I launched the Planeta.com website in Austin, Texas
at the invitation of Sustainable
Sources, a local BBS and Internet provider, which focuses
on green technologies and sustainable sources.
Austin is a wonderful city with a well-developed cyber culture.
Planeta.com has grown exponentially as contributors have provided
information on environmental destinations as well as tourism
services and resources.
Students have a large collection of resources for their studies
on NAFTA, rainforests, deserts in northern Mexico and the indigenous
ecotourism in South America.
This information is provided free of charge and fosters decentralized
communication. We spotlight "practical ecotourism."
Planeta.com has numerous links with travel providers, universities,
government agencies and - important to note - individuals throughout
the hemisphere, and in fact the world. The quality of these
links is that they are personally maintained - there's a real
person on both ends. And in this informal network, we keep ourselves
up-to-date on environmental news, ecotourism and travel information
in the Americas.
I'm very disappointed with the local Internet culture or the
lack of Interamerican connections in Miami, particularly in
the online business community. As correctly surmised last week
in Mexico's El Financiero newspaper:
Life brings you surprises, which is why the
best collection of sources for Latin America trade and economic
issues on the World Wide Web does not come from the self-proclaimed
Gateway to the Americas (Miami) ... but from Lake Oswego, Oregon,
home of the Latin American Trade Council of Oregon (LATCO).
Why is LATCO successful? Perhaps it's the distance.
Miami boasts a vibrant Latin American communitiey, and the need
to provide information online is quite small. Also, the coordinators
of the LATCO website also have the ethic that the Internet should
be used to provide as much information for free as possible.
This runs contrary to most Miami businesses!