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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One step towards shark conservation

Written by Marco Quesada, Director Conservation International Costa Rica

Last week, at the meeting of the group of signatories to the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on the Conservation of Migratory Sharks, countries agreed to incorporate 20 marine species including sawfish, stingrays and various species of sharks, within the list the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS) seeks to protect.

Protect from what?

Se estima que a nivel global se matan entre 63 y 273 millones de tiburones anualmente.

It is estimated that between 63 and 273 million sharks are killed annually.

From us, men. We ourselves are the threat pushing these species to extinction . If no measures are taken, some of these species could eventually disappear. Continue reading

Pulau Mantanani: plastic paradise

Written by Xurxo Fernández, journalist at La Voz de Galicia
Parecía un paraíso...

It looked like paradise…

Very early, before the the boats filled with tourists arrive, a barefoot and shirtless boy pushes a wheelbarrow through the sand. He stops and starts picking up the trash that accumulated the previous day, zigzagging up to the dining table outside. He works meticulously to remove all waste from the access to the hotel, about ten meters wide. The section is short, so he is able to finish soon and he abandones the imaginary path. He moves away from the hotel and pushes his wheelbarrow to the sea.

When the first wheel touches the crystaline water, the boy turns thewheelbarrow nad throughs all contents to the ocean. Bottles, wrappers, food scraps, even a broken sandal, stay together briefly before separating according to their buoyancy. Most plastic floats back to shore, but out of sight. At least out of the sight of the tens of diving enthusiasts who will barely spend half a day on the island, before returning home. Continue reading

Get the ball rolling

Written by Alonso Muñoz, founder of the Campaign The Truth About Plastic

photo 2 (1)

My interest on the subject of solid waste was born several years ago. I remember one morning when I was still a student, I waited for the garbage truck to follow it and know for certain what happened to the hundreds of bags it collected, week after week, in my neighborhood. Overwhelmed with what I saw, I researched in the subject to realize that the reality was much worse than what I thought, and the more I learned, the more I became convinced of the the need to do something about it.

Willing to try, in 2012 I wrote this letter to the Managers of Coca Cola and the beer factory (Florida Bebidas) proposing a decrease of the plastic their companies introduce to the environment in their presentations of bottled water. The excessive amount of plastic is a matter of concern for many and from the day I published it, dozens of people signed it and the shared. It was thus that one month after its publication I received an email from the Coca Cola inviting me to their office to discuss the issue. Continue reading