Hola! My name is Mary Cumpston, and I am a rising sophomore civil engineering student at the University of Pittsburgh. I am a native Pittsburgher myself, and in my free time I enjoy taking walks in Frick Park, going to cultural events downtown, and cooking new foods. At school, I am a member of the Society of Women Engineers and am active in Pitt’s Design Hub.
I am so excited to learn about how the coffee industry impacts the people, land, and culture of Costa Rica. As an engineering student, I believe it is my duty to gain a deeper understanding of the societal impacts of the profession. I think this trip will give me new perspectives that will be very valuable to me going forward in my career.
Though I do not know much about sustainability in Costa Rica yet, I do know that the country really values its biodiversity, and seeks to protect its natural landscape. Truthfully, it does not surprise me that such a unique, biologically rich country would value its natural resources so highly. Also, considering that ecotourism is a booming industry in Costa Rica, there is all the more justification for the sustainability initiatives. I think it is really impressive that such a small country has committed itself to improving its environment.
One popular sustainability program in Costa Rica is the Certificate of Sustainable Tourism (CST). This essentially rates Costa Rican businesses on their sustainability, and helps people make informed decisions about the places they shop and the businesses they support.
Costa Rica also adopted a Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Action (NAMA) called “NAMA-Café” to bring sustainable faming practices into the coffee industry and to reach its goal of becoming 100% carbon neutral by 2021. This project collaborates with the leaders of the Costa Rican coffee industry, and encourages sustainable farming practices.
I can’t believe I will be in Costa Rica in only a few days! I am so excited to be somewhere new. I love experiencing new cultures, trying new foods, and learning new things. I hope to gain new understandings and experiences that I can’t get from staying in Pittsburgh. I cannot wait to share my experiences abroad!