3 Lessons From Costa Rica That The World Should Go Learn

"Costa Rica.. No Artificial Ingredients!" by Arturo Sotillo is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0
Costa Rica .. No Artificial Ingredients!” by Arturo Sotillo is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Every country has something to teach to the world, and so it happens that Costa Rica has at least three of them. For the past few years, Costa Rica continues to show that there are lessons to be learned when a country stands firm on their environmental beliefs, being content, and having a genuine positive attitude.

Just this year, Costa Rica received well-deserved recognitions for their endeavors that, in my opinion, the world could benefit from by learning from their endeavors. Though admittedly, not every country could follow their example, they could still use them to springboard new positive ideas and good practices.

Lesson One – Be More Sustainable

"Modern Languages" by The Leaf Project
Modern Languages” by The Leaf Project

Thanks to Costa Rica’s Kaizen-like attitude towards reducing or totally eliminating their carbon footprint, they finally found the right means to totally stop relying on fossil fuels to power up the entire country, even just for a period of time. Their record of 299 days without using oil, natural gas, and coal to produce electricity remains unmatched by other countries.

Costa Rica relentlessly continues to find ways to preserve and make the most of their natural resources. As the results of their hard work, the country receives an abundance of rain water, which fills up the rivers that flow down the waterfalls. About 80% of Costa Rica’s power is generated from hydroelectric plants. The rest is from the solar panels, windmills, and geothermal turbines.

Not every country is fortunate enough to have the same natural resources as Costa Rica, but for those who do, should learn to use it for sustainability soon. After all, fossil fuels are arguably going to be depleted in the next 53 to 110 years. It would also improve the living conditions for everyone on the planet.

Lesson Two – Don’t Worry, Be Happy

For the nth time, Costa Rica came out on top over 139 other countries to become the happiest country in

"Sloth" by Throwra_uk is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
Sloth” by Throwra_uk is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

the world. They received a Happy Planet Index (HPI) scoring of 44.7, which is very high. That score came about by using a point system that measures the life expectancy, well-being, ecological footprint, and other life conditions within the country.

What makes those who are residing Costa Rica happy are a series of factors that make up their current living standards. Factors like the country’s devotion to ecological preservation, which leads to better healthy conditions, or that their choice of giving up on having an army and allocating the military funds to improve the education system and health facilities also play a role in making life better.

Since Costa Rica decided to prioritize improving the living standards of their people, the quality of life within the country is generally decent. More countries would have happier citizens and residents if they followed Costa Rica’s example and find ways to allocate and put their funds to humanitarian and ecological causes.  

Lesson Three – Be Pura Vida

The phrase Pura Vida, meaning “pure life” or “simple life,” made its way to Costa Rica’s mainstream language ever since it was first heard of about 50 years ago. Nowadays, it is used in local radios, everyday conversations, billboards, and pretty much everywhere within the country. Its popular usage is not about that it’s the local’s favorite phrase, but rather it is more of the reflection of how they perceive life.

"PURA VIDA!" by Sarah Harder is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0
PURA VIDA!” by Sarah Harder is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

Though the phrase is possibly not originally coined by a Costa Rican, the term and what it stands for, (much like how it was in the 50s Mexican movie “Pura Vida!” where it might have been taken from), is totally immersed in the culture. In the movie, Pura Vida signifies having a positive outlook in life and choosing to be happy.

With the world’s current temperament shifting away from optimism, becoming Pura Vida is needed more than ever. If more countries nowadays adopt such an attitude, there will be fewer reasons to fear on what tomorrow will bring.

The countries all around our planet have so much to learn from each other. Costa Rica, for one, can teach about sustainability, being happy, and adopting a positive perception of life. The world will simply be a better if there are more teaching and understanding going on.

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