are more than just words when Italy, Belize and Eco-Tourism join hands across the (green) planet
A desire to make the world a better, greener place, and working together on a project that will deliver real benefits to a Belizean town that will, we hope, become a model for communities everywhere.
Yes – here we have an Italian government agency funding a project launched by a Belize government ministry that’s being implemented with technical assistance from the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre and applauded by Belize’s first eco-resort and sustainable tourism pioneers, The Lodge at Chaa Creek.
We cannot think of a better example of Thinking Globally, Acting Locally
When we heard that Belize’s Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, Forestry, the Environment, Sustainable Development and Immigration (MAFFESDI), launched a project titled “Reducing the Carbon footprint of San Ignacio Town and Five Surrounding Villages in the Cayo District,” we sat up and took notice.
And not just because of the tongue-twisting names involved.
The ambitious project, launched 20 February 2018, has two main components – the installation of energy efficient LED street lighting in San Ignacio, and the construction of a state-of-the-art multi-purpose community centre.
Designed to be used as a facility for residents of the twin towns of San Ignacio/Santa Elena in times of national emergencies, hurricanes and other extreme weather events, the new centre will also support social and sporting activities, with a full indoor gymnasium, basketball court, a stage, seating for 600, dressing rooms, bathrooms and office space.
A space suitable for local and international sporting events, concerts, plays, conferences and community events that doubles as an emergency facility and shelter? Sounds like a huge asset for the Cayo community.
And what’s even better is that it’s green and self-sustainable, with a solar powered renewable-energy system, storage tanks for drinking water, and other features.
The other component of the project is replacing San Ignacio’s old streetlights with 1000 new, energy-efficient LED lights that will produce three times the light with 50% less energy. As a bonus, the new lights have a lifespan of 10-15 years, compared to three to five of the existing fixtures, driving down replacement and maintenance costs in a big way.
Chaa Creek’s owners, well known environmentalists and sustainable tourism pioneers, have been involved in various community betterment projects for decades, from the anti-litter, “Betta no Litta” initiative to a range of other efforts, with Chaa Creek itself a model for Green operations – as Belize’s first Green Globe certified business and international recognition including a National Geographic World Legacy Award – attest.
So here, out in a predominately rural district in a small developing nation, we now have an eco-resort – one of the area’s largest employers – and a township leading the world in environmental best practices.
We think that’s pretty cool.
We also think that Chaa Creek’s world-renowned green operations are interesting enough to be described in another post, so stay tuned…
What we want to highlight right now is that little Belize, through eco-tourism and in communities, has become a leader in environmental and community sustainability.
And that’s something to be proud of.
We also wanted to take a few lines to thank Italy for their generous support with this new community project – it’s a great example of international cooperation.
And proves once again that Italy’s gifts to the world didn’t stop with Pizza, Ferraris and Sofia Loren.