idea has been embodied by a generation of Bhutanese and is even measured by the government annually as an aid in determining the the direction and focus of its programs.

Gross National Happiness is based upon four pillars – sustainable and equitable socio-economic development,  conservation of the environment, preservation and promotion of culture and good governance.    Perhaps this is an idea whose time has come for Akumal, Puerto Aventuras and other communities in the heart of the Mayan Riviera.

Perhaps, the good people of Akumal can gather together – the oldtimers and the newbies – to determine what the new vision for the town based upon a balance of good economy, care for the environment, preservation of the culture while being led by an enlightened leadership that not only values short term gains but also long term goals.  After all, leaders are a reflection of the people they lead.

Perhaps, Akumal, well known worldwide for its commitment to conservation can lead the heart of the Mayan Riviera or for that matter, the whole coast in establishing a NEW VISION, a NEW META  based on the realities of 2013.

Victor Hugo once said, “There is nothing so powerful as an idea whose time has come.”  Perhaps the time is now for Akumal to stand up and lead us all with a new balanced idea of how to live well is this old new Mayan world.

How do we thrive while living on the Mayan Riviera balancing economic growth with preserving the environment?  This is the nut we must all crack sooner or later.  What do you think, dear friends from Akumal?  Are you up to  tackling this seemingly difficult task?  The moment is hot.  The moment is now.

Sincerely and with a lot of love,

Donna

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