Environmentalism and Sustainability in Costa Rica

This summer we learned that Costa Rica has proven its commitment to sustainable energy yet again, by running on 100 percent renewable energy for two months consecutively between June and August. An accomplishment like this is not a first-time feat for Costa Rica, as the country was also impressively able to run on renewable resources for just under 300 days last year.

Costa Rica has instead relied on hydropower, geothermal, wind, solar, and biomass as means for energy production, resulting in nearly 100 percent of their electricity being created from these sources.

Dr. Monica Araya is a Costa Rican author and adviser on clean development and politics of climate change in Latin America presented a TED talk this past August stating “The world is hungry for inspiration. It craves stories of success in dealing with complex issues… I believe Costa Rica can be an inspiration to others, as we did last year when we disclosed that for so many days we were not using any fossil fuels in order to generate all our electricity. The news went viral around the world.”

In addition to a proven nationwide commitment to alternative energy resources, similarly sustainable practices are deeply ingrained in both Costa Rican culture and industry. Costa Rica boasts natural beauty, picturesque scenery, and unparalleled biodiversity. The commitment to eco-tourism has also earned the country a spot on National Geographics, “9 Destinations you should feel good about visiting,” stating that the country “earns its keep as a global green-travel icon.”

The World Bank, reported that 27.4 % of Costa Rica is a terrestrial protected area. In addition, around half of the protected land is used for accessible national parks, with govisitcostarica.com stating that “Costa Rica has 27 national parks, 58 wildlife refuges, 32 protected zones, 15 wetland areas/mangroves, 11 forest reserves and 8 biological reserves, as well as 12 other conservation regions that protect the distinctive and diverse natural habitats found throughout the country.”

Studying in Costa Rica can give the environmentally-minded student an opportunity to explore a culture and community firsthand that is taking alternative energy, conservation, and sustainability seriously.

Our partnership with ICDS (International Center for Development Studies) in San Jose, Costa Rica features a “Development Studies in Latin America Program.” This program combines academics, service-learning, and cultural immersion to provide students with the opportunity to acquire in-depth knowledge of human rights, analyze challenges to environmental sustainability, and understand human development in greater complexity.

screen-shot-2016-10-19-at-11-39-32-amCourses that a student could take while participating in this program include: Community Engagement and Sustainable Human Development, Sustainability Practices and Food Security in Rural Costa Rica, Current Environmental Issues in Latin America, Rural and Urban Sustainable Development: Global and Local Perspectives, and Sustainable Tourism and Local Development

Students in this program also have the opportunity to participate in extension opportunities outside of the classroom via field trips where they observe such varied activities as nature tourism, applied biological research, wildlife management and other examples of sustainable human development at work.

For more information about the ICDS, Development Studies in Costa Rica program, you can visit the website here: https://www.apistudyabroad.com/programs/costa-rica/san-jose/icds-development-studies-in-latin-america/course-offerings/

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