Thursday, 19 March 2015
Costa Rica's Pura Vida
We were blessed to travel to Costa Rica earlier this year, and were thrilled to do so -- because of what we understood about both the country's singular beauty, and it's record of environmental protection. After all, Costa Rica is the birthplace of both modern eco-tourism and the "pura vida" lifestyle and approach, right?
The country's extraordinary natural beauty -- green parakeets flying from tree to tree, a whole family of howler monkeys warning us to keep away from baby, and climbing up into the tall trees, and two green turtles mating in the big blue Pacific -- was indeed both humbling and inspiring. Sadly, beginning on the plane ride home and since, troubling details about CR's environmental stewardship (or lack of same) have started to emerge:
-- A new documentary film appears to provide troubling evidence of shark finning organizations operating with impunity in the country;
-- A report in today's "Tico Times" raises concern about the Government's decision to green-light the export of hammerhead shark fin (a species on the Red List of Endangered Species) to Hong Kong;
-- More troubling still, a report in today's Guardian indicates that in May 2013, 26-year-old environmental activist Jairo Mora was murdered; and, since 1989, the murder of 10 environmental activists have gone unsolved.
Margaret Mead once said: "We won't have a society if we destroy the environment." It's not fair to ask Costa Rica to do more than its fair share, but is hard to imagine a country whose economy is more closely connected to and dependent on, the fate of this beautiful planet and its unique marine and land species. And, as home to six per cent of the world's biodiversity, Costa Rica's environmental stewardship is something on which we all depend.
We are indeed all interconnected, to each other, and to every other living thing; now, more than ever, we need leadership based on that critical fact. Here's to recognizing our inter-connectedness and the fragile state of our ailing planet, and finding ways to support each other to save the planet, and save ourselves.