Costa Rica Doubles Forests/Going Carbon Neutral/ But has a million in poverty..

*leer en castellano abajo

Costa Rica is one of the few States that can boast of being nearly ‘Carbon Neutral’, conserving 25% and doubling its forest. But it’s still a capitalist top-down State, dominated by US capital and being rapidly bought up cheap for nearly tax free US holiday homes. Over 20% of people survive in severe poverty while millions of tourists arrive by plane and Cruise Liners, spewing uncounted CO2. You can even take a Tourist Tour of the slums to photograph the ‘happy smiling beggars’.(7 Shocking Facts About Costa Rica’s Poverty Rate).

Of course we must follow Costa Rica’s amazing ecological gains, but without forgetting it’s a small exceptional place (4.5m people) and to solve Climate and ecological breakdown the whole system of Infinite Growth must change.

Costa Rica has renewable electricity and has doubled its forests in a few decades… let’s compare with Spain

by Pepe Galindo   edited with inserts by thefreeonline ”Costa Rica, is an Central American country that conserves its forests very well and that promotes renewable energy Years of uncontrolled logging razed two thirds of Costa Rica’s trees. When they stopped cutting, the forests grew.

But that was not something that simply happened, but was organized by the leaders of the country. They recognized that forests generate many benefits that do not appear in economic account.

Costa Rica began to give tax benefits to those who conserved their lands without degrading them.

They understood that protecting their “natural resources” is beneficial in the long term. The so-called Payments for Environmental Services (PES) are serving to recognize that healthy ecosystems generate benefits and that they must pay for them (carbon sequestration, water filtration, maintenance of quality aquifers and air, provision of food and medicines, etc. .).


When these environmental processes are free, people have no incentives to conserve them. Free is not valued. In rural areas, PES have also served to reduce poverty.

”Costa Rica Property Rights, Buying and Owning PropertyCosta Rica granted generous incentives to foreign nationals wishing to become residents. The lure of its beautiful coasts and the warmth of the people, together


with numerous scams, has led many North Americans to buy property where there is no Capital Gains Tax …. Meanwhile 20% of the population live in extreme poverty and the number is rising.

Cut down or reforest?

Stopping deforestation was a process that lasted several years. In 1998 its deforestation rate reached ZERO. Today, the results are palpable: Costa Rica has doubled its forests in a few decades, slowing desertification, climate disaster and loss of species, among other benefits for them and for the entire living planet.

Recently they have found there a new species of frog. Costa Rica’s success story is an exception to an otherwise negative rule. Globally, tropical tree canopy loss has almost doubled over the past decade.

The Costa Rican constitution speaks of the fact that all people have the right “to a healthy and ecologically balanced environment”. Other countries have something similar in their constitution (in Spain it is in Article 45), but Costa Rica has not taken it as a joke and does not put the interests of multinationals before the interests of the population (see in Spain the case of Doñana). ( note: not true, It is still on the ‘tax haven’ list and hosts Intel and other big US corporations who pay little tax and relatively low wages).

Costa Rica vive muy bien del ecoturismo, conservando sus bosques

Costa Rica lives very well from ecotourism, conserving its forests. Cutting forests would have given rapid benefits, but it would also have condemned the country to serious problems in the future. Instead, the forests have brought a benefit that many did not expect: a deluge of tourists who want to enjoy nature. Some call it “ecotourism”, although to put that name you can not travel by plane, in addition to other rules of responsible tourism.

Loss of forests is an international trend, mainly to turn them into crop fields. In many cases, forests are ravaged (causing fires, such as the continuing ones in the Amazon rainforest) to plant very questionable crops such as soybeans or oil palm, or to produce meat in the face of global demand growth. Costa Rica has shown that if appropriate policies are applied, hectares of forests can grow. Policy-makers restricted the number of logging permits and created a national forestry commission to police forest activity. 

Where does Costa Rica get the money to respect the environment?

