The 2030 Challenge: What difference are we really making?

What difference are we making?

Not only do we need to make a difference, we need to figure out how to make the best choices. And I admit, it is sometimes difficult to know where to put your energy. For example, the CO2 output from one medium sized coal power plant (500 MW) will in just 10 days of operation completely offset the planting of 300,000 trees. And in the United States today, there are over 150 conventional coal powered plants on the drawing board. Not to mention China, where there is a new conventional coal powered plant being brought online every week.

Sometimes I feel like we are fighting an uphill battle.

But still, every tree we plant DOES make a difference. Every time I leave my house now, I try and power down all my electronics. And I just spent tons of time and resources putting expandable caulk into the seams of this ancient modified A-frame I live in, in Truckee, CA, at 5600 ft above sea level. Its cold here, and it is costing me a lot of energy to stay warm in this poorly insulated house. So what right do I have to tell China not to build more coal power plants?

According to Ed Mazria at the 2030 challenge (, the problem can be solved with no more coal — even if we were to burn ALL the remaining gas and oil reserves, we still would not reach a critical thermal mass in the atmosphere to fully trigger global warming. But coal is the factor that will push us way over the edge of this precipice.

Is it possible to conserve our way to sustainability? The road is long, and must begin with more awareness. And Playa Viva is a medium to communicate this message of awareness, tolerance, and respect for the people and natural environment we live in.


Love The Oceans & Win A Trip!

Not a bad deal.  If you love the oceans, (and who doesn’t?!), you have to check out Ocean Champions.  Ocean Champions is the only national, bipartisan political voice for the oceans.  That’s right.  They actually work to get pro-ocean political candidates elected, thereby securing healthy ocean policy.  They have done lots of outstanding work that you should know about.  As one of their supporters stated, “The oceans are the only reason we all haven’t died from CO2 poisoning.”  Makes you feel kind of protective, huh?

As part of OC’s campaign to attract ocean enthusiasts supporters, they are offering a contest where you and friends can come down for a visit to Playa Viva!

Okay, you got me.  OC is indeed a strategic partner of Playa Viva.  So, of course I shamelessly promote their efforts.  We love everyone who stands for the health of this beautiful planet.

Check it out.  You may win the trip down to visit us in Zihuatanejo.  (There’s some great surfing down here!).

This must be the place!

Entirely different vibe here. Leaving SFO- ‘homeland security’ had found a place to reside in the back of my neck. You know, that spot just between the shoulder blades. Bye-bye USA… hello MEXICO!!!

From the moment I land in Zihuantanejo/Ixtapa (ZIH) Airport I felt my breathing change. My shoulders were slowly leaving my ears. Hey! Everyone is smiling. What’s up with that? That lovely warm breeze. Okay. This feels more like it.

This must be the place Being a surfer from Norcal, it’s hard to imagine paddling out without my full 4.3 neoprene body girdle. Even though I’m here to ‘work’ and check out the progress of the Playa Viva site, it would be a lie to tell you I had anything else but surfing on my mind. It didn’t get any easier to wrap my brain around work at baggage claim. (grin!)

This Must Be The Place

Sustainable Perspectives

Green building is a hot topic these days. According to the U.S. Green Building Council, the annual U.S. market in green building products and services is now over $12 billion dollars, with more than 3 billion square feet of building space involved with the LEED program (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design).

The December issue of Environmental Design+Construction magazine (67,000 pass-along readership) gathers industry leaders to address the past, present, and future of green building issues in their annual Sustainable Perspectives series. Playa Viva developer David Leventhal was asked to reflect on the future of green building.

We encourage you to read his article – Participatory Green Building is Regenerative.

Top Turtle

Baby Turtle

Just got the stats from the turtle sanctuary team for November.  Over 42,000 baby turtles were released in November.  The Tortuga Feliz is running at 64% higher than last year and are either the number one or number two largest turtle sanctuary in all of Mexico.  With our support, they are now expanding to add more area and better facilities.  I have thought about setting up a non-profit and seeing if we can help drive donations from the US and other “wealthy” nations to support this all volunteer team, but as of now, we will do our best to support them directly.

Also, good news, Baltazar, the head of the team, reports that they have “tenemos un nido de la especie Laúd de 79 Huevos y otro de la especie negra con 110 Huevos” – Translating to: we have 70 eggs from the leatherback turtle (critically endangered) and 110 from the black (actually Green) turtle (also endangered).  How wonderful it is to be part of saving something so threatened.  See what team biologist Gerardo Ceballos has to say about this in a short video about > La Tortuga Feliz (see multimedia section of Playa Viva website).

Nature Deficit Disorder

That’s the term coined by author Richard Louv in his book Last Child in the Woods, an account of how children are slowly disconnecting from the natural world. A recent article in the San Francisco Chronicle discussed a new poll of 333 parents by the Public Policy Institute of California addressing this very topic. The poll found that 30 percent of teenagers did not participate in any outdoor nature activity at all this past summer. Another 17 percent engaged only once in an outdoor activity like camping, hiking or backpacking.

Horseback Riding

A nationwide study conducted by the University of Maryland found that between 1997 and 2003, the proportion of children ages 9 to 12 who spent time hiking, walking, fishing, playing on the beach or gardening declined 50 percent.

Depending on where you live, there are usually no shortages of activities in which to partake. The problem may be the countless distractions. Can beaches, hikes, and family time compete with iPods, cell phones, and MySpace?

At Playa Viva, we think they can. Releasing baby turtles, sleeping in a treehouse, or horseback riding on the beach are the antidotes to nature deficit disorder. For both kids, and parents alike.

A Sense of Urgency

USGBC LogoI’m attending the United States Green Build Council’s annual Greenbuild Conference in Chicago, Illinois (, and there is a palpable sense of urgency permeating all the talks, sessions and impromptu meetings going on here. Its like we have finally reached a tipping point — no longer is the existence of global warming being debated, but rather how severe the effects will be and when will they manifest. And there is a recognition that if we keep up with ‘business as usual’, we are going to be seeing a major assault to our way of life, our country and the entire world within as soon as 10 years. Due to our addiction to cheap energy, specifically coal (See Ed Mazriya’s talk, more on that in another blog…). Bill Clinton’s keynote address on Wednesday was a call to arms: President Clinton’s message is that the environtal movement needs to be the biggest countrywide and worldwide call to action since World War II in order to stem the tide of global warming. And not only will this massive effort reap benefits to the overall health of our world, but the positive economic effects will be staggering as well, in a positive way. There is evidence of this in all countries that have adopted the Kyoto Protocol.

Seeing Paul Hawken talk yesterday brought a distinctly personal message to the movement: Environmental sustainability and social justice are inseparable. This movement is not about supplying healthier air and living wages to the rich — it is about treating everyone who lives on this planet with humanity and respect. Only when we recognize that we are all deeply connected can we affect positive change to the world we live in.

We have a lot of work to do, but the journey, while deeply distrubing at times, is a beautiful journey into the possibility of how we can find deeper meaning in our lives, not just mine, but all of our lives.

I’m flying back home, to Truckee CA this afternoon (yes, I recogize the hypocricy of flying…) then driving to San Francisco for yet another green festival — the SF Greenfest. More later…