What makes Sandra Khan and David Leventhal Global Shakers?
Sandra Khan and her husband David Leventhal were founders of Rainforest2Reef, a non-profit which supported the creation of corridors for species protection in the Yucatan Peninsula and Calakmul area.
The organisation created a private reserve among the local Ejido farmers, whose conservation efforts were supported by global NGOs. Through this experience, Khan learned that it’s impossible to protect the environment without providing solutions to people with demands on local resources.
Because of this, Khan and Leventhal began work on a more whole systems approach in their latest project: Playa Viva.
Playa Viva is a 100% off grid, eco-luxury destination in Juluchuca, Mexico. With sustainability and regenerative practices as its core, the hotel offers 12 luxury rooms with a beachfront view. Guests can immerse themselves in nature, attend yoga practice, volunteer in the turtle sanctuary, give back to the local community, or “relax completely in paradise.”
Alongside Playa Viva’s obvious goal to please its guests, the hotel aims to restore abundance to local communities. That means forests dense with biodiversity, trees bursting with fruit, lagoons overflowing with fish, and nature teeming with life. “This abundance is our goal, and guides our vision of responsible land stewardship at Playa Viva.”
They continue: “We tend to the land in regenerative ways to create opportunities for you to explore the diverse ecosystem, to walk away with valuable and shareable knowledge and to inspire you and other guests to think through ways you can make similar impacts in your own communities.”
The project developed with the use of Regenerative Design techniques. The work has included setting up Regenerative Travel and Regenerative Resorts, aiming to “support similar independent hotel owners around the world doing great work in their local ecosystems.” Their Regenerative Trust is a 2% fee included in the total bill amount for all guests as a contribution to the environment and community of Juluchuca.
The Playa Viva strategy is based on three pillars: Education, Health and Economic Development. This includes English classes at six different schools, a recycling project, art classes, and animal welfare activities, having released 450,000 baby turtles since 2010 via a partnership with a local turtle sanctuary. Playa Viva also hosts youth sports events and healthy cooking classes, and participates in two mentorship and training programmes.
Finally, as they’re built on the estuary formed by the Juluchuca River, Playa Viva writes that they have a commitment to the town of Juluchuca “but also all the way up the watershed of the Juluchuca River through three other communities.”Tags: Playa Viva, Sustainable Travel, tourism
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