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Costa Rica

Is there a silver lining in natural disasters? The answer is ‘yes’

Fernando Ramírez's picture

También disponible en español 

The earthquake in Costa Rica caused serious damage, including to major national utilities such as the water network. More than 1.3 million people in San Jose depend on this system for their daily water supply. The good news though, is that the supply of this vital resource is secure, thereby saving lives and inconvenience.

Although fictional, imagine receiving this piece of good news in the midst of a disaster, as described above.

What’s more. If you are an engineer like I am, imagine the Costa Rican Institute of Aqueducts and Sewers (s) (AyA or government water agency) reported that, while more than 15% of its infrastructure had been damaged extensively by this hypothetical earthquake, vital components such as water towers and pumping stations hadn’t been compromised.

 

Costa Rica's forests: making others green with envy?

Robert Valls's picture

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Costa Rica has become the crown jewel of Latin America in terms of environmental protection and its respect for biodiversity. After more than 10 years of putting “green” policies in to practice to protect its forests – which cover 51% of its land mass- the Central American country aims to be fully carbon neutral by 2021, the first to reach this global milestone.

“In the 1970s, we destroyed much of the forest and now I want to reverse the damage we’ve done to humanity,” says Virgilio, owner of a 196-hectare lot in Puriscal and participant in an innovative program that provides money to small and mid-sized property owners to encourage them to take care of their land. So far, the program has managed to protect 12% of the country’s forests.

During my visit to Costa Rica to film this video on the country’s environmental advances, I also spoke with Sandra María, a woman who manages a small inn many would pay a fortune for the opportunity to visit. “Here we don’t cut trees down 3because trees give life,” she says with the confidence of one who knows she is doing the right thing. 
 

 

Vingt ans plus tard, on ne parle toujours pas assez de sexe

Keith Hansen's picture

Also available in English, Spanish, Portuguese 

 

Au cours des vingt dernières années, cette région a considérablement accru le niveau des échanges sur l’épidémie et le degré de sensibilisation. Les pays ont élaboré des stratégies nationales de lutte contre le VIH/sida (a), intégré les programmes de lutte contre l’épidémie à leurs systèmes de santé et sont parvenus à informer et sensibiliser la quasi-totalité du grand public sur les facteurs de risque du VIH.

 

Cependant, on continue à ne pas assez parler de sexe.

 

Latin America: are we forever at the mercy of high oil prices?

Ariel Yepez's picture

También disponible en español

 

A few weeks ago a rare storm event known as "Derecho" ravaged the Washington, DC area, claiming many lives and leaving 1.3 million homes and business without electricity. My house was unfortunately among those hit hard by the power outage and in an attempt to cope with the 90F+ temperatures unleashed by the storm, we moved down to the basement -- generally, the coolest part of the house.

For the first few days the novelty was fun for the kids, but as the days wore on, frustration grew, in part because we had no idea when the power would come back on.

Central America: learning how to create better jobs

Ana María Oviedo's picture

También disponible en español

Trabajo informal en Centroamerica

 

The global events of the last few years, beginning with the 2008 financial crisis, have revived the debate around job creation as a key element for economic recovery.

 

In Central America, the global financial crisis had a significant effect on production and employment, and even though the region has recovered, the debate regarding how to create better jobs is still going strong.

 

The greening (?) of agriculture in Latin America

John Nash's picture

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For many of us, the word 'agriculture' evokes bucolic images of lush fields of grain and pastures populated by peacefully grazing cows. In this light, the notion of "greening agriculture'' seems almost oxymoronic; could anything be greener than this?

Well, maybe not in terms of color, but in terms of environmental impact, agriculture has a sizable footprint. In many countries, including large areas of the high-income countries, those lush fields of grain used to be forests. And the fertilizer that keeps those fields so green is mostly nitrogen based, generating nitrous oxide, which – kilo per kilo – has an impact on global warming several hundred times that of carbon dioxide. And those cows – how to put this delicately? – have greenhouse gases coming out of both ends! (Methane emitted by livestock is over 20 times as potent a greenhouse gas as carbon dioxide.) And (surprise!) crops and livestock need water –lots of it. Agriculture accounts for around 70 percent of water use worldwide.

Latin America to the world: lessons learned on austerity, growth, reforms

Hasan Tuluy's picture

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Made in Latin America

'Made in Latin America'. Wouldn't that be a great label? --one that would slowly work its way out of the realm of some imaginary Latin American products to become a real seal of approval for many endeavors and accomplishments by the region.

I'm in Miami for the Seventh Annual Latin America Conference to talk about the region's prospects to decision makers, and I can't think of a better place to come up with such label --'My-ami', I muse, the Latin American economic and social melting pot that has been called many times the region's business capital.

So-called natural disasters are not unpredictable

Niels Holm-Nielsen's picture

También disponible en español

 

No two earthquakes in the world cause equal damage, according to scientists. This is particularly true in Latin America, a land of contrasts.

Whereas in 2010, an earthquake measuring 7 on the Richter scale ravaged Haiti, claiming nearly a quarter of a million lives, a few weeks ago in Mexico, an earthquake of similar magnitude (7.4) caused only a few cracks and minor injuries.

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