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Sustainably Yours Emily Magewski


Emily was a sustainable landscape designer and consultant for 15 years prior to moving to Mexico in 2011. She and her husband live off grid and are dedicated to helping increase the sustainability of homes and gardens in our region.

Legacy Building


e are all shelter makers. Perhaps you have built your home with your own two hands. Maybe you conceptualized its design on napkins. Or you may have moved into a house and with a little love and sweat equity you made it your home over time. Our homes form a second skin to our bodies, protecting us from the elements. Since an enormous chunk of our time is spent in them, they form a second cranium, harboring our memories. Our homes, when crafted to endure, shelter the generations of our family tree. Unfortunately, many homes created today do the bare minimum in all of these regards. They are steeped in offgassing and harmful chemicals ranging from formaldehyde to Alkylphenol ethoxylates. While protecting us from the worst of the elements they simultaneously marinate us in carcinogenic toxins. Many modern homes are composed of flimsy, rot prone and highly flammable materials that do not foster structural longevity, let alone the sheltering of generations. The built environment today contributes to 50% of global carbon emissions (Architecture 2030). And, as commendable as the NO STRAW movement is, let’s talk about plas-

tics, especially foam, in the building industry. Personally, I can wrap my head around the selective use of plastics, where durability is a priority and recyclability minimizes impacts at the end of life cycle. But foam? Giant blocks and sheets of foam are hidden away in countless homes as insulation. This foam will never biodegrade, no matter how you slice it, and is considered a fire accelerant. Insurance companies refer to foam as ‘solid gasoline’. As described by a 1989 OSHA technical memorandum, burning foam releases carbon monoxide, benzene, toluene, oxides of nitrogen, hydrogen cyanide, acetaldehyde, acetone, propene, carbon dioxide, and alkenes. And to top it off, when fire retardants are added, these additives represent even more carcinogens! So, while I am very glad straws are going out of fashion and hopefully there are fewer turtles with nasal straws in the end, we need to start talking about the non-biodegradable and toxic materials we are constructing our homes out of on a massive scale. Contemplating this massive scale and the whole overwhelming notion of making one’s home sustainable can be counter productive. Counter productive in the ‘paralysis through over analysis’

sense. In fact, despite the name of this column and my own liberal usage of the term ‘sustainability’ I do find the word non-helpful much of the time: poorly defined, confusing and often fraught with contention due to varying standards. I think we need a new standard when it comes to building our homes. Let’s call it Legacy Building. It’s a term that’s already out there, but without much traction. With some clearly defined features, I think legacy building can become a much more useful platform for moving forward. Let’s start with these baseline characteristics: The Legacy Home: 1. Is composed of 100% biodegradable and/or recyclable materials 2. Promotes occupant wellbeing with 0 VOCs or noxious chemicals 3. Is designed for maximum resource efficiency and 0 waste during construction 4. Uses materials that are enduring enough to house multiple generations 5. Is designed with a modularity that is adaptable to evolving occupant needs (from family rearing to aging) There. 5 points that, if implemented, would change the built environment in radical and profound ways. 5 points that would leave an entirely new legacy for coming generations. As mentioned in a past article, I am collaborating with the firm TerraMar in Lo de Marcos, in designing a new type of planned community. For more information on how we are crafting Legacy Building Standards in our architectural protocols, please write me at sustainablyyourscolumn@gmail. com

Dec. 27, 2018 - Jan 2, 2019 www.vallartatribune.com

Face off with the Greeks


on’t you just love it when things work out all by themselves? The other day I woke up knowing I was going to have a few of my favourite treats in the heart of Puerto Vallarta. Obviously, my taste buds are making some of my decisions for me, before I even get up. Now when it comes to pampering oneself, I think my taste buds are in prolonged debate with my second brain; apparently we all have one. Making the final decision so that I wake up foot-loose and fancy-free. This is because the variety of things for pampering oneself are so plentiful and reasonable here especially with friends about to enjoy these delights. It could be as simple as a foot message on the beach, or a day pass at your favourite resort. Maybe a plate full of oysters with foodie Amnon Medad. Yet for others it might be hanging from cables flying over the jungles canopy with movie producer Wendy Grean or scuba diving around Los Arcos with travellers Dan & Rebecca Terrible or going for a ride in a beautiful parachute over the bay with Nancy and Dwight Druick. Or just hang out with artist Martin Jimenez Garcia talking about Mexican art. First, isn’t life wonderful when you have choices to contemplate? So I get up knowing I am going to have a few of my favourite dishes at the Traviata Restaurant located on the top floor of the Hotel Paloma del Mar. This fine establishment is located slightly uphill, overlooking the city with a wonderful breeze that makes dining there just excellent. And yes, I am going to have these treats in the company of friends too, Maitre D Edmundo Ramos and his star Chef Ezequiel Gonzalez. So with my culinary foodie partner Byron Ayanoglu, we head over there for their wonderful sautéed Portobello Mushrooms and

their marvelous Seafood Ravioli. This will be accompanied with great homemade bread that you can dip in olive oil. I will also enjoy a very tasty Mescal-Jamaica Margarita. A truly wonderful drink in both flavour and style. So we arrive and upon looking around for the best seat; We are sunset birds, I notice the huge wall mural that graces the adjacent building. It is a new work of art in the city because it was not there last year. What is striking about it is that is so meticulously painted. Almost 3D. What I love about this painting is that it looks like the person in the painting is holding a mask that seems like the face of Socrates or a number of other famous Greek faces due to its design. It makes me wonder, did the painter of this mural also know that the word for Gringo comes from the word Griego which is the Spanish word for Greek? Now how did that come about? Or does anyone else know that according to the hypothesis of T.R. Fehrenbach in his book Fire and Blood, that the Mexicans could have been psychic? Upon reading this myself, I was in complete accord with his thesis. This is because some details in the vast body of Mexican art and architecture have design elements that are similar or copies of Greek designs from over 1000 years ago? The Hellenistic Meander being one of them. Now this is food for thought! So if you too want to contemplate the greater picture yourself you can at La Traviata Restaurant which is located on the top floor of the Hotel Paloma del Mar. Honduras # 309 Col. 5 de Diciembre, Puerto Vallarta PS. If you know of any secret Murals you would like to direct me to go see. You can address them to algis.kemezys@gmail.com Subject Puerto Vallarta Street Art.

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Issue 1134, December 27 - January 2 , 2018  

Puerto Vallarta, Mexico The Vallarta Tribune is the longest running free English language newspaper in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. We publish w...

Issue 1134, December 27 - January 2 , 2018  

Puerto Vallarta, Mexico The Vallarta Tribune is the longest running free English language newspaper in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. We publish w...