Costa Rica Proves Modernization Does Not Have to Destroy the Environment

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As mankind has evolved into the civilized society we know today, our planet has undergone a number of environmental changes. The correlation between the modernization of a nation and its impacts on the environment have been evident since the industrial revolution.
The country of China is likely the most evident example of this trend. After the founding of the People’s Republic of China, the nation set out on a path of development and modernization.  China completed the development process within the time of one generation, around 30 years. In comparison, the West completed the same process within 200-300 years.

Costa Rica is renowned for its protected jungles, which makes up a quarter of the country’s landscape, and is considered a hub of wildlife biodiversity. However, the Central American nation has had a troubling relationship with their rainforests.

In the 1800s, and continuing through to the 1960s, the government of Costa Rica distributed land among its citizens. This created a large class of free farmers, who were able to earn their own living without the pressures of social elites. Although this decision helped the people of Costa Rica build a stable life for themselves, the nation’s rainforests suffered the effects of the agricultural boom. In the 1970s, Costa Rica become one of the most deforested nations in the world.

Coope Tarrazú, for example, is a cooperative of some 400 coffee bean farmers. Collectively the farmers own most of the value chain for their coffee. The farmers manage the crops, the harvest and the production process before selling the beans to companies like Caribou Coffee. The creation of such institutions have made politicians in the country more inclined to help the farmers that are helping to strengthen the nation’s economy.

“The government doesn’t do anything affecting coffee without consulting us,” said Félix Monge, CoopeTarrazú’s field and business manager.

Today, the nation of Costa Rica has progressed on the path to modernization, steadily transforming the country’s poor subsistence farming economy into a modern economy. A total of 86.9 per 100 inhabitants have mobile broadband subscriptions; the literacy rate is 97.8 percent; around 98.3 percent of households have access to clean water, and the country has universal health care. Surprisingly, this has been achieved whilst also attaining a reputation as one of the cleanest nations in the world.

From this analysis, it is clear to see that many of the world’s superpowers – and even smaller nations – could benefit significantly by following Costa Rica’s lead by putting the needs of the people and the environment before the social elites and corrupt corporations that govern these nations with alternative agendas.

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Kyle James Lee is the Majority Partnership holder of AEGIS Alliance, The. He studied in college for Media Arts & Game Development. Talents include Writer, Graphic Design, Web Design, Owner/Operator of FB.ME/AEGISAlliance , and Video Editing.

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