It’s difficult to live environmentally conscious lives in our modern society. Organic and free-range food is expensive and hard to come by, everything comes covered in protective plastic, and personal cars are the only way to travel in many cities. As much effort as you put into living green, it can be frustrating watching our society become more materialistic and destructive. This is why so many people, from die-hard environmentalists to regular families, are packing their bags and moving to Costa Rica. These re-locators want to live in a society that supports their priorities, and they have found such a home in this small, tropical country.
The Costa Rican government has vowed to be a world leader in environmental policies, and with over 4% of the entire world’s biodiversity originating from their Central American country, they have a lot riding on this promise. Six of these policies are especially fruitful and advanced, and when residing in a country which prioritizes green living and healthy habits, it will be easy for you to live as you’ve dreamed.
The Blue Flag Ecological Program
Costa Rica spans from the Pacific Ocean to the Caribbean Sea and boasts almost 800 miles of total shoreline. These shores are far from average; they’re swarming with rare and beautiful creatures. The Costa Rican government created a Blue Flag program which awards communities for protecting their ocean water, potable drinking water, and coastal sanitation. The guidelines are strict, but if beach-front communities are able to fulfil 90% of the requirements each year, they are awarded the Blue Flag. This flag earns the communities higher scores on tourism registries and helps local economies. The Blue Flag Ecological Program also has education initiatives, emergency service preparation, and a recycling network.
National Park Reserves
Currently, over 25% of national land in Costa Rica is reserved and protected. This includes 26 large national parks. This initiative protects the natural biodiversity of the country, promotes ecological tourism and active living, and collects funds through park fees which go to further develop nearby communities. This may have started as an environmental initiative, but the developed national park scene in Costa Rica holds much of the credit for the advanced tourism to the area. Thanks to this program, the negative effects of an industrializing society have been negated and the economy has been improved by the surge of tourism and relocation.
Renewable Energy Initiative
Costa Rica is leading the world on sustainable energy production. Currently, over 90% of the country’s electrical energy comes from sustainable sources, mostly hydro-powered. Hydroelectricity continues to be the country’s leading source of energy, followed by geothermal, biomass, solar, and wind power. The Costa Rican government has vowed to advance efforts on harnessing methods for sustainable energy and even went 76 straight days in 2016 on 100% local, renewable energy. This initiative is sponsored by the government, yet many local families and business owners are pitching in. Families often opt to use daylight during the day hours, only turning on light in their homes after dark. This is made easy by the colonial house construction, with an open-aired garden in the middle of the home. Business owners have created similar policies and run their companies in the greenest possible way, without any incentives from the government. The environmentally conscious way of live is truly addicting in Costa Rica.
Carbon Neutrality Initiative
In 2007, satisfied at the rapid successes of the Renewable Energy Initiative, Costa Rica vowed to become the first carbon-neutral country by 2021. This small country is well on its way to achieving this ambitious environmental goal, thanks to an incentivizing plan urging participation in ecologically-friendly energy harnessing, forestry, and construction.
Sustainable Tourism Licensing
As eco-tourism becomes more popular throughout the world, Costa Rica has taken special precautions to make sure this tag-line isn’t being used for purely commercial reasons. While in other countries any company can call themselves “eco” for having a recycling program, Costa Rica has implemented very strict parameters for companies who want to enter the eco-tourism field. This credentialing program has multiple levels and categories, and while it may be hard for companies to achieve the licensing, you know when you book an eco-lodge that you’re supporting the cause which means so much to you.
Forest Carbon Project
This new program works to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation. Costa Rica is now reducing carbon emissions, managing sustainable forests, and conserving forests carbon stocks, all in the name of environmental responsibility. This also offers a pathway for investors to invest in forestation programs and sell their credit, making this initiative not only good for the environment, but a huge boost for the economy as well.