Instead of collecting seashells, let’s collect trash

Written by Viviana Araya Gamboa, Costa Rican artist from Pez Cocinado

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I LOVE the immense ocean, but mainly I love those little details that inhabit it, why ?? I don’t know, I just know that being there makes me happy. We usually criticize trawlers, fishermen, but the truth is that from home, from where we are, we can also generate a large impact on all of that life, how responsible are we of our trash !!?? Which with the help of the rain, wind and some of our irresponsibilities, we all participate in shutting down the colors and details that live within all that blue. Continue reading

Zompopas and fishes

Written by Marco Quesada, Director of Conservation International Costa Rica

It has always surprised me the great ability we have to adapt and get used to what surrounds us. I remember when I was a child, to see ants in my neighborhood and to think it was normal. Among the various species of ants inhabiting my neighborhood, we had the zompopas (leaf-cutters). I got used to see them walking in long lines, carrying huge pieces of leafs and to watch the plants disappear overnight. Many years later, working as a tour guide, I was surprised to see a group of tourists stop for 10 minutes to see a line of zompopas marching through the woods. I had ignored it because I forgot that what is normal for me may be, actually, something special.

It’s something I’ve continued to witness through my life. We stop noticing things, both good and bad behaviours that are around us everyday. We are accustomed to the beauty of our mountains and our beaches, for example. To swimming in a clean sea and to eat seafood from time to time.

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Summer in Guanacaste

Written by Mónika Naranjo González, audiovisual producer

About Costa Rica and the environment, Costa Rica and its oceans, Costa Rica its management of marine and coastal resources there is much to be said.

But it seems impossible to start without clarifying certain concepts: to be against illegal fishing is not to be against the fishermen. To be in favor of environmental conservation is not to be against the exploitation of resources. To denounce and disagree with actions of our institutions is not to be against the government.

Yes, it becomes necessary to stress assumptions that should be obvious because our coastal and marine resources are caught in a crossfire that emerges from the bad image of the conservation movement, the inheritance of government institutions that are ineffective to say the least, the lack of tools in the hands of citizens, the overwhelming of the general public in face of the continuous bombardment of bad news.

It is not easy to start a conversation about marine conservation in our country.

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Painted nails and dirty hands: science and femininity

Written by Melania Guerra, Ph.D. Oceanographer

The relevance of scientific and technological research to society and the great impact they generate for the progress of humanity, are well known. Therefore, one would think that it is obvious to state that the more people are engaged in these fields … the better! Especially if each person contributes with their unique and special talents. However, historically the barriers in the scientific world have separated, isolated or ignored the valuable contributions of women, symbol of an inequality that unfortunately is not only exclusive to these professions.

Naively, in my view as a child, I grew up not knowing these limitations of gender that are arbitrarily imposed. I fell in love with science, as one falls in love with chocolate: it felt deliciously pleasant to hear the stories of exploration archaeologist Heinrich Schliemann, the adventures on the high seas of Jacques Cousteau and exploits outside the Earth’s atmosphere of Franklin Chang-Diaz, emotions that transcended gender divisions. All my role models were coincidently men, but I never stopped to ask if it made a difference or if emulating them was compatible with my identity as a woman.

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Seven wishes for 2016

Written by Marco Quesada, director of Conservation International Costa Rica
Este podría ser un año difícil para la conservación marina

This could be a difficult year for marine conservation

We start another tour around the sun and at this time we always want to adjust goals, directions and expectations. It could be a difficult year for marine conservation as El Niño has continued to intensify and its effects on marine ecosystems and resources may also increase. On the other hand, the year looks good because in a few months the radar installation in Cocos Island will be completed and will strengthen the capacity of national authorities on issues of control and surveillance of this protected area. Like everyone else, we have a wish list for this 2016, we have issues on which we would like to see progress. Let’s see them: Continue reading