On April 20th, 2010, I was half listening to the evening news reporting on the explosion that occurred on the semi-submersible offshore drilling rig Deepwater Horizon in the Gulf of Mexico. I thought it sad that there were casualties, and considered in the moment only the lives lost and the injured. Honestly, this blogger thought no further of the event, while I wrestled a chicken and salad to the dinner table. Four days went by without a second thought, until the 24th of April, when it was discovered that the wellhead was damaged and crude oil was leaking into the Gulf. Suddenly my perspective changed and I began to gradually realize the magnitude of the situation.
Today, one month later, the oil spill finds its way into the marshes and into water channels threatening wildlife, affecting as many as 400 species along the coastal areas of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida, just for starters.
While we live in the world of 990 accessible television stations, from the 13 channels I remember getting as a kid not so long ago, instant messaging with friends around the world, technology in my pocket through my Blackberry, and instant gratification of information through cell phones and the world wide web, stopping to appreciate the beauty of the world around us, and the wildlife and natural resources is something that eludes us. We forget until there is a crises. We are not impacted, until the news anchor reminds us, through some horrific event that threatens us in some way. It is these events that raise our awareness and remind us that life is not about the high rise, subway, or train. Life is not about the technology, restaurant and shopping. Life is about LIFE, and the nature all around us, that make the planet what it is, and sustains us as a species, through the air we breathe, and the water we drink.
For the past 25 years, humanity has travelled faster, farther and had incredible reach at the touch of a button. We have converted from Customer Service people to Customer Service Automation. We communicate more with computers and robotics, than we do with one another, and we avoid live conversations and human touch, in favor of a 10 second text or email, and the push of a button to achieve the objective.
After 25 years it seems, we have grown to realize that this does not in fact feed our souls. It is empty, void and lacking in the core elements that make us human. We need live conversation. We need facial expressions, and tone to dissect and understand meaning, and we need to touch and be touched. We are after all, HUMAN.
Understanding this, and recognizing a need, a hot not so new trend is emerging in travel and tourism. Where the fast pace of resort life in premier and luxury driven destinations are saturated with technology, shopping and acquisition of material things, and entertainment to achieve the immediate gratification the consumer has sought, a new breed of travel is evolving to encompass eco-friendly travel and tourism. A slower pace that is designed to highlight the Earth, her abundant beauty and the gifts from God or Universe (depending on your personal belief system) is born to feed our basic human need to understand the evolution of man, and his sustenance on planet earth for existence. This principal and concept was the brain child of Laurence D. Rockefeller. Through his resort management company, Rockresorts, Inc., Rockefeller opened environmentally focused hotels at Caneel Bay on Saint John, United States Virgin Islands in 1956.Some of the property was later turned over to the Virgin Islands National Park; in Puerto Rico, the British Virgin Islands, and Hawaii, contributing to the movement now known as eco-tourism. Laurence Rockefeller was a conservationist, seeing a need long before its time. He was known for his involvement and passion in conservation and the protection of wildlife and was chairman of the Outdoor Recreation Resources Review Commission. Serving on federal, state and local commissions Mr. Rockefeller advised every president since Dwight D. Eisenhower on issues involving recreation, wilderness preservation and ecology. He founded the American Conservation Association and supported many other environmental groups. He went on to fund the expansion of Grand Teton National Park, and was a cornerstone in the development of the National Parks Preservation in Wyoming, California, the Virgin Islands, Vermont, Maine and Hawaii. His vision and contributions included funding and influence to establish and preserve parklands and urban open spaces in his home state of New York. There, as an active member of the Palisades Interstate Park Commission, he helped create a chain of parks that blocked the advance of urban sprawl. I know this, because this legacy is part of this bloggers ancestry. My grandfather had the distinction of managing two of the distinguished National Park resorts in the Rock-Resorts program. It is a legacy of which this blogger is extremely proud.
So, this blog is “Jessica’s Mexico”. What has any of this to do with Mexico? Simply put, over 60 years later, and in a brave new world, new eco-friendly sustainable destinations are being developed and funded in Mexico. Seeing a need for the preservation and protection of natures abundance, companies such as RASA LAND DEVELOPMENT are strategically planning communities in which old world meets new in a destination that focuses on the environment and teaching mankind to love her planet once more.
With three developments under way, in strategic and abundant destinations in the states of Baja, Jalisco and Riviera Nayarit, where land life and water life come together for the perfect harmony known as Earth, Sea and Sky and all life forms that encompass them.
With a projection of traditional Mexican homes and communities, focusing on the service, and limited to the boutique hotel and villa experience, the idea and concept is designed to bring the awareness and clean life to the consumer for the ultimate travel experience, lending itself to the culture, history and society known as Mexico, in conjunction with the environment and habitats of the ec0-life in balance. It is a world removed from the bars, the nightlife, and the opulence of resorts and takes the traveler to a place in time that was before the cell phone, the computer, the blackberry and the television.
Not a new concept, and yet so far removed from the everyday existence of who we are in this modern world. 60 years in the making by such distinguished and dignified humanitarians and conservationists with the name ROCKEFELLER branded to it.
SO, what exactly is “ECO TOURISM”? Is it the simple concept of the natural experience in kayaking, river rafting, hiking and sailing? No. Eco Tourism is defined by responsible travel in which conservation of the environment is promoted and improved upon. The walk in the rain forest and or that rafting trip, are only eco-tourism if the experience is of benefit to the environment. Improvement to the welfare of the destination and environment define the concept of eco tourism.
In the concept developed by RASA LAND DEVELOPMENT the inclusion of the boutique hotels (maximum 128 rooms) and villas is designed to protect the availability of the resources and deter from inhibiting future travelers from the same experience. With large numbers of visitors, as you might experience in some of the better known destinations such as Puerto Vallarta or Cabo San Lucas, the risk to the preservation and conservation of the environment is great, and thus the design caters to the intimate experience, and the protection of wildlife. CONSERVATION; the idea that the experience was had, enjoyed, provoked compassion and inspired preservation, and left no trace of the human having ever been there to begin with.
We ebb away at life’s natural abundance of beauty and nature. We build out on land, grow our mini-malls and great malls, erect high rises and “out of this world, full entertainment resorts” replete with spectacular swimming pools and spas and extraordinary restaurants and nightclubs. We drive for the ownership of the best of the best, even in this economy, by entitlement and desire to acquire and we forget that God, Universe, Science, whatever you call it, gave us, as humans, everything we ever NEEDED long before technology and immediate gratification of material goods. We were given the glorious, resplendent gift of nature. Her life, her wildlife and her resources to sustain us, feed us, cloth us and take care of us in every imaginable way. Revisiting this, recognizing that an oil spill that stands to destroy 400 different species of wildlife will ultimately destroy us in our need to have more in our hands, and hold less in our hearts, might ultimately save the human race.
The next time you consider travel, and my beloved Mexico, understand this. Much of her land is still untainted. Much of her land is still preserved and sustains wildlife you never thought of or knew about. Much of her existence while seemingly poor and seemingly third world to many, is in fact richer, and mightier than any other country on the planet, and there is a great deal to be learned from her and her culture and those who plan to sustain her natural beauty.
Stop, breathe and reconsider the tequila and party. Maybe, take a time out, visit a destination in which nature prevails and re-evaluate that which is truly important. It is not a Blackberry. It is LIFE and all that encompasses the very word, from air, land, sea and sky.