A lot has changed since I spent those days in Costa Rica. I met new people and made new friends, but more importantly I grew to appreciate and understand a culture that may be years ahead of our own. The Costa Rican people care so deeply for their country and their world that they would go to great lengths to try and preserve both; something that is often hard to find in the US. I have tried to bring some of that back with me. I’ve changed my view of the world around me from something to be used into something that needs to be preserved and cared for. This doesn’t have to start at the extreme to which some in Costa Rica take it with large facilities designated to producing clean and reusable energy, it can be as simple as remembering to recycle and take care of the world around you in simple ways.
Before visiting Costa Rica and participating in the class I could not have told anyone what sustainability was. My friends and family asked me what we would be studying and all I could do was guess. Now people ask what I have learned and I’m happy to tell them. Sustainability is about more than just going green. It’s about understanding the world around you and taking extra steps and precautions to preserve and protect it.
I’ve learned to be more passionate about what I do. I try not to take things for granted anymore. I’ve seen how people with much less have lived and how they treasure every moment, every animal and plant. I’ll take more time to focus on the practices of companies before I choose to give them my business. Some places in Costa Rica would rather work without gaining profit than hurt the environment. They understand better than we as Americans do that to truly prosper you need to protect the planet that you live on instead of destroying it for personal gain. I will always remember this trip and I will try to carry the lessons I learned from the people of Costa Rica with me.