Last Thursday, June 9th, Claire, our Community Tourism Coordinator and Larissa, our Sustainability and Fashion Intern, attended a meeting to discuss topics related with the preservation of Lake Atitlán. Maya Traditions is engaged and committed with the social environmental issues related with the lake, health, and better life quality for all living here.
Eliza Strode and Daniel Radin from the organization “A Thread of Hope” are the organizers of these group meetings, in partnership with the Rotary Club and Hotel Cacique Inn. According to Eliza, this is an important community process we are engaged in, trying to build participation and consensus to support projects that are well-researched, discussed, well-considered, sustainable, and agreed by the vast majority to be in the interests of the common good.
This was the first meeting after the presentation realized by Dr. Margaret Dix on May 19. Dr. Dix’s presentation noted problems and opportunities related to the lake and its environment as well as communication issues around the villages and communities.
The meeting used the World Café process to integrate all the participants’ opinions and thoughts. People from different institutions and parts of the lake, including San Marcos, Santa Cruz, San Juan, and San Pedro, are participating in the meetings in Panajachel. The aim was to listen together for patterns, insights, deeper connections, reflection, collective insights, possible implementations and it was a great opportunity for networking.
In this approach, small groups sit together and have a particular kind of discussion, exploring and exchanging ideas. After rounds of conversation, there is a period of sharing discoveries and insights as a group. The goal is to brainstorm, one idea can spark another. The questions proposed for discussion were:
- What are the most compelling issues that need to be addressed in regard to the lake?
- How should we address the most pressing issues?
It is in these town meeting-style conversations that patterns can be identified, collective knowledge grows, and possibilities for action emerge. The next steps will be sharing all the ideas discussed via group emails and preparing for the next meeting and developing a possible plan of action considering short and long-term activities.