Costa Rica abandoned its military way back in the 1940s. The Central American country shifted government spending to something more long-term than defending against ‘enemy’ countries, to defending against environmental damage, and to protecting ecosystems and natural resources.
Costa Rica’s capital San José, like Tokyo, boasts a United Nations mandated University for Peace. And now from this ecological poster child country comes this story: zero fossil fuels have been burnt to generate electricity since December 2014. Zero carbon emissions from electricity generation. Zero! This nation, renowned for its clean energy policies, is way ahead on the environmental curve.
In 1948, in an era blighted by the destructive folly of World War, the then President of Costa Rica renounced the military, and publicly handed the keys to the Education Minister. The military headquarters were transformed into a national art museum and the former military budget was directed towards healthcare, education and environmental protection. Wow, what impressive foresight. What a noble move to boldly renounce your army to spend instead on society and the environment.
In 2015, in an era blighted by environmental negligence and the folly that someone else will clear up ecosystem destruction, maybe the climate-broker keys should be handed to countries like Costa Rica and Norway. These clean energy nations are both powered primarily by hydropower - pumped storage and run-of-the-river plants – along with a mixture of geothermal, wind, biomass, and solar energy. Military spending and paranoia needs to be transformed into peace-building, collaboration, and defossilising economies. Noble and yes, risky. But we have to do something dramatic to broker a climate deal in Paris this year.
Costa Rica aims to be carbon-neutral by 2021. In a sign of how committed Costa Rica is to renewables the government has decided not to exploit rich oil deposits - discovered along the country’s Caribbean coast - for environmental reasons