Saturday, June 7, 2008

Save Mirador Basin: The Cradle of Maya Civilization

Photo by Susana Alvarado from the Facebook group Save Mirador Basin

Josephine writes, “This project is not just about saving a rainforest. It is about saving one of the most important ecosystems in the world. It is protecting a way station for millions of migratory birds that inhabit the eastern United States. It is rescuing the habitat for countless species, including jaguars, tapirs, toucans, and howler monkeys. It is supporting the largest privately funded archeological project in the world. It is assisting and educating the indigenous people, and teaching them to respect their environment. It is creating a sustainable future for the Mirador Basin so that its riches can be enjoyed forever.”

My friend Josephine Thompson works with Dr. Richard Hansen and over 340 archeologists and tradesperson who are dedicated to permanently preserving the Mirador Basin. Dr. Hansen has made it his life's work and has been at it for 30 years.

Josie started a Facebook group to raise awareness and hopefully come to some collective decisions about how to create a truly sustainable model for energy, communications and tourism.

In particular, Josie is seeking advice on the following:
1) How are we going to change this from an archaeology camp of 340 workers, using 5 generators, to a sustainable energy project?

2) Our satellite dish does not use a fast uplink/downlink and everyone who is stuck in the jungle for 5+ months cannot use video conferencing, IM or Skype. How can we get more bandwidth and add a communication network to a region that is completely off the grid now?

3) Please send links to examples of the best ecolodges in the world and express your opinion.

If you are a member of Facebook, please VISIT and JOIN the group to learn more and to offer advice and support. If you are not a member of Facebook but would like to be involved you can contact me directly.

As an aside, Bliz and I visited Josie in Guatemala earlier this year and took a trip to Tikal (we're planning another trip with Josie to visit Mirador) and did the Tikal sunrise tour. We hiked for an hour in near pitch black to the main temple to watch the sun rise over the jungle. During our hike we could hear the howler monkeys. They sounded more like dinosaurs. Here's an example I found:

I came across this article about one person's experience hiking to Mirador. This is definitely a trip I have to psyc myself up for. 3 day hike in the jungle with heat, humidity, spiders, deadly snakes, ticks, jaguars, poisonous plants, oh my. Josie, are you sure I can handle it?

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