Stab Magazine | Costa Rica To Be Carbon And Plastic Neutral By 2021

Costa Rica To Be Carbon And Plastic Neutral By 2021

One small nation takes a giant stand against climate change. 

news // Jan 1, 2019
Words by stab
Reading Time: 2 minutes

Costa Rica is a lovely place. 

Anyone who’s visited the Central American nation – be it from the nearby Florida, the not-so-nearby California, or beyond – would have gone home with stories of playful waves, beautiful scenery, and some new favorite delicacies in the form of jocotes (fruit), Trits (dessert), and Tapatio (salsa).

The Costa Rican people are equally lovely to their consumables, both in the physical form and in their welcoming demeanor – all reasons that pura vida is the national slogan. 

But in 2021, Costa Rica is bringing the notion of “pure life” to new levels.

A recent report from Educate, Inspire, Change reveals that the Central American country plans to be carbon and plastic-neutral* by 2021 – which is not-so-coincidentally Costa Rica’s 200th anniversary of independence. 

Here are the spark notes from EIC:

  • Since 2014 Costa Rica’s energy has come from 99% renewable sources, including its rivers (which create 75% of their energy), volcanoes, wind, and solar power
  • They have run on 100% renewable energy for two months in the last two years, proving that it is possible to achieve this goal in the long run
  • 25% of Costa Rica’s total land mass is protected for environmental purposes
  • They have one of the lowest greenhouse gas emissions to energy consumption ratios in the world
  • By 2021, all single-use plastics must be replaced by non-petroleum-based recyclable or biodegradable alternatives

Team Volcom Brazil visits the world’s greenest nation.

Here’s what Costa Rica’s new President, Carlos Alvarado Quesada, had to say:

“Decarbonization is the great task of our generation and Costa Rica must be one of the first countries in the world to accomplish it, if not the first. When we reach 200 years of independent life we will take Costa Rica forward and celebrate.”

This news comes at the heels of the December climate summit in Katowice, Poland, where most** countries agreed to a plan that would continue to decrease international carbon emissions, but according to climate scientists, not at a rapid enough enough pace to curb a global climate catastrophe. 

As we have previously discussed, this not only means famine and flooding across the globe, but also the loss of many of our favorite surf breaks

By having the initiative to make its nation carbon- and plastic-neutral by 2021, Costa Rica is sending a message to the rest of the world – one that says, “If you care about the planet, you can do more than the bare minimum.

And the bare minimum is truly what the global climate summit is asking for.

Stab hopes that other countries will take notice of Costa Rica’s heroic endeavor and start to vote for candidates who will promote similar ideas for their individual nations. 

*Carbon-neutral meaning that they have a net-zero greenhouse gas emission, and plastic-neutral meaning that they no longer allow single-use plastics.

**Russia, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and the good ol’ USA were the only countries to cast doubt on the extensive climate research performed by a swath of international scientists. What great company we find ourselves in! 


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