I noted a news item in a magazine this week that was highlighting the environmental credentials of Costa Rica – not a country that particularly springs to mind when thinking of environmental achievements. They have been awarded the 2010 Future Policy Award in recognition of their Biodiversity Law ‘as a milestone of excellence in meeting the goals of the UN convention on Biological Diversity’.
It would appear that Costa Rica, which is rich in flora and fauna, has developed policies designed to safeguard these habitats recognising their importance as an ecosystem and for bringing in ecotourism revenue (a topic I am not overly comfortable with). The part of the policy that particularly got my attention was that at a time when it is rumoured that the UK coalition ‘greenest’ government is contemplating selling large tracts of forest and national parks, the Costa Rican government is channeling revenue from fuel tax, energy fees and car stamp duty to pay for the management of nature reserves and environmental services.
The immediate question is, if Costa Rica, a so-called developing country, can take such a stance to protect its habitats, why, when we are so wealthy, can we not afford to do the same? Why do we not value what we have, whilst pointing the finger at developing countries for destroying their habitat.