Sustainability Now for Belize, C.A.

The purpose of discussion on Sustainability Now in the following pages is to explore how a country like Belize can continue to become viable and prosperous while developing strategies toward being socially inclusive and environmentally sustainable. The small country of Belize in Central America is quickly becoming identified on the global stage as a destination. For example, daily on U.S. and Canadian television you will see advertisements promoting the beauty and wonder that Belize beholds. On January 1, 2015 “Good Morning America” (ABC) promoted the top 10 vacation destinations for 2015 and Belize was featured.  To the developer’s delight more and more people are coming to Belize to visit and to live. Besides the beauty of its mountains, jungles, rainforests, beaches, and reefs, Belize provides a diversity of human cultures and settings that attract people wanting to tour and live in a tropical locale.

The growing popularity of this country, however, can represent real risks to its sensitive ecosystems and community cultures if further growth and development are not conducted in a viable way. Many actions have been taken by the Belizean government and others, including non-governmental organizations and private citizens, to protect the country’s resources and initially deal with poverty in the country. But there is much more to be done and it requires actions that are integrated and long-lasting rather than piece-meal in their approach. Sustainable development is the guiding force for Belize to be able to maintain its rich history of resources and peoples while moving into the future by taking advantage of growth opportunities that will promote a sound economy that supports social well-being and environmental health.

This blog on Sustainability Now for Belize has been established to discuss how this small country can take advantage of what we already know about sustainable communities and what we are continuing to learn in a way that will influence a healthy and prosperous future development. Through this blog it is hoped you will get involved and contribute your thoughts and ideas to the thinking expressed in the weekly essays in order to begin cataloguing expert and public information that will be useful to Belizeans wanting to guide a future life of well-being and prosperity for themselves and their environment. We intend the accumulation of information in these blog archives to provide sustainable development practitioners with guidance on actions taken to improve the socio-economic and environmental well-being of Belize.

It is said that a “picture is worth a thousand words.” In that spirit, each weekly blog will also present at least one image from a collection of gallery-quality photos that either relates to the topic of the blog or is a picture that stands on its own merit and beauty reminding you of the blog content for the future. If you find these images interesting or unique and would like to hang one on your wall, they will be for sale. Check out the Papillon Photo Gallery to find out how you can purchase a framed replica of any picture in a size of your choice, if available.


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Waiting for You

hammock on beach

Waiting for You


  1. Jane Rundquist says

    Congrats on the premier of your blog!! Belize is lucky to have as one of its new residents such a distinguished scientist with your expertise and experience on sustainable communities combined with a generous spirit to put that expertise to work in your new environs for the benefit of all.

    I also look forward to your photos. You have a great eye along some mighty fine photo equipment (slightly jealous here on that except for the carrying it around part.)The featured hammock and the sea photo are already making me nostalgic for that great beach and hospitality surrounding it.

  2. Stephanie Hartzell-Brown says

    Thanks for the interesting blog! We chose the country of Belize to build a small winter home because of the beauty of the ecosystems we saw, and because we believe in helping to keep this beautiful country as pristine as possible. We have built as green a home as we can, and we have installed a state of the art wastewater managment system to keep the waste water from contaminating the existing ground on our property. We did not clear a large portion of our 1.6ac, choosing to keep as much jungle and high canopy trees as possible to sustain the wildlife. We have a water catchement system in place so we can irrigate both sides of our home. We are using all Belizean workers and buy locally from a close village to our home. We are planning a permaculture garden and planting as many indigenous plants as we can. I believe it is our responsibility to be stewards of this Earth no matter where we choose to live!

  3. mardi collins says

    Hi Warren- this blog could be very helpful to Belizeans working toward sustainable tourism . Especially the bird and wildlife guides. I hope they will be able to connect with you and this information

  4. Eugene Martin says

    I think use of location based pictures of ‘merit and beauty’ to characterize blog topics is problematic. Many sustainability initiatives are galvanized by ugly truths that motivate desire for alternative futures. These blog conversations will be more productive with pairs of photographs, one that presents a desirable or ideal view alongside another that illustrates a related or intrinsic uncomfortable consequence, contribution, contradiction or condition. Example: the shady beach hammock shot might be paired with a look at economically challenged local work and lifestyles for whom rest in that privileged hammock is perpetually out of reach or maybe a map of threatened sea turtle nesting habitat.

  5. Richard Wilk says

    I think there are some other photos that express a great deal about the unsustainability of mass tourism in Belize. I would be happy to send you a good sample of recent air photos of coastal development in southern Belize; all I need is an email address.

  6. ibarra gonzalez says

    I live in Aborlan, Palawan, Philippines. Your situation in Belize is very similar to ours. The local government even wanted to set up a coal fired power plant in this “last frontier”. We have to have a rational strategy to integrate progress with environmental security and development of peoples. I look at the long road of education and cultural revolution.

  7. Les Kaufman says

    Thank you for creating this useful blog and website. It hits a critical nail square on the head. However, it needs to hit it harder and louder. Posts thus far have spoken well to the point but only generally. Belize has established institutions to address sustainability, but they are below the capacity needed to fulfill their collective charge. Excellent academic examples are the Environmental Research Institute and BERDS. Government examples include the Coastal Zone Management Authority Institute, and all of the government ministries (the engagement of ALL is a requirement for national sustainability). The NGO sector, well described elsewhere on this web site, includes leadership by Belize Audubon, Programme for Belize, APAMO, the Healthy Reefs Initiative, TIDE, SEA, and many others. However, these resources need to be dovetailed and coordinated to create a national force for sustainability. Another extreme need is for a national information center for sustainability, where anybody can see the national development strategy and observe at a glance where the nation is hewing to it, and where it is drifting away from it. ERI is a logical body for this function, but it is not up to speed or capacity to fulfill this essential role. The talk on this web site is good, but organization and action are necessary if Belize is to be true to the best of its ambitions as a nation.

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