The question is misleading, because to respect the environment you don’t need money. In the medium and long term, the environment gives us advantages that are worth more than money. However, Costa Rica has taken quite special measures.

For example, Costa Rica is a country without an army (there are already at least 25 countries without an army in the world). (note: Ok no army, but brutal paramilitary police protecting the elite.)

In general, citizens do not know how many millions their country spends on maintaining a normally oversized military structure with little real utility. For example, in Spain, according to the BOE (2018), Defense expenses are 8,400 million euros, which is equivalent to the joint expenses of Health (4,253), Education (2,581) and Justice (1,780). Some studies include hidden military expenses and the figure in Spain amounts to about 32,000 million euros.

Renewable energy

A clearly booming sector worldwide, and especially in Costa Rica, is renewable energy. Since 2017, the country has many months whose energy is obtained exclusively from renewable sources. Its basic energy mix is: hydroelectric, wind, biomass, solar and geothermal energy.

The Reventazón hydroelectric plant has received the Blue Planet 2019 award for its environmental and social sustainability efforts (despite how complicated it is to grant an environmental award to such an infrastructure).

As Costa Rica’s GDP grows, the country wants more energy. Hopefully they do not destroy now protected areas to get more hydroelectric or geothermal energy, because renewable energy is not always ecological and in Costa Rica all volcanoes are in protected national parks. If we do not reduce our energy demand, sustainability will be increasingly difficult”.

Electric mobility, compost, protected territory …

”With regard to mobility, this country’s plan is for one third of buses to be electric in 2035 and almost all other vehicles by 2050 (including trains). They also want to encourage public transport and create compost with garbage.

Costa Rica already has 29 protected national parks, covering 25% of the territory. Spain has 16 national parks, which protect approximately 0.7% of its surface. Although there are other protection figures, the National Park figure is the strictest.

Also in health this country has improved: they have reduced smoking and sedentary lifestyle, cancer risk factors. Tobacco, in addition to many discomforts and health expenses, generates too much pollution.

Other news that has caught our attention and that show that Costa Rica also has much to improve in environmental matters:

Costa Rica joins the ‘Plastic Attack’ movement: buy the products and leave the containers in the supermarket. The country is having problems to end the plastics of use and dumping and people are protesting. If you are worried about the plastic problem….

Non-metallic mining in Costa Rica is advancing and devours rivers and mountains: The extraction of materials creates problems for nature and communities. Mining is a serious global problem. In Spain, for example, the quarry problem is very serious (see, for example, the Torremolinos quarry or the Alhaurín de la Torre quarry in Malaga).

Costa Rica brings out outstanding issues of forests and energy, but like all Nation States, it also has social and environmental problems. At least, on some issues they are clear about what to do and they are doing it. The following steps are essential for sustainability: contriolling agrochemical waste and air pollution as well as water protection, promotion of veganism and, in general, progressive measures.

At the recent UN Climate Summit, Costa Rican President Carlos Alvarado defended that “there is no excuse” for governments to legislate against the climate crisis and gave as an example the management of his nation.

The demonstrations for the climate and the planet of these days should make us all improve even more, starting with the rulers. And if they don’t improve, we should simply change them.

News that may interest you:

Let’s learn from Portugal: Renewable energy, reduction of working hours, respect for animals and much more.*in Spanish

more Info:
  • In 2017 the country’s grid ran on 100% renewable energy for 300 days.
    The 1st Country Carbon Program Neutrality 1.0, launched in 2012 with a national strategy and an action plan, to encourage private companies to adopt practices to reduce their emissions and compensate for their footprint.
  • In February 2019, the current president Carlos Alvarado unveiled the detailed 2050 National Decarbonisation Plan (NDP). This is a long‑term roadmap for a transition away from fossil fuels and from more polluting ways of producing food and managing waste. Costa Rica’s environment minister, Carlos Manuel Rodríguez, said that if the plan is achieved, his grandchildren in 2035 will have the same carbon footprint as his grandparents did in the 1940s – and by 2050 his grandchildren will have none at all.
  • The country passed a breakthrough law in 2018 to promote electric vehicles through improved access to credit and economic incentives. The move has set the stage to decarbonize the transport sector which currently accounts for 60% of its greenhouse gas emissions.

