Travel Tuesday: Costa Rica!

Travel Tuesday is back and with an ecoconnection spotlight!

I don’t bring up ecoconnection as much as some of the other “connections” that are commonly explored on Life As a Wave, such as interconnection and animal connection. I was thinking about this and about Travel Tuesday and then began to wonder…what would be one of the most eco-friendly countries to visit?

The answer: Costa Rica!!

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Please keep in mind, that as I write it is 11:30 pm and I’m on a second glass of wine. I am not writing firm facts with APA citations. I’m writing the bytes that have caught my eye as I’ve explored Costa Rica via the internet. I will say this though, I haven’t come across many articles disputing that Costa Rica has emerged as one of the world’s leaders in environmental conservation and sustainability. As an illustration, when I Google search “Costa Rica Hype” I found myself sifting through a lot of World Cup stories and some trip advisor links with “..believe the hype!” in bold.

Anyway, after enough searching to make me a believer, here are some things I’ve found out about Costa Rica and its ecodevotion in the last couple weeks.

1. Beginning this year, Costa Rica has committed to generating all electricity from renewable resources. That’s incredible! And though Costa Rica’s model might not be transferable to larger nations it gives hope, direction, and momentum to the goal of cleaner energy sources.

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2. Costa Rica has set aside 25% of its land as National Parks and Reserves. From what I could find, this is a high percentage compared to most regions and also compared to worldwide percentage of protected areas (11.58%.)

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3. “Costa Rica has a stated ‘green growth strategy’. It has committed to carbon neutrality, increasing the share of hydropower, expanding eco-tourism and sustainable management of forest and marine resources. Mining activities are also banned and there is a three-year moratorium on oil and gas exploration.” From Globe International.

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4.Costa Rica wants to be carbon neutral by 2021 and has been reforesting it’s land to offset it’s emissions.

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5. Costa Rica has over 500,000 species which comes to 4-5% of the earth’s biodiversity and one of the highest density of biodiversity in the world. These include bunches of bugs and birds with great names like Quammen’s Green Mountain Beetle and the Cocos Cuckoo. Oh, and they have sloths.

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6. I keep seeing articles about how Costa Rica has strong environmental law and public policies to protect its biodiversity. I get the feeling that it’s not so much that there are “environmental groups” that push and struggle for environmental reform, but that there is a strong national pride for and allegiance to Costa Rican natural resources. And same goes for soccer. I get it, CR, I get it.

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7. They have lots of tree houses to choose from. Maybe this is normal for tropical climates, or even elsewhere; maybe I just haven’t been paying attention. Whatever the explanation, I’m all for experiencing the sights and sounds of a rainforest, unplugging from the electronics, leaving as small a carbon footprint as possible, and doing it all from the balcony of an Ewok village-esque treehouse like this one:

finca-bellavista-1My favorite treehouse option was Finca Bellavista because they seemed the least touristy and the most rustic. I want to pull on some wellies and get on those wet trails! I want to wake up to the sound of howler monkeys and not my phone alarm…I want to forget where my phone even is because I’m too busy watching the hummingbirds.

With that, I’m signing off. Yes, I’m leaving you with a list of, er, 7…mainly because it’s now past midnight and it’s time for bed. I’m sure I’ll be dreaming of beaches, forests, and volcanoes. Probably some soccer balls at this point too.

