Ethics and Environmentalism: Costa Rica’s Lesson

Blasiak, Robert, (2011). Ethics and Environmentalism: Costa Rica’s Lesson., n/a-n/a

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  • Sub-type Website article
    Author Blasiak, Robert
    Title Ethics and Environmentalism: Costa Rica’s Lesson
    Appearing in
    Publication Date 2011-12-07
    Place of Publication Tokyo
    Publisher United Nations University
    Start page n/a
    End page n/a
    Language eng
    Abstract The challenges are clear. Global environmental indicators all seem to be going in the wrong direction, while the population continues to grow and carbon emissions spiral to record highs. There is, however, considerable room for optimism as impressively positive trends continue to emerge from Costa Rica, a small nation in Central America. At first, the story of Costa Rica’s forests seems like a tragedy. In the 1940s, over 75% of the country was covered in indigenous woodland, mostly tropical rainforest. In the subsequent decades, however, rampant and unchecked logging ensued as the nation’s valuable forest resources were transformed into cash profits. By 1983 only 26% of the country retained forest cover, and the deforestation rate had risen to 50,000 hectares per year. At this point, something amazing started to happen. By 1989 the annual deforestation rate had dropped to 22,000 hectares per year. The figure dropped even lower to 4,000 hectares per year by 1994 and in 1998 the deforestation rate had dropped to zero. Today forest cover has increased to 52% (double 1983 levels) and the government has set the ambitious goal of further increasing this figure to 70% and achieving carbon neutrality by 2021. But how did Costa Rica achieve such an astonishing reversal of trends? And how is it that over this same timeframe Costa Rica has shown such impressive gains in social indicators like education level and poverty reduction? And is there a way that other countries around the world that are currently being devastated by deforestation, desertification and rampant biodiversity loss, can achieve similar results?
    Copyright Holder The Author
    Copyright Year 2011
    Copyright type Creative commons
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    Created: Fri, 17 Feb 2017, 15:49:11 JST by Dunbar, William on behalf of UNU IAS