and the Greenest Country on Earth is
The renewable energy journey
The path to becoming a nation with a majority of renewable energy sources does not need to be reinvented. There are places that have chosen to embark on this journey. One example is Costa Rica, which is why I believe the small republic in the middle of the Americas is the greenest country on Earth.
Costa Rica’s two-step journey
Monica Araya pointed out in her TED Talk last year that nearly 100 percent of Costa Rica’s electricity comes from renewable sources. She added that for 299 days in 2015, the country was powered only by renewable energy sources including hydropower, geothermal, wind, solar, and biomass.
Two steps transformed the dream of moving away from fossil fuels to a future powered by renewable energy. The first step was to introduce and implement green laws, green initiatives and green public policies.
Costa Rica began to invest in hydropower in the 1950s, which kept the country away from the trap of using fossil fuels for power. In the 1970s, the republic invested in national parks, which kept the nation away from the flawed logic of growth at any cost. More recently, in the 1990s, the country pioneered payments for ecosystem services, which helped reverse deforestation and boosted ecotourism, becoming a key engine of growth.
The second step involved utilizing the country’s local natural resources to build a renewable future on the foundation of the environmentally-friendly laws put into place. For example, Costa Rica uses the energy from its volcanos to produce geothermal power and the energy from its rivers to produce emission-free hydroelectric power.
The green countries of the future
Perhaps other countries around the world, namely my own, can learn something from the example the people and government of Costa Rica have set. Yes, becoming a green county is possible, provided the people and their government believe completely moving away from fossil fuels is important enough to make a reality.