NEWS FLASH: Yesterday's newspaper reported that Robert Kennedy Jr. announced that Costa Rica has been named the world's first "BioGem" country. Forgive me, but I am excited. The U.S.-based Natural Resources Defense Council bestowed this designation to support Costa Rica's efforts to become the world's first carbon-neutral country by 2021.
The BioGem program is designed to protect areas of unique, irreplaceable, ecological importance. There are only 13 BioGem areas. All but one are specific forests or wilderness areas. The one exception is that the entire country of Costa Rica has just been designated a "BioGem" area.
Robert Kennedy Jr. described the importance of this designation as follows: "These BioGems are some of the last wild and unspoiled places left in the Western Hemisphere. By naming these places as BioGems, NRDC is empowering hundreds of thousands of concerned individuals to take effective action to save these natural treasures for generations to come."
In selecting Costa Rica as a BioGem, the NRDC described it as follows: "Located at the convergence of the northern and southern hemispheres -- with two coastlines, lush tropical forests, mountains and volcanoes all squeezed into an area smaller than West Virgina -- Costa Rica packs a wallop of biodiversity."
The BioGem Fact Sheet on Costa Rica praised its environmental commitments and noted that it contains 10% of all bird species in the world and twice as many bird species as the USA and Canada combined, plus 4% of the world's plant and animal species, and 30% of the country's plant species can be found only in Costa Rica.
To illustrate this pioneering ecological achievement, I have shown a photo today looking down on the Monteverde cloud forest canopy. Additional information about the BioGem designation for Costa Rica, including a link to sign up to help save the plants and animals of Costa Rica, you may click on this link to http://www.savebiogems.org/costarica.