I stood gazing up at the huge orange and red chunks of molten rock and lava the Arenal Volcano spewed into the night. Just the day before I was traveling by bus through a dense rainforest and had gone river rafting. Tonight we were about to relax in a natural hot springs heated by this intimidating volcano. It is February of 2008, and I am in gorgeous Costa Rica with 12 other members of my AP Human Geography class. Our travel to Costa Rica, though at times recreational, was truly to do a field study of the landscape, as well as cultural studies that coincided with our courses back at our high school.
The wildlife and scenery was the most varied I have ever seen. From lush and humid rainforests, to dry and hot beaches, Costa Rica exceeded my expectations. In the rainforest, we saw snakes, wild birds such as toucans, parrots and even the occasional armadillo. On the beach, we saw an assortment of monkeys, iguanas and two and three toed sloths. What I loved most about Costa Rica was how, when just walking down the street, you were rewarded with seeing wildlife living in their natural habitat, living right along side you.
Costa Rica is considered the United States of Central America, as it is one of the more stable economies. Immigrants from neighboring countries such as Nicaragua and Honduras come to Costa Rica for a fresh start and a better life. Costa Rica impressed me with their constant “green” outlook on everyday activities. They were switching over from depending on oil to run their cars and homes, to using the heart of palm oil that they grow locally. This would mean they are independent of foreign oil, and are self sufficient, which in today’s world is a growing issue for all countries.The indigenous people are so adamant about protecting their rainforests and all the species that dwell there.
This inspired me to be proactive in saving our environment that is essential to the health of America, as well as the rest of the world. With this outlook on life and the support of my parents, we try to use organic beauty products and shampoos, organic laundry and dishwashing detergents, and buy organic fruits, vegetables and meats. My passion has overflowed to neighbors. Noticing my neighbors using pesticides on their lawns to kill weeds, I stopped by a few times to inform them of eco-friendly ways to have the same results using a vinegar solution or buying products that are environmentally safe. The lasting impression Costa Rica left on my sensibilities prompted me to look at the impact we are leaving on this earth, our footprints.Let’s go green!
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