From us nature lovers here on the Caribbean coast of Costa Rica, here is a list of New Year’s resolutions and travel tips geared towards a greener, more sustainable future.
1. Leave no trace. To protect the earth from environmental pollution, we must leave nature as we found it on arrival, or better yet, even cleaner. No residue shall be left in the forests, beaches, rivers, lakes, and seas. We shall give proper treatment to organic and inorganic waste so as to reduce its impact, and compost when we can.
2. Contribute to reforestation projects, plant trees and cultivate gardens. Trees oxygenate the air and make the earth a greener place for us all to live and breathe in.
3. Reduce water consumption. Water is growing scarcer by the day, and in some places, it is difficult to find a drinkable water source. Water is a resource to respect and treasure, so start by closing the tap while brushing, taking shorter showers, and consuming less whenever possible.
4. Reduce electric energy consumption by maximizing natural light use, turning off the lights, and using energy saving light-bulbs. Turn off and unplug the blender, coffee maker, the television, and the computer when not in use, and use air conditioning sparingly.
5. Reduce energy consumption in transportation by taking the bus, biking, or walking; use motorized vehicles sparingly.
6. Reduce energy consumption in food, by eating adequately and seasonally. Choose only organic farm-fresh produce, eat more vegetables, legumes, and fruit, and less meat.
7. Reduce paper use. Paper consumption is still responsible for the cutting down of millions of trees each year. Avoid printing documents which could be read on screen, reuse paper as many times as possible.
8. Recycle. Separate bottles from cans and trash, use the designated bins. Reject disposables like styrofoam to-go containers and plastic, instead choose reusable glass bottles. Reuse bags.
9. Practice responsible consumerism. Promote fair trade; source and buy local products that come with the assurance of sustainable production with respect to the environment and people, so that the benefit of the exchange is distributed equally among those involved in the transaction. Reject products made from animal skins, or those produced using exploitation.
10. Actively collaborate with associations that defend sustainability, help organizations that promote human rights, encourage the preservation of cultural and language diversity. Emphasize the work ecologists do for environmental protection, especially on endangered eco-systems, as they contribute greatly to creating a sustainable future.
By offsetting the negative impact of our actions through positive actions, thinking globally, acting locally, and keeping it green, we can each effect sustainable change and help save the earth for future generations. ¡Pura Vida, y Feliz Ano Nuevo de Puerto Viejo de Limon, Talamanca!