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One of the biggest and most popular shifts in the world today is one that is geared towards sustainability.  I was lucky enough to travel abroad to Costa Rica for almost two weeks studying the sustainable practices that this country puts into place.  From the coffee industry to fruit farms to a 100% fully-sustainable ranch, Costa Rica truly embodies what sustainability means.

While being in Costa Rica we traveled to four different cities going to tours of coffee plantations, fruit farms, and ranches and even staying at two sustainable hotels.  Many of our tours focused on the coffee industry and the sustainable practices that they used.  Many of the plantations used similar practices including hand picking the beans instead of using a machine.  While this might take longer and be more tedious than using a machine, they are saving energy and reducing pollution.  Another practice that many plantations use instead of pesticides is a home-made contraption using water, alcohol, three cups and string.  They hang the three cups on a string from trees; the first two cups have holes at the bottom, while the third cup is filled with water.  Alcohol is placed on the rims of the first two cups and the bugs are attracted to the scent.  The bugs are then submerged in the last cup unable to free themselves and drown.

The last few days we were able to interview native Costa Ricans about their sustainable practices.  While asking them about sustainability few knew what the term meant but after explaining what we were talking about they shook their heads in agreement.  The term might not be common, but the practices run deep through the towns and the people.  This contributes to why Costa Rica is the happiest place on earth according to the Happy Planet Index (HPI).  This index calculates the happiness of the people and their well-being related to the amount of resources used.  In the video below Nic Marks talks about the HPI and the fact that Costa Rica is ranked the happiest place on earth.

To put things into perspective, the United States is ranked 105th on this list.  It is amazing to see that such a small country can have such a big impact on the world.


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