World Environment Day is an annual event observed on June 5th to raise global awareness about environmental issues and promote action for a sustainable future. It serves as a platform to reflect on the significance of environmental conservation and encourage collective efforts to address challenges like climate change, pollution, and biodiversity loss.
Significance of World Environment Day
World Environment Day aims to mobilize individuals, communities, and governments to take proactive measures for environmental protection. It fosters a sense of responsibility and empowers people to make positive changes in their daily lives, such as adopting sustainable practices and eco-friendly solutions.
Theme for World Environment Day 2023
Each year, the World Environment Day focuses on a specific theme, highlighting a pressing environmental concern. And the theme for 2023 is – Solutions to Plastic Pollution. This theme highlights the urgent need to address the growing problem of plastic waste and encourages innovative solutions to reduce, manage, and eliminate plastic pollution.
Costa Rica’s Commitment To A Cleaner And Greener Environment
Costa Rica has been at the forefront of environmental initiatives, and has made significant efforts to protect its rich biodiversity, conserve natural resources, tackle climate change, and promote sustainability. Below are some notable actions and initiatives undertaken by Costa Rica for the environment:
1. Forest Cover
Costa Rica has made substantial progress in reforestation and forest conservation. From 1983 to 2019, the country’s forest cover increased from around 26% to approximately 53% of its land area, making it one of the countries with the highest forest cover in the region. And, the first tropical country in the world to have reversed deforestation
2. Protected Areas
Costa Rica has established a robust network of protected areas to conserve its natural heritage. Currently, more than 25% of the country’s land area, i.e more than half a million acres of land, is protected, including 30 national parks, 58 wildlife refuges, 19 biological reserves, and other conservation areas.
Costa Rica aims to protect more than 200 animals on its endangered species list through its national parks and other protected areas.
3. Renewable Energy
A frontrunner in renewable energy, 95-98% of Costa Rica’s electricity comes from renewable sources. While hydroelectricity is the largest source, other sources include wind, solar, geothermal, and biomass.
4. Biodiversity Protection
Though Costa Rica contributes to only 0.03% of the earth’s surface, it is home to more than 500,000 species. This accounts for nearly 5% of the species found worldwide.
Taking note of this, Costa Rica implemented initiatives to protect its flora and fauna, including the establishment of protected areas, wildlife corridors, and biological research stations. It is home to numerous conservation organizations and eco-tourism initiatives that promote sustainable practices.
Costa Rica has been a pioneer in promoting and developing ecotourism, which focuses on sustainable travel practices that prioritize the conservation of natural resources, protection of biodiversity, and support for local communities. Today, ecotourism is one of the prime industries in its economy, with the tourism sector responsible for 5.1% of the country’s GDP.
6. Promotion Of Sustainable Transport
Costa Rica is one of the few countries that advances and invests in green transport. The country offers various incentives and tax exemptions to encourage the purchase and use of electric vehicles. It recently extended benefits to electric vehicles until 2035, which was 2023 earlier. There are over 260 public charging stations in Costa Rica.
7. Payment from World Bank’s Forest Carbon Partnership Facility
In August 2022, Costa Rica achieved a significant milestone by becoming the first country in Latin America and the Caribbean, and the second country globally, to receive payments from the World Bank’s Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF). These payments were awarded in recognition of Costa Rica’s successful efforts in reducing carbon emissions stemming from deforestation and forest degradation.
8. Conservation of Coral Reefs
Costa Rica is home to approximately 1,000 square kilometers (386 square miles) of coral reefs, which make up a significant portion of the country’s marine ecosystems. More than 900 Coral Reefs were restored in Costa Rica in 2022! Thanks to Coralmania, an initiative undertaken to protect marine biodiversity.
9. Spearheaded the High Ambition Coalition
In 2021, Costa Rica spearheaded the High Ambition Coalition (HAC) for Climate Action, alongside Britain and France. The Coalition will lead efforts by 116 countries to protect and conserve 30% of terrestrial and marine spaces by 2030.
Commitment To Become Carbon Neutral By 2050
Costa Rica became the 14th country to submit its long-term strategy for low-emission development (LTS) to the UNFCCC Secretariat. This move is part of the country’s commitment to becoming carbon neutral by 2050 and reducing its reliance on fossil fuels.
World Environment Day serves as a global platform to raise awareness and inspire action towards environmental protection. Costa Rica’s remarkable efforts in conservation and sustainable practices make it an exemplary model for other nations.
As we celebrate World Environment Day, let us draw inspiration from Costa Rica’s success and its dedication to preserving our planet. By working together and implementing sustainable practices, we can create a more sustainable and resilient future for generations to come.