Going in to this trip I expected to learn a lot about avian species, other wildlife, and birdwatching, however, I did not expect to learn so much about sustainability. After 3 weeks in Costa Rica, I came back to the US with a different perspective on sustainability, and an increased drive to reduce my waste and to encourage others to reduce waste as well.
Costa Rica, although it is a small, developing country, is one of the top leaders of sustainability in the world. The diversity rich country is dedicated to reducing, reusing, recycling, and decreasing its negative impacts on our planet. As part of this dedication, Costa Rica plans to be 100% carbon neutral by next year. As I also noticed everywhere we traveled, conservation of non-renewable resources is a very common practice.
The effort to reduce energy usage is evident in the fact that most places do not use air conditioning, and lights are almost always encouraged to be turned off or will turn off automatically, whenever not in use. Along with these practices, it is evident that the people of Costa Rica make much more of an effort to recycle and reuse materials for other purposes. For example, In addition to recycling containers everywhere you look, I often saw old satellite dishes painted and used as signs on the side of the road, and also spotted old tires used for multiple purposes including chairs and fences.
The ways that I have seen Costa Ricans value the environment has inspired me to do more to promote a better world. Since being surrounded by a culture that places such a high priority on reducing waste, I am motivated to make my own impact. When I came home from this trip, I have made plans to reduce the waste I produce by finding eco-friendly replacements for things like plastic toothbrushes, ziploc bags, plastic straws, shampoo containers and more.