As a reformed coffee addict, I know a good cup of coffee. Drinking high quality organic fair trade coffee is important to me both for the superior quality and taste as well as the environment. You have probably noticed rising costs for your morning cup of coffee. Thanks to climate change, coffee production in vulnerable and crops are failing. According to the Union of Concerned Scientists, irregular weather patterns and changes in rainfall are causing coffee production to dwindle worldwide. In addition, coffee is one of the major crops grown in developing nations that relies on exploitation of cheap labor. Buying fair trade organically grown coffee is combating both climate change and unfair labor practices at the same time. By supporting organic farmers, with your wallet, you are contributing to the solution. Continue reading →
Countries such as Costa Rica, Kenya, New Zealand and Australia are known as ectourism hot spots. Ecotourism requires that the footprint of the traveler on natural resources be a sustainable one. Nations with large undeveloped land bases became interested in ecotourism because it provides a way to generate income that benefits the local economy and at the same time protects the ecosystem. In Costa Rica, tourism earnings surpass those of coffee and bananas.
The development of ecotourism dates back to the 1960s when public concern about environmental issues increased. Conservation groups formed to lobby governments to set aside land not just for tourists or endangered animals but to also preserve the natural integrity of the ecosystem. These groups found that support for conservation efforts was stronger if people experienced endangered species first hand. In other words, people who have a direct experience with nature are more likely to be sensitive to environmental issues. For those living in large urban areas in the west, there is a disconnect between the natural environment and the urban one. As great as the latest developments in technology are, the opportunity to unplug for a week and connect with nature is good for our well-being and the planet. Continue reading →
The USA National Park Service and Costa Rica Parks signed an agreement to work cooperatively to protect national parks. According to the press release, “agencies will work together to support planning, development, management and operation of protected natural parks and cultural sites. Agencies will also share information in fire management and control, climate change adaptation, marine protected areas and the development of educational and public information.” The accord will support conservation practices and sharing resources that serve the interests of the national parks for both countries. Already, the US Park Service has a cooperative relationship with Costa Rica’s park service. Continue reading →
Today scientists, Jonathan E M Baillie and Ellen R Butcher, supported by 8000 additional scientists, released Priceless or Worthless: The world’s most threatened species, listing the 100 must critically endangered species on the planet. While none of Costa Rica’s endangered species made the critically endangered list, it raised interesting points and concerns about saving endangered species and how we value life on planet earth. There are 373 endangered species in Costa Rica, and this country’s pro-environmental stance has been critical in ensuring that species that may have gone from endangered to critically endangered have not. Despite the alarming reports released daily on climate change and the ramifications, it is hard to fathom why more aggressive action is not being taken on a global scale. It defeats logic and the principles of the happiness index. What is holding us back from moving forward and what do we need to do as a global community to solve these critical problems? The report questions our value systems. It states “Our materialistic world, however, tends to restrict its attention to what is useful to human kind, has an immediate monetary value and considers the rest as obstacles.” Continue reading →
After a major 7.8 earthquake struck Costa Rica on Saturday, it is a reminder that as the impact of climate change intensifies so too does the frequency of storms, earthquakes, and volcanoes. While life is back to normal with people surfing and the beaches full, it is a reminder of this region’s incredible veracity. They have experienced aftershocks as strong as 5.6 with a total of 1650 aftershocks. After last weeks quakes, volcanoes are being closely monitored. Evidence from other countries around the Pacific Rim shows that movements of 7 or higher causes a change in volcanic activity. On Saturday neighboring Nicaragua’s largest volcano erupted three times prompting the evacuation thousands. In Costa Rica, Arenal suffered moderate rock avalanches. Continue reading →
Too much and too long, we seem to have surrendered community excellence and community values in the mere accumulation of material things…The Gross National Product (the primary means of economic progress) measured everything, in short, except that which makes life worthwhile. ~Robert Kennedy
How do we define it?
How do have more of it?
When it comes to the Happiness Index, Costa Rica ranks number one in the world. This small country abolished its army years ago and put the money into education, social security, and protection of its national parks. According to President Laura Chinchilla, these actions are the basis for why Costa Rica is the happiest country in the world. The results seem to speak for themselves. Its growing popularity as both a tourist destination and spot that expats, seeking a higher quality of life, are moving to is evidence that this small country is doing something right. If Costa Rica lives by the principle of attraction rather than promotion, it is attracting people from all over the world. Is this small Latin American country an example for the world to model? Continue reading →
A powerful 7.6 magnitude earthquake hit Costa Rica yesterday morning sending people scurrying into a brief panic before resuming regular daily life. It was the strongest earthquake to strike Costa Rica in 50 years. The quake hit some 25 miles under the surface so luckily the damage was minimal. It was felt as far as Panama and Nicaragua. At first, there was a tsunami warming issued but the warning has been called off. Areas did suffer power outages and structural damage to buildings and roads but the reported damage is minimal. Luckily, there were very few injuries. Overall for such a huge quake, there is very little clean up to do. The good news is that the waves are huge and surfers are heading to the beach especially along the Southern Pacific Coast. Continue reading →
Forest conservation efforts in the Osa Peninsula are critical to ensuring the balance of the planet’s ecosystem and species survival. The forest are the earth’s lungs. The Osa Peninsula is one of the most biologically intense places in the world. Preserving the Osa’s forest is critical to the many species that live in this area. Tropical forest cover less than 2% of the planets surface but are home to more than 50% of existing species. Osa Conservation and The National Resource Defense Council partnered up to undertake expansive reforestation efforts in this region to preserve this habitat for the incredibly rich diversity of plants, fauna and species that call this home. This Southern part of Costa Rica contains the last remnants of Central American Pacific tropical rain forest. 71% of the forest in the Peninsula is protected including Corcovado National Park and the surrounding reserves. Continue reading →
A favorite thing to do when visiting the Osa Peninsula is taking a day hike ecotour to the Tigres Rivers, a former gold mining spot in Corcovado National Park. Exploring this former gold mining area is an adventure back in time. The region was a thriving area for gold prospectors who came here in droves to strike it rich beginning with the early settlers. Named by Columbus, “The Rich Coast,” the Osa Peninsula was famous for its abundance of gold deposits. In the 1930s, the discovery of gold triggered an economic boom. The Peninsula was one of Costa Rica’s largest gold bearing regions until the 1980s. At 21 karats, it is some of the world’s most pure gold. In the 1970s gold mining was declared illegal with the creation of Corcovado National Park. Continue reading →
What’s for dinner? It’s a global question asked every night by people, but few ask, is it sustainable? Fish often finds it way to the dinner plate. Fish is a favorite food because it is brain food and low in calories helping to keep us healthy and in shape. However, most of us don’t think about the consequences of what we eat. The thought of whether of not our dinner plate is sustainable does not even cross the average mind. In the USA, you can pretty much eat anything you want anytime of the year.
For most anglers, the ability to catch a fish and then eat it is a very rewarding experience. Unsustainable commercial fishing practices threaten this tradition. For thousands of years, man has hunted for his dinner but without strong marine conservation programs, many game fish face extinction. Catch and release programs and sustainable fishing practices are implemented to protect vulnerable fish populations. Continue reading →
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