Sustainable Travel – Protected Areas

costa-rica-corcovado-national-parkConference presenter Marco Araya spoke about the protected areas of Costa Rica.

SINAC operates eleven areas that encompass 167 protected areas. These include wetlands, watersheds and three biosphere reserves.

He mentioned that in 1988, legislation and the ICT created all the volcanic range of Costa Rica as one national park. This encompasses over 1 million hectors of protected land.

Costa Rica continues to expand the amount of environmentally protected areas for future generations.

More soon.

Update from Conference on Sustainable Tourism

forests-south-central-costa-ricaSpeaker Jackeline Lopez of Mapache Rent A Car spoke of their “passionate reforestation” program.They work with mature forests, not with planting new forests, she said.

They also are involved with a new co-generation plant for waste. Prior to its opening, in 2007 saw the annual generation of 22 tons of waste. The impact of the new plant was dramatic – a 50 percent waste reduction.

A Costa Rican waste cogenereation plant

A Costa Rican waste cogenereation plant

This is a clean process, with continual monitoring of emitted gasses. The process is certified and the resultant waste is traceable. 

The company has two commitments:

  1. to reduce GHG emissions
  2. energy savings

There are eight such facilities across Costa Rica. The company has received numerous recognitions from Costa Rica’s Ministers of Energy and of the Environment for their successful environmental efforts.

More to come.

Costa Rica signs Agreement to offset airline flight emissions

Costa Rica forestAt yesterday’s international conference on Sustainable Tourism, Costa Rica’s Minister of Energy, the head of CANACEO and the head of the division of Forestry signed the Climate Conscious Travel Agreement. 

This historic document outlines a unique carbon offset compensation program designed to to offset tourist-related CO2 flight emissions while reducing Costa Rica’s deforestation.

Air transporation represents 95 percent of all CO2 emissions in Costa Rica.

CANAECO will work with tour operators and hotels, acting as a “reservation center” to distribute tour certificates. Shared fees from the three tourist-related sectors will be funneled to Costa Rica non-profits such as the National Forestry Financing Fund and the Sustainable Biodiversity Fund (the latter an arm of the World Bank) for programs to help avoid deforestation.

The impact of this new agreement has far-reaching potential. These include:

  • 95 percent of the CO2 generated by tourism would be compensated and offset
  • costs of carbon offsetting would be shared by the 3 sectors, so that none shoulders the burden alone
  • it would help foster corporate and social responsibility

This could make this uniquely designed program attractive to other countries to participate in.

Costa Rica's Sustainable Tourism Conference Begins

Planet People Peace logoOpening ceremonies of the first annual Planet People Peace conference on sustainable tourism took place tonite. The evening was an elegant setting filled with dignitaries, music, dancers and inspiration.

Costa Rica’s growing number of environmental achievements and successes were outlined, including that more than 26 percent of the country is under some sort of protection for conservation.

This country of four million people has a commitment to conserve its natural resources, said Minister of Tourism Flores. And, he added, almost 5 percent of the world’s biodiversity exists in Costa Rica alone!

CANECO logoCosta Rica, said Glen Jampol (President of CANAECO, the National Chamber of Ecotourism), is to be a world  leader in eco-tourism.

“The first thing people recognize about Costa Rica is eco-tourism,” said Dr. Kelly Bricker, Associate Professor at the University of Utah and Chair of the International Ecotourism Society. It’s something “for the rest of the world to live up to,” she said.

The conference, which  begins in full tomorrow morning, is centered around the four elements of Nature- earth, wind, fire and water. These combine the four essential elements of life, said Minister Flores.

The  evening’s entertainment was an exciting display of this.  Dance troup Symbiosis combined interpretive dance, music and video, along with a fire twirling display that held you riveted in your seat, vividly capturing Nature’s four aspects. 

Protecting the environment is a government-wide priority in Costa Rica, which has a goal of becoming a carbon neutral counry by 2021. Now THAT”S the way to become a world leader!