Good night, friends.

~~~S Wave~~~

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Your Weekend To-Do (Good) List!

The weekend To-Do (Good) List returns this weekend to give you some suggestions for ways to include altruism and activism, introspection and evolution, compassion and connection during your weekend! And, this being a long weekend celebrating the contribution of workers in the U.S., there is a special emphasis on support for entrepreneurs and innovators around the world.

1. Good for the Animals

I think the concept of “armchair activism” has gotten a bad rap. I refuse to criticize online petitions and letter-writing as being impotent or lazy. For some people it’s the easiest way to enter into the world of activism and differences really are made through strategies like these. So try it out…maybe it’s the first time you’ve signed an online petition, maybe it’s the hundredth. Either way, PETA is giving you the chance to make a difference for captive exotic animals in Louisiana. Click on the image below to find out more.

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2. Good For Others

To celebrate Labor Day, we are excited to bring your attention to Kiva.org. Many of you may have heard of this organization and perhaps you have even supported them in the past. If this is the first you’re hearing of Kiva, it is self-described as a “non-profit organization with a mission to connect people through lending to alleviate poverty. Leveraging the internet and a worldwide network of microfinance institutions, Kiva lets individuals lend as little as $25 to help create opportunity around the world.” In other words, Kiva connects lenders–like US–to entrepreneurs around the world who don’t have access to traditional banking. Check them out via the link below and consider what YOU might be able to support a stranger working hard to make a living.

 

3. Good For You

Ever notice how a good book is often part of our description of a relaxing, rejuvenating day? “I’m just going to relax and read a good book,” we say. But sometimes it’s challenging to remember to seek out books that are out of our standard genre. Well one of my favorite new sites is Bookperk and I think it’s going to help me do just that. Through Bookperk, I get an alert every day from Harper Collins with a small list of books that they are selling for $1.99! Sometimes they are old classics, sometimes current, sometimes autobiographies, sometimes romance novels. I love the variety! I kind of feel like I’m shopping at a thrift store; while some items are clearly not my style, suddenly a treasure reveals itself. I’m always thinking of which ones might make good gifts too. Get that holiday shoppping started early! Or, just stock up to help yourself relax for your next long weekend. Click on the picture to find out more:

 

 

4. Good For Earth  

Here in California, we are all facing a severe drought. There is a lively conversation going on about what the individual can do. Some say that we should reduce our showers and our flushing. Some recommend making sure to only do full loads of laundry. Some are reducing the water they use for their landscaping. But, there is another factor that more and more of us are becoming aware of…the water required for animal husbandry. For large farming operations, and for especially Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) (like the Harris “Ranch” outside of L.A. and pictured below), the water usage is astronomical. Just as an example, consider that “humans drink less than one gallon of water per day, but a cow can drink up to 23 gallons of water a day.” To learn more specifics, visit One Green Planet which has presented the information clearly. As a result of these statistics and the fact that factory farming operations are notoriously inhumane more and more people are choosing to reduce or eliminate their meat and dairy consumption in addition to making lifestyle changes. Let’s face it, every one wins here…well except for those poor CAFOs. Click on the image below and see how your meat and dairy intake can be a positive (possibly crucial) step against climate change.

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Have a wonderful weekend, waves! Make sure to report back on any other good things you added to your To-Do (Good) list. I would love to hear them!

And as always, make sure to follow us on Facebook as well where you can see more frequent thoughts and reminders to support you in your life as a wave.

www.facebook.com/LifeAsAWave

My best to your best,

~~~S Wave~~~

Be Encouraged!!

I  just received an e-mail from the Care2 petition site. On a typical day I might delete this kind of update e-mail or skim it quickly before trashing it. Not that I don’t care deeply about many causes I hear from in my inbox, but those e-mails accumulate so fast that before you know it you can’t find that one important e-mail from you boss that must have gotten swallowed up by all of the updates from political campaigns, activism sites, fundraisers, catalogs, etc etc. It’s the digital version of the two brown bags I have in my kitchen overflowing with mail for my neighbor that I have been collecting while he is out of town. I’ve told him, “You can go paperless with many of these things,” but on and on it arrives into the NON-metaphorical mailbox outside his house…fliers and advertisements, solicitations and bills, coupons and newsletters.

