Costa Rica is a Central American country with an area of 51,100 square kilometers (19,730 square miles) and 4 percent of the world’s biodiversity. We have 112 volcanoes, 13,000 sq km (5,019 square miles) of protected land, and a location with a constant tropical weather so everything is quite green all year long.
Even though Costa Rica is known throughout the world for being “green,” that is not 100-percent true. Here people have no ‘green’ culture, and the country itself does not have the infrastructure to facilitate this. Some examples:
1. In some areas of San José, Costa Rica’s capital (Pop. 1,633,282), waste water is disposed directly into rivers without a proper treatment. Also, there is no adequate classification of recyclable materials and they get mixed up with other trash into landfills.
2. There is a huge vehicle population saturating San Jose´s roads, but it’s hard to convince people to reduce their use due to the poor public transportation system and also the lack of security that afflicts us: You may get robbed on the way to take a bus or even inside it.
3. In schools and in some companies, they promote recycling but not all communities have an efficient collection system. If a family decides to separate their trash, they have to take each type of material by themselves to a proper collection place. At the end what is worse? No recycling or thousands of families driving their car large distances consuming fuel to properly dispose of their garbage?
The reason why we want to be a part of this experience is to lead by example, at least to our closest family and friends, and show that there are things we can improve by making small changes in our way of life.
The 360° Energy Diet seemed an interesting challenge to us for two reasons mainly. First, although we have not been the most environmentalist people, we do believe that everyone should contribute with something towards the conservation of our planet. The change begins at home, and in this case as newlyweds, we are at an excellent point in time to start with energy-friendly practices.
Some of the things we’ve done in the past include moving to a house near our jobs in west San José. Before that, we had to drive our cars for around 45 minutes in heavy traffic to travel 25 kilometers (16 miles) each way. Now it takes us only 5 minutes and we travel less than 5 kilometers (3 miles).
Despite this, we know that we still have much to learn and apply in our daily lives. For example we do separate the paper from regular garbage; but we don’t give the proper treatment to other materials. We know that we have to be conscious about the use of electricity and water, yet we have not been taken all the actions necessary to do so.
The experience of sharing energy-friendly behaviors with other people around the world can be an excellent opportunity to gain knowledge from other cultures and transmit them to other people worldwide who also want to reduce their impact on the planet. We are looking forward to make our best effort on this motivating experience!