Sustainability is a growing concern internationally, with rising awareness about renewable energy, recycling programs, and sustainable food practices. Costa Rica is the leading force for sustainability in Latin America having been ranked 21st in the world in overall sustainability as well as 2nd in the world in purely environmental sustainability according to the World Energy Council (Tico Times). This makes Costa Rica the most sustainability focused country in Latin America, a title that shouldn’t be taken lightly. Costa Rica’s large tourism sector has begun changing focus to eco-tourism, with national parks, protected lands, and wildlife reserves accounting for 26% of the land in Costa Rica (Costa Rica).
The large amount of focus on sustainability within Costa Rican culture, is very exciting and with numbers showing that only 6.4% of their energy is non-renewable, it gives hope that other countries across the globe could similarly increase the amount of renewable energy they use (Tico Times). The focus on sustainability is impressive considering the large amount of corruption that occurred in their national government because even with all the shakeups, the government as a whole has constantly seen to transforming Costa Rica into a country that will be a leader in the push for worldwide sustainability.
The emphasis upon ecotourism and “green” initiatives turns Costa Rica into a “feel good” destination. A traveler knows that by visiting Costa Rica, they will learn of new practices in preserving wildlife and natural habitats. One of these practices is a voluntary carbon tax that allows businesses to “offset” their carbon dioxide emissions by paying this tax (World Watch). The tax was implemented to slowly shift the country towards a net carbon dioxide emission of zero. Additionally, travelers can select officially certified hotels that have passed the governments requirements for being ecologically sustainable (World Watch). This makes travelers feel even better about choosing Costa Rica as a location to visit and increases the amount of money and jobs Costa Rica can create from the tourism sector.
The importance of renewable energy, sustainability, and ecotourism all make Costa Rica into a country that is at the front of the international community in eco-friendly practices. The idea of buying coffee from a country that is so focused on maintaining sustainable practices is something that a business or a corporation can advertise about themselves creating a positive image. Furthermore, customers are becoming increasingly interested in buying products that are “eco-friendly” or sustainable, aiding the international potential for many of Costa Rican products. Personally, I find it astounding how much work Costa Rica has put into preserving their natural resources, especially with the huge swaths of recognized parks and protected zones. I am impressed in their national dedication towards protecting the resources they have and excited to visit Costa Rica and see the progressive initiatives in practice.