This is NOT a complaint post, believe it or not. I’m not spending time on this beautiful evening ranting about spam. Actually, what I wanted to share with you was what I mentioned at the beginning…this update from Care2. The subject?: LOOK WHAT YOU’VE DONE! And in the body of the e-mail is a list of just a few of the game changers in environmental issues, animal welfare, and public health that have occurred all over the world just in July due (at least in large part) to individuals signing petitions on the Care2 petition site. Here are the headlines and links:

FDA Bans BPA in Baby Bottles, Sippy Cups

Santa Monica Mountain Lion Shooting Leads to Policy Changes

Urban Decay Gets Cruelty-Free Status Back

FOUR PAWS Team Rescues Cub From Cruel Fate

Leatherback Turtles Protected in Puerto Rico

Forage Fish Protected in the Pacific

Chevron to Pay $19 Million For Environmental Damages


 

 

 

So BE ENCOURAGED!! You can be an activist and an advocate from the comfort of your own home if that is what feels right to you. Don’t like PETA? No worries! But it doesn’t mean that you can’t stand up for the welfare of animals. Don’t live in the Ukraine? It doesn’t mean you can’t help little Nastia find a better future at Four Paws. Amazing isn’t it? We can impact our world in ways that would have been inconceivable just a few decades ago. You should know that YOUR life has an impact. Always has. Always will.

Connected By Breath

~~~A Wave~~~ is a special contributor to this blog. Follow his Category, “A Wave: Connected,”  to follow his thoughts and discoveries of our connection to each other, to the world around us, and to the mysteries beyond. …

“Breath is the bridge that connects life to consciousness, which unites our body to our thoughts” — — Thich Nhat Hanh

The breath, taken from our planet’s atmosphere, is free for all of creation. No being can hoard air and try to get more than their share and neither can we buy, sell or trade the breath. If I hold my breath because I want to “own” the air.., I will die, but if I let this breath go…, it comes back to me in abundance without any conditions.

This fluid motion of breathing, however voluntary or involuntary on our part, allows precious oxygen to travel thru the trachea into the bronchi, which connect to the lungs. The lungs then divide into even smaller bronchi, called bronchioles. These bronchioles branch off into even smaller passageways called alveoli and each lung houses between 300-400 million alveoli. This vital, life giving oxygen, finally immerses itself into our blood stream through the tiniest blood vessels known as capillaries. The journey of the breath completes its purpose, allowing our one of our body’s most essential process to occur and breathing is the root process that all of the other essential processes of the body depend on.

This complicated process happens every second, of everyday, for every living thing on this planet. Breath is a symbiotic interconnection that we all share in every moment with our planet. It is so seamless and essential but yet, it is something that goes by overlooked and unnoticed each day. The relationship between all living things and our atmosphere/planet has been a central factor in the evolution of our physical, mental, and spiritual awareness. This exchange between plant and animal has occurred in every moment of everyday for hundreds of thousands of years before we ever came to exist. Its almost as if “we” are but just one singular expression of this unseen force, without which we would not exist.

My point is to emphasize that this life is a process of seamless, symbiotic interconnections, which humans take for granted each day. This breath travels to our very core each moment and yet we aren’t held accountable for ignoring it, or even polluting it. This interconnection has sustained our ancestors just as it sustains us, and all who will come after us.

The negligence and ignorance of the human being is a direct cause of the degradation of our health, which has been happening incrementally yet persistently. The byproducts of our accelerating industry, technological advancements, and modern conveniences are slowly destroying the very force that has given us life for millennia.., the air that we breathe, in every moment. All systems are affected by our inconsiderate ways, including our water supply, our farmlands and the protective biosphere that protects us from the sun.

I firmly believe that we as humans are capable of restoring balance to this system of interconnectedness that we are all tied to so deeply and we all must come to this realization, if we are to preserve life on this planet. The damage must be reversed in order to keep all systems and life in harmony, and the protection of our air, water, earth, atmosphere and organic way of life is vital, not just to us but to every living thing that exists now, and all that will exist after us.

“When we tug at a single thing in nature, we find it attached to the rest of the world” — — John Muir