As readers, writers and travelers, my husband, Lou, and I are always trying to improve our little oasis in the Mayan jungle. It’s not enough that we continue to improve the aesthetics of our rooms, the rich color in our gardens, the splashing sounds from our waterfalls and cenote pools; we need to keep in mind the bigger picture of the environment and be as responsible as possible.

Some of the things we are doing to sustain ourselves and preserve the environment for future generations are:

* Composting organic matter.

* Maintaining a rooftop organic vegetable garden where a crop of tomatoes, peppers, arugula, lettuce and herbs are flourishing with the help of the composted matter. We never use poisons, and only organic matter, such as coffee grounds, is used as fertilizer. 

* Spreading wood shavings in the flower garden to help prevent the water from evaporating so quickly.

* Purchasing bicycle water bottles as a gift to our guests with our logo and web site imprinted on them. We buy the recyclable five-gallon jugs to fill the water bottles and ceramic jars in the rooms.

* Using biodegradable garbage bags, and cloth bags for grocery purchases. 

* Replacing all our light bulbs and strings of lights with the more energy efficient LED bulbs. 

* Converting from total electric power from the grid (we spend about $600 USD a MONTH) to adding a block of twenty-two solar panels on the garden roof. Electricity made during the day will go back to CFE for credit to our account. The Smart Grid System allows you to store the electricity without using batteries. 

* When we built LSM, we were determined to save as many trees as possible during the construction phase. We cut down only what we absolutely needed. We even tried to figure out how to build a pool around two large guano palms that are now over twenty feet tall on either side of one of our pools. Later, we realized that if palms, pineapple, and other fruit trees were going to grow and actually produce fruit, they needed more sun. Then, and only then, did we strategically cut down some small to medium size trees that grew in abundance and planted more fruit trees. 

* The plants in our gardens are especially lush in the wetland areas where the gray water ends up after traveling through the drains and the filtering tanks. We believe the Wetlands Septic System is the best way to handle waste water.

We are continuing to evaluate other ways that we can cut down the use of power and plastics that are harmful to the environment without giving up the comfort and luxury that we provide our guests. We are aware that the re-education and process of change does not have to happen overnight. After all, we are in Mexico. “Mexican time” allows us to slowly navigate through life as we tread lightly on this beautiful piece of land we call home.

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