In an age when travel-shaming is the new norm for some environmentalists, you really need to put things in perspective.
As active defenders of the environment, we support a number of local NGOs. We strongly believe in Costa Rica’s decision – long before many other nations – to engage in the preservation of its ecosystems.
Let’s not be naïve: things are far from perfect, but the country’s nature preservation policies have only been made possible by the financial contribution of “green” tourism, and different forms of tourism have different impacts.
If you choose to visit Costa Rica, you can rest assured that your stay will contribute to funding the national park and reserve system (25% of the land).
By choosing Costa Rica, you are helping to support the economy of a nation that has deliberately decided to make nature preservation a key priority. We’re not claiming that tourism is environmentally neutral, but it’s also obvious that without tourism, there would be no incentive to protect 25% of the country in the form of national parks. The land would quickly be used to generate agricultural or speculative income.
Costa Rica can’t simply ignore the world’s economic realities: its decision to engage in conservation can only stand if the nation draws an economic advantage from it.
Your environmental footprint is not the same when you choose to vacation in places that have destroyed the environment to build sprawling resorts than when you decide to travel in a way that helps to fund smaller organizations that rely on a healthy environment to make a living.
Your style of travel makes a difference: it can have a very real influence on your destination’s environmental policies.
Costa Rica takes pride in its natural environment: helping it to succeed can set a powerful example that could well inspire many other nations.
And you will have played your part in that…