Exploring Sustainability in the Heart of the Panamanian Jungle

| 2/6/2014 3:27:00 PM

This valley houses the Kalu Yala community. 

Kalu Yala, the world’s most sustainable town, is a “tropical laboratory” in Panama.

A 7,000-acre valley in the heart of the Panama tropics houses the site of Kalu Yala, a settlement on the verge of becoming the world’s most sustainable and self-reliant modern town. Just an hour from downtown Panama City, Kalu Yala is the product of CEO Jimmy Stice’s ambition to create a community that is involved in its own management. All investors must own property on the settlement, and each shareholder must be dedicated to stewardship, collaboration, and environmental awareness.

In keeping with its goal of sustainability, Kalu Yala will be carbon neutral or carbon negative. The community supports local businesses over global ones and plans to minimize imports through its farm-to-table program, which will supply 80 percent of all food from within Panama. The houses are built with eco-friendly materials and are powered by solar energy. Clean water is collected from a natural aquifer located underneath the site, and rainwater is stored in preparation for dry seasons. "Kalu Yala is really trying to become the hub for sustainability in the tropics and a ‘tropical laboratory’ to experiment and develop products that can be exported to the entire tropical belt,” Stice told Mashable. The company has even started a regional happiness index to determine how Kalu Yala will affect Panama’s wellbeing.

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