Sweeter with Sustainability

Costa Rica puts a large emphasis on environmental sustainability, or the indefinite use of renewable resources.  To say the Ticos are doing their share to preserve our planet would be an understatement and their efforts are admirable. After Googling “Costa Rica sustainability practices,” I have noticed the country mainly focuses their efforts toward tourism, energy, and agriculture.

Costa Rica’s ecotourism industry is one of a kind.  The country has more than 30% of the forests protected as nature reserves, leading to intrigued tourists stopping by to visit.  What I think is most impressive about their ecotourism industry is the businesses involved. They recognize the importance of sustainability and strive to uphold their country’s repuation.  Some businesses are even CST (Certificate of Sustainable Tourism) certified businesses.  CST certified businesses receive the competitive title through

  • actively implementing sustainable practices, such as protecting the surrounding environment
  • waste management and conservation of water
  • consideration of all internal and external elements of their product
  • encouraging clients to partake in sustainability practices
  • responding to growth in the community with employment opportunities

Costa Rica receives most of its energy from renewable resources.  The country’s goal is to be completely carbon neutral, having no net CO2 release, by 2021, and they are well on their way to achieving this feat.  In 2015, the country completed 75 days of using nothing but renewable resources for energy.  In 2016, they beat their record by completing 110 days of solely clean energy use.  99.5% of Ticos have energy available to them and last year 98.1% of their energy was supplied from renewable resources.  This is quite an impressive statistic, even for the energy elitist.  In order to become the first country to be completely carbon neutral, businesses are offered a voluntary tax to offset their carbon emissions.  The tax will be used to help nuetralize Greenhouse Gas with movements such as reforestation.

Finally, Costa Rica’s agricultural sustainability is a focal point of this trip.  During the 20th century, Costa Rica lost a large portion of its forests to agriculture.  The tax mentioned previously is being used to replace the destroyed trees.  Planting trees on agricultural land is not only beneficial to farmers, but to the environment as well.  Coffee, one of Costa Rica’s main crops, grows best under the shade of trees. The trees also preserve the country’s biodiversity, a characteristic the Ticos pride themselves on.

Overall, the Tico’s ways are the epitome of sustainable. I believe all people should have the same pride and reverence in their own countries’ as the Ticos do in Costa Rica.  I am excited to arrive in Costa Rica and see them practice what they preach. Costa Rica is doing their part, and following their example, we can work to be a more sustainable planet.

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