The CNN article noted that Costa Rica is known for its "lush rain forests and pristine beaches." I therefore decided to illustrate this story by showing a photo of a woman relaxing in the shade with her dog on the beach right behind our condo in Playa Langosta. No wonder Costa Ricans are so happy. Does life get much better than this?
The "Happy Planet Index" developed by the New Economics Foundation in the United Kingdom ranked 143 countries based on (1) what matters to people: long, happy and meaningful lives; and (2) what matters to the planet: the rate of consumption of the planet's resources.
The Foundation observed that the slogan and greeting most popular in Costa Rica -- "pura vida," or "pure life" -- embodies the contentment of the population and the strong family and community ties. The Foundation also noted that clean water and adult literacy are nearly universal, and there is strong political political participation. Costa Rica was ranked as having one of the lowest rates of poverty in the developing world, even surpassing one member of the European Union.
The Report gave well deserved praise for Costa Rica's compatibility with the planet's needs, commenting that Costa Rica is "Unique in the world for having combined its ministries of energy and the environment back in the 1970's, a staggering 99 per cent of its energy comes from renewable resources."
The Foundation's report complimented Costa Rica for enacting a carbon tax in 1997 and using the revenues to pay for local communities to preserve their forest lands. That has led to the reversal of deforestation, with twice as much land covered with forests today than 20 years ago.
I am a citizen of the USA, which ranked 114 (due in large part to its consumption of four times the amount of energy per person as Costa Rica). I am therefore not bragging when I report on these results. I am expressing my admiration for the country and its people, and my appreciation for the example Costa Rica is showing for the world.