Costa Rica is giving me hope

Posted on April 16, 2009 by ELCA World Hunger

I highly recommend reading Thomas Friedman’s April 11th Op-Ed column in the New York Times. The ELCA World Hunger staff has been talking a lot about climate change recently, and the disproportionate impact it has on those living in poverty. It’s not particularly encouraging.

So what fun to read Friedman’s article! I have to admit, I don’t know much about Costa Rica’s governmental structures or energy usage, which is a shame. Because as Friedman describes it, they are both innovative and hopeful. Apparently “it did something no country has ever done: It put energy, environment, mines and water all under one minister.” As a result, environmental, energy, and economic considerations have more balanced influence in policy decisions. And the result of that is that Costa Rica now gets some 95% of their energy from renewable sources and has reversed its deforestation. From what I can tell from a very quick check, they’ve also managed to do it while maintaining a reasonably stable economy.

Certainly Costa Rica’s opportunities and challenges are different than, say, the United States. But how hopeful to be given such an example!

-Nancy Michaelis