Costa Rica has some of the world’s happiest people. They live long lives with an average life expectancy is 78.5 years, and many live longer into their nineties. Costa Rica ranks second in the world in life expectancy. Canada is number one.
So, why is that? It seems that Costa Rica has a very positive ecological footprint. Sounds scientific doesn’t it? Well what is the definition of a positive ecological footprint: To achieve this a country (it’s people) must consume only it’s share of the earths natural resources: Achieve a goal defined as “one planet living.”
But how is this measured? By measuring the amount of land necessary to provide for all the personal resource requirements of each individual. And then add other measurements to this: Measure the amount of vegetated land required to absorb the carbon dioxide emission each individual produces, and also measure the carbon dioxide emission of the products consumed by each individual.
So how does Costa Rica fit into this? By converting it’s natural resources into longer and happier lives for it’s people. One of it’s major achievements: setting aside more than 20% of it’s land surface under protection and conservation by the establishment of national parks and wildlife reserves. Much of this land contains valuable and irreplaceable primary rain forest which absorbs carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, thus reducing global warming. These forest are also home to many endangered species of plants and animals.
Additionally, Costa Ricans eat healthy. Much of the food is locally grown by small farmers often using organic methods. Not by large corporations and then shipped hundred, even thousands of miles to the grocery stores. You can find every week end in most Costa Rica towns a local farmers market where all the freshly harvested fruits and vegetables are beautifully displayed and sold at very reasonable prices.
And the weather, it’s wonderful. Lots of sunshine and sunshine makes people happy. Then comes the soft warm rain, and rain makes people relaxed.
Costa Ricans walk a lot, thus exercising more. Many do not own cars. On the streets of the towns and along the roadsides we see them happily walking with friends and family. They love the beautiful sunny mornings and get outside to enjoy the warm weather.
Costa Rica is politically stable and operates as a social democracy. Basic public education is provided to all, thus 90% of Costa Ricans are literate, although a large percentage of the youth do not pursue a university education.
A universal system of health care administered by the government is available to all. Not for free…each has to pay according to his earnings. A private health care system is also available and is ranked among the world’s best. This is more expensive but one can avoid the long lines and long waits for elective procedures associated with the government run system.
Also most Costa Ricans are not in deep debt. Many do not have a credit card, and are not tempted to purchase unless they really need something.
Talk to the average Costa Rican, he or she will tell you that he is happy with his life and lifestyle. Most live simply with close family ties and valuable friendships.
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