Costa Rica, one of the most beautiful countries in the world, is currently ranked 2nd in the world in environmental sustainability by the World Energy Council. Trailing only Switzerland, Costa Rica has seen extreme improvements over the last few decades, as various policies were implemented in order to encourage the conservation of natural resources. By promoting renewable energy and healthier ecosystems (through ecotourism, primarily), the Ticos have been able to recapture the beauty for which their magnificent country was named. To me, it is extremely admirable and impressive that such a small country can emerge as a world superpower in sustainability, and my perception of the country has only improved as my visit nears.
As a country that relies so heavily on tourism, it is important to promote attractions that not only draw visitors, but respect the environment as well. For this reason, the government of Costa Rica established the Certificate of Sustainable Tourism (CST). The CST is given to hotels and lodges that are “rigorously appraised on their respect for local culture, preservation of natural resources, contribution to the economic well-being of the community and employment of local people.” By creating such a distinction, more and more tourist locations are incentivized to adopt more eco-friendly and sustainable methods of operation, which creates a greener and more sustainable country as a whole.
Recently, the Costa Rican government has passed an initiative to become the world’s first carbon neutral country within the next five years. Simply put, the government wants to eliminate as much CO2 from the environment that business and factories are putting into it. In addition, the government committed to having zero net emissions by 2085. In order to fulfill these aspirations, many changes in energy methods have taken place. Through the first three months of 2016, around 97% of Costa Rica’s power came from renewable resources, primarily through hydropower (66%). Clearly, the Tico government possesses the ambition and the resources to one day achieve these goals, and the result of a greener country would benefit all.
After learning about just how sustainable Costa Rica is, I am even more excited to embark on this amazing journey. I look forward to seeing many of their eco-friendly industrial practices with my own eyes, as well as witnessing the beautiful landscape and diverse ecosystem. In addition, I’m excited to see how the coffee industry can contribute to the country’s outstanding reputation for sustainability. ¡Pura Vida!