It is so great to be home! No matter where I’ve been or how much fun I’ve had, I always find myself unable to exhale fully until the flight tracker enters American air.
I have returned to America still buzzing with residual caffeine from the amount of incredible coffee consumed on the trip. This caffeine high has created a lot of time to reflect on my experience. At the forefront of my reflection is a deep conviction regarding the United States rapid use of nonrenewable natural resources.
Beyond the main objective of learning about coffee production, I would argue that sustainability is the second objective of the coffee program. One of the most fascinating aspects of the trip is the opportunity to stay at UGA’s Costa Rican ecolodge and learn about their sustainability practices. Because ecotourism is the largest industry in Costa Rica, the country’s collective top priority is preserving their environment. Hydro, Wind, and Solar technologies are so common that I didn’t think twice about seeing them by the end of our trip. The UGA CR ecolodge has so many sustainable practices in place that they actually have a negative carbon footprint.
In addition to my newly refined pallet for coffee, I have found myself taking the time to read environmental articles that I may have skipped over before attending this trip. It doesn’t take long to realize we (The United States) are far behind the world in implementing cleaner energy sources. I fear we will never be able to reverse the damage we have already done, but now realize it is up to my generation and those behind me to lobby for cleaner practices and change the trajectory of our consumption.
If you are on the fence about attending the Coffee study abroad program, I encourage you to take a leap of faith and attend. Every single participant in my group enjoyed their time in Costa Rica and returned from the trip with a broader perspective of coffee, the environment, and economics.
“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot,
Nothing is going to get better. It’s not.”
– Dr. Seuss, The Lorax