For people discussing Costa Rica, the words “sustainable” and “green” are bound to come up in the conversation – to the point where they have become leading characteristics to describe it. But how green is Costa Rica exactly? We’re going to look into the claims below and give you a little run down of Costa Rica’s sustainable achievements before you touch down:
The Failures Of The Past
A lot of people who visit Costa Rica figure that it was always ecologically oriented, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. It was only forty years ago that Costa Rica had lost 40% of its forests due to deforestation, where government policies saw rain forests as “unproductive land”. When the carbon footprint of the country was finally understood, the government set about reversing what they had done.
Choosing Renewable Energy
This started with renewable energy and recycling. One of the places you might go to as a traveller in Costa Rica is known as Lake Arenal – a 33-square-mile lake that sits at the base of Volcano Arenal and the nearby Arenal National Park. It is known for its incredible beauty and as a watersport base for companies like volcano.cr.
But this is not just any old lake. This is a hydroelectric project that now generates around 12% of the country’s electricity – initially generating as much as 70%! Apart from Lake Arenal, the country now gleans 98% of its electricity from renewable sources, and 60% of waste is recycled – helped by the “pay to throw” initiative, which charges citizens for the amount of rubbish they produce.
Reversing The Damage
Costa Rica also focused its efforts on reversing the damage of its deforestation programe. Since the 1990s, Costa Rica has ensured that 75% of its land is covered in rainforest once more, with the country becoming around 98% deforestation-free. As well as this, 25% of Costa Rica has become a national park or reserve, which protects the land from being touched or tampered with in the future.
The Future Of Costa Rica
Speaking of the future, the National Decarbonisation Plan is looking to completely decarbonise Costa Rica’s entire economy. This would include reforming its land use, waste, energy, and transport systems to achieve net zero emissions in just under 26 years.
Whether this will be 100% achieved remains to be seen, but Costa Rica should undoubtedly be commended for trying, and that’s why your upcoming visit could prove so important. According to recent statistics, Costa Rica’s biggest income comes from tourism, with nearly $2 billion coming into the economy every year. With the chance to do several eco-tourism activities, and witness the beauty of the country in person, you’ll be lending a hand to Costa Rica’s future, which looks set to be greener than ever.