A group started discussing the idea for this site sometime in April of 2011. Seth Inman was starting to plan for his summer work while Michael Muller was already looking for flights to India. Raxa Collective had recently been chosen as a name by a group of people in Kerala that included George M. George.
As owner of two resorts pioneering sustainable tourism in the Western Ghats and in the Backwaters, George’s intent with the name Raxa Collective was to both broaden and deepen his company’s tangible commitments to conservation. Raxa, derived from the sanskrit word for protector/guardian, reflected the intent; collective reflected the process.
Michael joined Raxa Collective for a couple of months prior to his senior year at Amherst College. He wanted to get his “hands dirty” in sustainable development. Seth, who had worked in Kerala during the months of 2010 prior to his freshman year at Cornell University, chose Nicaragua to extend his own work experience. In 2002 he had camped in the hills that eventually became Morgan’s Rock, and in May, 2011 the owners of that resort invited him to work there.
With Michael in Kerala and Seth in Nicaragua–they were born in the same town, and knew each other since childhood but had never worked on anything together–both quickly assessed their locations and identified topics of common interest. They wanted their summer jobs to achieve goals, not only for the resorts where they worked and not only for themselves, but somehow for a bigger purpose. Both knew that social media would be a useful tool.
Using skype and email they had a few short discussions about what they thought was missing in the universe of websites, blogs, aggregators, and summed it up with a couple questions: where can university students find out about alternatives to the mainstream occupations and career paths most typically offered to graduates of schools like Amherst and Cornell? Specifically, where can they learn about entrepreneurial conservation?
And so the purpose of this site was established: to facilitate collaboration among those who participate in and communicate about entrepreneurial conservation projects. The objective is to highlight and explain unique private sector initiatives in developing economies; to provide creative personal accounts of exploring the cultural and natural environments where these initiatives operate, illustrated with photography, video, music and links to supporting relevant media; to inform about these efforts and encourage travel to these places to further strengthen the resorts’ commitment of resources to these initiatives.