Costa Rica began its sustainability initiatives in the 1990’s. President José María Figueras made environmental sustainability a central part of his campaign for president and won partially based on these ideas. Costa Rica has set plans to become completely carbon neutral by the year 2021. In addition to the regulations at the national level, such as the carbon tax and the establishment of the Ministry of Environment and Energy, locals take great pride in their countries environment. Local governments propose reforestation efforts which has helped to make it the country with the most trees per capita.
The environment is an essential part of Costa Rica’s economy. Their protected areas draw vacationers, explorers, and scientists alike to see their forests and landscapes. Travel is the countries number one industry, so preserving their forests and environment are very important. The country is over 25% protected area and is home to almost five percent of the worlds biodiversity.
It is very surprising to hear how progressive this country is when it comes to environmental protection. Costa Rica is still developing and has not fully reached industrialization. Countries that are still industrializing generally do not begin implementing environmental standards until after industrializing. However, considering how heavily they rely on their environment it makes sense.