Costa Rica Leads the Way

Costa Rica was ranked the #2 country in the world for their efforts in sustainability, and I see that as no small accomplishment. I was immediately impressed by this ranking, and I already think highly of the country and it’s people. I also realized that I don’t have a clear understanding of what sustainability means as the term is somewhat broad. As I began my research, the governments role in protecting the environment stood out to me. I feel this is important because it’s such a big difference from the U.S. In Costa Rica, they have many progressive conservation policies, and their government plays a big role in protecting the natural resources, biodiversity, and nature reserves. Personally, I believe that protecting the environment is important for all governments to focus on, and I see Costa Rica’s efforts as a way that they are making an effort for the greater good.

As I continued my search into Costa Rican sustainability, I found some of the reasons they received this ranking and are seen as a leader in this field. They use mainly green energy and plan to be carbon neutral by 2021 which means they would no longer use fossil fuels. In terms of sustainable tourism, they have organizations which evaluate hotels and lodges to make sure they’re keeping up with eco-friendly policies. Also, they began payments for environmental services which rewards landowners for maintaining environmental services. I found this initiative the most interesting because I took both microeconomics and macroeconomics this past year, and I learned how people respond to incentives. Also, I thought this initiative fit well in to my studies about the tragedy of commons, and how no one person has the incentive to take care of a shared resource. I think these programs say a lot about Costa Rica as a whole, and that they value the environment and also everyone’s use of it.

Finally, I ended my research with the coffee industry. I found that in 2015, Café de Costa Rica decided to work towards becoming the world’s first fully environmentally sustainable coffee-producing region. They plan to do this through reducing greenhouse gases, using energy-saving technology, and using new soil management practices. Along with this, they hope to help reach the country’s goal of being carbon neutral by 2021. Overall, this research has made me more excited for this trip. I never would’ve though that Costa Rica and their coffee industry plays such big role in helping the environment. I’m curious to see how this effects the costs and efficiency of making and selling coffee. I would like to hear how the people of Costa Rica feel about these initiatives, and if everyone is focused on maintaining the enviroment.

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