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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Pulau Mantanani: plastic paradise

Written by Xurxo Fernández, journalist at La Voz de Galicia
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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

Joy that can be appraised

Written by Andrés Beita, marine biologist

Who doesn’t enjoy a short trip over the weekend? Last August I took advantage of both Mother’s Day and dad’s birthday and I went with my family around Caño Island in search of whales.

Each year, between the months of August and October our country is visited by humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) that live in the cold waters of the Southern Hemisphere. They come to mate and give birth to their young in our warm tropical waters.

The anxiety of waiting

We left from Sierpe village, crossing estuaries that took us to the sea while admiring the impressive mangrove forests surrounding the delta of the Sierpe and Térraba rivers, the largest mangrove forest in Central America.

Once at sea, everybody onboard would think they had spotted a whale every time they saw a log floating or even a shadow of the waves. There was great anxiety, we all wanted to know when we would get to see the first whale.

Impresionante Sierpe, Bahía de Drake, Isla del Caño. Foto por Marco Quesada.

The imposing Sierpe, Drake’s Bay, Caño Island. Photo by Marco Quesada.

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