Smaller countries like Costa Rica are leading the way to carbon neutrality

Wind turbines on the coastline

Are larger countries in the world at a disadvantage when it comes to embracing renewable energy? In the United States, for example, the monied oil lobby has made itself clear it will do whatever it can to put stumbling blocks in the way of renewable energy being fully adopted nationally.

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Will Costa Rica be the first carbon neutral country?

Costa Rica pic

Sandwiched between the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean, Costa Rica teams with biodiversity, stunning beauty and contradictions. With a national motto of “Pura Vida!”, it’s also committed to sustainability.

Costa Rica is striving to become the first nation certified carbon neutral by 2021. Currently it’s within twenty percent of achieving this, but must deal with some large challenges first.

Costa Rica, a country with a big vision, is also a country full of contradictions . To learn more about its sustainable tourism, its pesticide use, efforts in sea turtle conservation and its success with reforestation, click here.

Too many green labels equal confusion for consumers

There are hundreds of "green" labels out there, providing plenty of confusion for consumers

There are hundreds of “green” labels out there, providing plenty of confusion for consumers

While participating in the recent Sustainable Foods Summit in San Francisco, I browsed the trade show outside the event. One of the first booths I encountered was for Control Union Certification, which is an independent inspection and certification body. In my conversation with their representative, I came across a startling fact.

There are literally hundreds of certification programs out there. It’s a veritable morass of information that is impossible for consumers – and even somewhat educated journalists – to keep up with, much less to understand!

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Heathrow Airport to recycle food waste into fertilizer

Food waste at Heathrow Airport will now be processed into nutrient-rich fertilizer for farms

 

If you’ve ever wondered what happens to all the left-over food at airports, it generally ends up in landfills. But a change is taking place that could start a trend in food recycling.  

London’s Heathrow Airport – which serves food to approximately 180,000 passengers a day, will gather all the food waste from its on-site cafes and restaurants  and send it to a recycling factory of Vertal in Mitcham, South London.  

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Will Costa Rica be the world’s first carbon neutral country?

Will Costa Rica be the world's first carbon neutral country?While in Costa Rica last Fall, I wrote a number of posts about that country’s ongoing commitment to sustainability. In one of them I mentioned Costa Rica’s goal to become the world’s first carbon neutral country.

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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!

Volvo to utilize a cleaner green fuel

Volvo CO2 carbon neutral truckVolvo announced plans to test Dimethyl ether (DME), a cleaner burning fuel sourced from renewable materials, in some of their trucks.

DME isn’t new, but its impact on the environment is impressive. This colorless, clean-burning gas has the potential to be 95 percent carbon neutral, with zero particulate emissions  According to Wikipedia, as a fuel source DME shows promise for diesel, standard gasoline and gas turbine engines.

The DME for the Volvo project will be an energy-rich, highly viscous by-product of the paper pulp industry. Volvo plans to have selected customers test 14 of their trucks at four locations in different parts of Sweden  between 2010 and 2012 at four Preem oil company stations.

To learn more, check out the video.