Costa Rica es uno de los pocos Estados que puede presumir de estar casi ‘neutral en carbono’, conservando el 25% y duplicando su bosque. Pero sigue siendo un Estado capitalista de ‘arriba hacia abajo’, dominado por el capital de los Estados Unidos y siendo rápidamente comprado barato para casas de vacaciones casi libres de impuestos. Más del 20% de las personas sobreviven en la pobreza extrema mientras millones de turistas llegan en avión y cruceros, arrojando CO2 sin contar. Incluso se puede hacer un ‘recorrido turístico por los barrios bajos’ para fotografiar a los “felices mendigos sonrientes” (7 datos impactantes sobre la tasa de pobreza de Costa Rica.. 7 Shocking Facts About Costa Rica’s Poverty Rate).).

Por supuesto, debemos seguir las increíbles ganancias ecológicas de Costa Rica, pero sin olvidar que es un lugar pequeño y excepcional (4.5 millones de personas) y ,para resolver el colapso climático y ecológico, todo el sistema de Crecimiento Infinito debe cambiar.

original en castellano

Costa Rica, un ejemplo a seguir?? : renovables, bosques, autobuses eléctricos…

Publicado el 27/09/2019 por

Años de tala descontrolada arrasaron dos tercios de los árboles de Costa Rica. Cuando dejaron de talar, los bosques crecieron. Pero eso no fue algo que simplemente ocurrió, sino que fue organizado por los dirigentes del país. Reconocieron que los bosques generan muchos beneficios que no salen en las cuentas económicas.

Costa Rica empezó a dar beneficios fiscales a quienes conservaban sus tierras sin degradarlas. Entendieron que proteger sus “recursos naturales” es beneficioso a largo plazo. Los llamados Pagos por Servicios Ambientales (PSA) están sirviendo para reconocer que los ecosistemas sanos generan beneficios y que se debe pagar por ellos (captura de carbono, filtración de agua, mantenimiento de acuíferos y aire con calidad, provisión de alimentos y medicamentos, etc.). Cuando esos procesos ambientales son gratis, las personas no tienen incentivos para conservarlas. Lo gratis no se valora. En zonas rurales, los PSA han servido además para reducir la pobreza.

¿Talar o reforestar?

Detener la deforestación fue un proceso que duró varios años. En 1998 su tasa de deforestación llegó a CERO. Hoy, los resultados son palpables: Costa Rica ha duplicado sus bosques en pocas décadas, frenando la desertificación, el desastre climático y la pérdida de especies, entre otros beneficios para ellos y para todo el planeta vivo. Recientemente han hallado allí una nueva especie de rana.

La constitución de Costa Rica habla de que todas las personas tienen derecho “a un entorno saludable y ecológicamente equilibrado“. Otros países tienen algo similar en su constitución (en España está en el art. 45), pero Costa Rica no se lo ha tomado a broma y no antepone los intereses de las multinacionales a los intereses de la población (véase en España el caso de Doñana).

Talar bosques hubiera dado beneficios rápidos, pero también hubiera condenado al país a graves problemas en el futuro. En cambio, los bosques han traído un beneficio que muchos no esperaban: una lluvia de viajeros que ansían disfrutar de la naturaleza. Algunos lo llaman “ecoturismo“, aunque para ponerle ese nombre no se puede viajar en avión, además de otras normas del turismo responsable.

La pérdida de bosques es una tendencia internacional, principalmente para convertirlos en campos de cultivo. En muchos casos se arrasan selvas (provocando incendios, como los recientes en la selva Amazónica) para plantar cultivos muy cuestionables como soja o palma aceitera, o bien para poder producir carne ante el aumento mundial de la demanda. Costa Rica ha demostrado que si se aplican las políticas adecuadas las hectáreas de bosques pueden crecer.

