Costa Rica’s Environmental Initiatives

April 22nd is Earth Day! Every year since 1970, the world celebrates Earth Day to demonstrate support for environmental protection. In the spirit of being green, let’s learn about some of Costa Rica’s environmental initiatives

Photo of rainforest plants in Costa Rica

Costa Rica prides itself on being a green and ecological country. Even pioneering ecotourism in Latin America! Small yet mighty, Costa Rica has already protected 28% of its land and 30% of its territorial waters. This is especially important for a country that holds an estimated 5% of the world’s biodiversity! 

Creating protected areas is just one small piece of Costa Rica’s big green picture. In 2021, Costa Rica banned all single-use plastic products such as disposable bags,Egret in Costa Rica cutlery, straws, cups, coffee lids, stirrers, and bottles. Styrofoam was also on the hit list. On July 15th 2021, the importation and sale of styrofoam was also banned. 

Since 2002, Costa Rica no longer permits oil and gas exploration and exploitation. This decree has been extended to 2050 and has kept oil and gas companies out of Costa Rica. The Legislative Assembly is working hard to turn this decree into a law to ensure a sustainable future. 

Costa Rica is also one of the first tropical countries to end deforestation! In 1987, the deforestation was so terrible it led to nearly half of the country’s forest cover being lost. Things had to change and Costa Rica actually reversed its loss of nature. Almost 75% of Costa Rica’s land is once again covered in forest and jungle. This reforestation effort was such a success that Costa Rica was awarded the Earthshot Prize in 2021. 

Costa Rica environmental initiatives

On to some more great environmental initiatives! Since 2014, Costa Rica has been a global leader in renewable energy use. Over 98% of Costa Rica’s electricity comes from 100% renewable resources! Incredible resources such as rivers, volcanoes, wind, and solar power generate electricity for this beautiful country.

Striving to always be forward thinking, Costa Rica has undertaken many initiatives to start becoming a carbon neutral country. The transportation sector, which is one of Costa Rica’s larger carbon producing sectors, has acquired 322 electric vehicles for their government institutions. Costa Rica has made progress in sustainable construction. As of 2021, 736 buildings and 29 municipalities have received the Ecological Blue Flag Award. The goal is to be carbon neutral by 2050. 

Currently, Costa Rica is taking the leading role in many global environmental initiatives. The first is the 30×30 initiative that proposes to protect 30% of the planet’s ecosystems by 2030. The next environmental initiative involves Costa Rica, Ecuador, Panama and Colombia. These countries announced the strengthening of the Eastern Tropical Pacific Marine Corridor. They intend for this area to become a Transboundary Biosphere Reserve under UNESCO. Costa Rica is always eager to participate in initiatives that will lead to a greener world. 

White faced monkey with baby in Costa Rica

Costa Rica’s green reputation is well deserved. It is a country that strives to do what is right for future generations and for the preservation of natural beauty. Costa Rica understands the value of nature. After all, what is a trip to Costa Rica without seeing any of the incredible flora and fauna this country has to offer. 

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