Paradise & Peril: The Sustainability Stakes in Panama

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Kalu Yala, an eco-city in Panama’s Tres Brazos valley, is one example of a sustainable vacation centered around a traditional-style home base. Visitors sleep in tents on raised platforms, eat locally sourced meals, and explore the surrounding valley. (Emma Sarappo/Medill)

Northwestern University
Many people don’t consider the impact of their vacation on the environment, but a budding new industry is trying to change that with eco-adventures into the wild.
Willie reflects on his personal bartending history.
Willie reflects on his personal bartending history.
Northwestern University
The podcast and accompanying videos describe a distiller's exploration into sustainable methods of distilling alcohol in the jungles of Panama.

Ambitions for a carbon-free impact and few emissions: At eco-town Kalu Yala, members of the community live as sparingly as possible, using what they can from the environment around them while replenishing what they can. (Candace Butera/Medill)

Northwestern University
Through a scientific process that seems almost magical, the creation of biochar takes you a step closer to reducing your carbon footprint. But this technique has a history that dates back further than you might think.
Northwestern University
One culinary intern at Kalu Yala used her time in Panama to improve her personal relationship with food and to get an example of a sustainable food system that contrasts the American food system.
Northwestern University
A group of design thinking interns at the Kalu Yala Institute are imagining and implementing a new vision for communal living. But not everything is going quite as planned.

Kalu Yala is situated in Panama's Tres Brazos Valley. (Photos by Emma Sarappo)

Northwestern University
Real estate scion Jimmy Stice is looking to help the planet and mitigate climate change – through a startup. At his "eco-city" Kalu Yala, situated in Panama's Tres Brazos Valley, he's encouraging interns to learn to do the same.

Panama’s goat-like cows graze along the road to Kalu Yala. (Emma Sarappo/Medill)

Northwestern University
One sustainable jungle town in Panama hopes to repopulate iguanas in their natural habitat and begin using them as an alternative meat source to cows in the tropics.

Harper Simpson, former agriculture intern at Kalu Yala, wears jewelry to remind her to stay strong in times of hardship. (Cassandra Majewski/Medill)

Northwestern University
In a place so focused on environmental sustainability, an important caveat at the eco-town Kalu Yala is its struggle to create an environment that is mentally sustainable.

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