20% de la gente viven en la pobreza total

¿De dónde saca el dinero Costa Rica para respetar el medioambiente?

La pregunta es engañosa, porque para respetar el medioambiente no hace falta dinero. A medio y largo plazo, el medioambiente nos da ventajas que valen más que el dinero. No obstante, Costa Rica ha tomado medidas bastante peculiares. Por ejemplo, Costa Rica es un país sin ejército (en el mundo ya hay al menos 25 países sin ejército).

En general, los ciudadanos desconocen cuántos millones se gasta su país en mantener una estructura militar normalmente sobredimensionada y de escasa utilidad real. Por ejemplo, en España, según el BOE (2018) los gastos de Defensa son 8.400 millones, lo que equivale a los gastos conjuntos de Sanidad (4.253), Educación (2.581) y Justicia (1.780). Algunos estudios incluyen gastos militares ocultos y la cifra asciende a unos 32.000 millones de euros.

Energías renovables

Un sector en claro auge en todo el mundo, y especialmente en Costa Rica, son las energías renovables. Desde 2017, el país tiene muchos meses cuya energía se obtiene exclusivamente de fuentes renovables. Su mix energético básico es: energía hidroeléctrica, eólica, biomasa, solar y geotérmica. La planta hidroeléctrica Reventazón ha recibido el premio Blue Planet 2019 por sus esfuerzos de sostenibilidad ambiental y social (a pesar de lo complicado que es conceder un premio ambiental a una infraestructura así).

Conforme crece el PIB de Costa Rica, el país quiere más energía. Esperemos que no destrocen zonas ahora protegidas para conseguir más energía hidroeléctrica o geotérmica, porque no siempre las renovables son ecológicas y en Costa Rica todos los volcanes están en parques nacionales protegidos. Si no reducimos nuestra demanda de energía, la sostenibilidad será cada vez más difícil.

Movilidad eléctrica, compost, territorio protegido…

Con respecto a la movilidad, el plan de este país es que un tercio de los autobuses sean eléctricos en 2035 y casi todos los demás vehículos para 2050 (incluyendo trenes). También quieren fomentar el transporte público y crear compost con la basura.

Costa Rica tiene ya 29 parques nacionales protegidos, que abarcan el 25% del territorio. España dispone de 16 parques nacionales, que protegen aproximadamente el 0.7% de su superficie. Aunque hay otras figuras de protección, la figura de Parque Nacional es la más estricta.

Dejan que los de EEUU se compran terrenos baratos y construyen casas de lujo sin apenas impuestos

También en salud este país ha mejorado: han reducido el tabaquismo y el sedentarismo, factores de riesgo del cáncer. El tabaco, además de muchas molestias y gastos sanitarios, genera demasiada contaminación.

Otras noticias que han llamado nuestra atención y que muestran que también Costa Rica, tiene mucho que mejorar en materia ambiental:

Costa Rica saca sobresaliente en los temas de bosques y energía, pero como todas las naciones, también tiene problemas sociales y ambientales. Al menos, en algunos temas tienen claro qué hacer y lo están haciendo. Los siguientes pasos a dar son esenciales para la sostenibilidad: residuos sólidos, agroquímicos, contaminación del aire, protección del agua, fomentar el veganismo y, en general, plantear el decrecimiento.

En la reciente Cumbre del Clima de la ONU, el presidente de Costa Rica Carlos Alvarado defendió que “no hay excusa” para que los Gobiernos legislen contra la crisis climática y puso como ejemplo la gestión de su nación.

Las manifestaciones por el clima y el planeta de estos días deberían hacernos mejorar aún más a todos, empezando por los gobernantes. Y si no mejoran, deberíamos sencillamente cambiarlos.

Noticias que te interesarán:

Author: thefreeonline

The Free is a book and a blog. Download free E/book ...”the most detailed fictional treatment of the movement from a world recognizably like our own to an anarchist society that I have read...

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