2009 Green Spa Network Congress Reflects Shifting
Spas Need to be Vitality Centers for
Community and Global Resilience
Mexico (November 10, 2009)Fifty spa professionals from all segments of the
industry gathered for five days last week at historic Rancho La Puerta destination
spathe original destination spa in North Americato define the spa
role in the healthcare debate and the planets sustainability. www.greenspanetwork.org
The grand dame of spas in North America, Deborah Szekely,
welcomed Green Spa Network (GSN) to the spa that she and her late philosopher
husband, Professor Edmond Szekely, founded nearly 70 years ago. www.rancholapuerta.com
Visionary environmental and business authority, Paul
Hawken, opened the congress with a compelling message of hope and challenge. www.paulhawken.com
Presenters also included green lifestyle expert Danny Seo who suggested ways GSN
could spread its message through Social Media www.dannyseo.com
and Ted Ning, Director of LOHAS (Lifestyles of Health & Sustainability), www.lohas.com
who announced a strategic partnership with GSN.
on hand from the worlds of organic skincare, interior design, sustainability,
spa operations, spa suppliers, organic food, education and marketing. Together
they worked on action plans for the next 12 months as well as visioning what the
industry could look like in the year 2012.
event was a true turning point for GSN, explained Michael Stusser, founding
president of the non-profit organization. We brought together a group of
like-minded professionals and worked very hard to imagine our future and widen
the scope of what we need to accomplish for the earth and its peoples. From here
forward we will be part of humanities immune-system response to what is happening
on the planet by playing a visible role in the effort to transform mankinds
destructive tendencies affecting the environment and human health.
Sarah Livia Brightwood, daughter of Deborah Szekely, reminded
everyone of the principles of proactive wellness that the Ranch was founded on
and helped showcase inspiring examples of sustainable spa practices. Participants
were given an extensive tour of the Ranch¹s bio-intensive organic farm that
covers nearly six acres and supply nearly 70% of the food served at the ranch.
RLPs farm has a highly evolved system of companion planting, crop rotation
and optimal stewardship of soil and water. The devotion and enthusiasm of the
organic farm workers and managers underscored the importance of their work.
Participants visited the Ranch's Parque Professor
(Professors Park) in Tecatea recreational and educational facility
that provides services to 60,000 people annually. The GSN group learned about
environmental education programs, festivals and recreational programs which Fundacion
La Puerta, the Ranch's nonprofit arm, provides to Tecate's families. GSN also
visited a community outreach program in a marginalized neighborhood, witnessing
the 10-year transformation of an illegal dump site into a thriving community garden
providing income to twenty families. Brightwood explained that Rancho La Puerta
has been cycling 10% of before tax profits into community projects for decades.
It was so very appropriate that this powerful event
was held at the birthplace of true spa-ing in North America, Stusser adds.
With Rancho LaPuertas mind and body fitness programs fortifying us
and its community outreach programs inspiring us, it was like holding our congress
at a bona fide University of Wellness!
vital connections were formed over the days as the group hiked together in the
early mornings, enjoyed superb organic vegetarian meals and took part in the sessions
and classes. Everyone left with a high level of intention and plans to evolve
their green spas into vital places of health and wellness that will extend into
our communities and support a graceful transition to the post carbon era.
About the Green Spa Network: Green Spa Network (GSN) is a
tax-exempt, not-for-profit, trade association whose purpose is to evolve sustainable
operating practices for the spa industry, and to promote the natural connections
between personal wellbeing, economic sustainability, and the health of our planet.
~Sally Robb Haims