We’ve all heard the saying “The grass is greener on the other side.” It seems we sometimes believe this bromide to be true only because the folks on the other side have campaigned to have us believe it is so.
In this case the people on the other side are the tourism professionals, (mostly Americans or individuals counseled or advised by Americans), of and for the government of the tiny Central American country, Costa Rica. For years Costa Rica, (with its American huckster’s influence), has promoted itself as the most ecologically friendly place on the planet. We believe this was inspired by exploitive Americans, other foreigners, or gringos, in order to entice winter weary vacationers from the United States, Canada and the colder climes of Europe.
Yale University’s Environmental Performance Index, (EPI), reveals, what has been believed by many, the hype about the so-called conservation caring government of Costa Rica.
Costa Rica ranks number 54 of 158 countries sampled in the index. It has a score of .9 for Sewage. It is highest in the use of fertilizer pollution in the world, almost 5 times higher than the next closest country.
“The EPI put us face to face with an image of the country that we are not used to. Why? Because we have become too complacent with ourselves. What the EPI strives to do is rank countries and we didn’t like the rank that it assigned to Costa Rica. Why? Because we have created the myth that we are a green country. We have not challenged this myth enough, and that is the truth. They are pulling our ears with regards to carbon dioxide emission issues. And the irony is that to the outside, we appear to have a discourse regarding a commitment to being carbon neutral.”
~ Monica Araya, Director, Clean Costa Rica. The remarks made in a February 11, 2014 Costa Rica news program, Telenoticias Edición Meridiana, featuring a segment on the country’s performance in the 2014 EPI.
(The English transcription of the news segment, translated by Breanna Lujan, Research Assistant for EPI.)
What is going on? Is this what “Pura vida” really means? Have the government and business entities opted for greed and corruption? Are they pretending environmentalism while doing little or nothing to support it? Many Costa Rican government officials, and the businessmen who support them, staunchly believe matters of conservation get in the way of economic progress. They act in opposition to laws protecting the fragile environment. One such business is Blue Water Properties of Costa Rica, a real estate company with offices in Tamarindo, Guanacaste. Although a small company, (they claim to be the largest real estate company in the area; they also claim to be licensed in a country with no licensing requirement for those engaged in selling real estate; you can purchase real estate from a cab driver), Blue Water Properties exemplifies the greed which is going on. More