Reduce + Reuse + Recycle
In the last year I have greatly reduced the amount of things in my life. I sold my car and most of my belongings last summer to move to Cost Rica.
Living in the rainforest is so inspiring. There is so much oxygen here. So much room to breathe. Talk about going green… this place is just about the greenest it gets! Did you know that half the world's oxygen is produced by phytoplankton from the ocean and the other half trees and plant life!? I am living by the ocean, in the jungle. I am surrounded by beauty, wildlife, biodiversity, and a plethora of renewable resources and I want to steward them well.
Here are a few ways I am finding to preserve the rich coast paradise I reside:
Buying my drinks in returnable bottles.
Reusing glass bottles for homemade kombucha and cold brew coffee.
Using a cloth coffee filter for pour over
Using cloth bags for groceries and produce
Cloth napkins and cleaning towels
Corkcicle bottles for drinks such as water and coffee – keeps things hot for 12 hours and cold for 24
While these green initiatives are a start, I am also finding ways to support and engage the local economy and community.
I try to buy most of my produce from local farmers at la feria and other groceries from local small businesses. For example, my neighbor Johanna is a student’s mother. She started a corner store and supports her family and is a joy in the community. It is a tradition to stop before school for a banana and after school for a coke or ice cream.
As for transportation, I walk most places, take the bus or share a taxi. I have made a handful of taxi driver friends and call one for the most part to get around.
I like to visit local restaurants and establishments especially when tourism is low. Since 50% of Costa Rica's GDP is linked to tourism, it is good for me to act like one on the weekends at least.
I love to have the neighbor kids over to paint in the afternoon and we recycle paper and make pretty things. Instead of watching TV or playing video games we learn each other’s language and art forms.
I am really terrible at turning my lights and fans off, but it’s a goal to get better.
I’m in no way zero waste, but I am working on lessoning my impact. I have lived far too much of my life as a maximalist. Though not quite ready to claim a minimal lifestyle, I am finding joy in conscientious consumerism.
If anyone has any advice or things that you found helpful, please share! I want to learn and grow, and teach my students to do the same.