Limón Province, Costa Rica, November 2014. Pineapples are by definition unsustainable, requiring high use of agrochemicals and replacing large swaths of land with a single, spiny crop. However, pineapples are also extremely popular, so in spite of their inherent unsustainability, they’re not going anywhere. To meet increasing global demand for sustainably produced crops, companies in Costa Rica are investing in improved agricultural practices, certifications, and better conditions for laborers.
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Monteverde Cloud Forest, Costa Rica, November 2014. In spite of its small size, Costa Rica accounts for nearly 6 percent of the world’s biodiversity. Cloud forests like the one at Monteverde are crucial habitat for plants and animals, such as this colofrul hummingbird. Recent studies predict that cloud forests worldwide will diminish by 60 to 80 percent in the next 25 years as a result of climate change.
Chirripo Volcano, Costa Rica, 2014. Agroforestry is gaining popularity worldwide as a method of sustainable land management. At AsoProLa, an agricultural cooperative high in the mountains of Costa Rica's Puntarenas province, coffee is grown in the shade of banana trees. Coffee grown in this manner requires less agrochemicals, provides habitat to animals, and tastes better than non-shade grown varieties.
Lake Arenal Hydropower Plant, Costa Rica, October 2014. Costa Rica runs on renewable energy for an average of 300 days a year, largely thanks to hydropower generated in stations like this one. Costa Rica’s proactive environmental policies are the reason it is considered a strong example of sustainable development around the world. However, much of Costa Rica's environmental development was not well regulated as it was undertaken, and numerous problems persist.
Costa Rica, November 2014. The fertile fields of Costa Rica as seen from the slopes of Irazú volcano. Costa Rica's government acknowledges the importance of environmental sustainability, and has created many programs to incentivize good practices by the agriculture and infrastructure sectors, among others.