San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Ceremony Inaugurates Peace With Nature Initiative

President Oscar Arias formally announced his “Peace with Nature” initiative July 6 during a packed day of events in the Central Valley, which culminated in a gala at the National Theater in downtown San José.

The inauguration ceremony for the initiative, which constitutes the Arias administration’s  plan for the environment at home and abroad, was held at INBio park, a biodiversity research center in Santo Domingo de Heredía, north of San José.

“All human beings are like brothers. We are part of a big family called humanity, and we live in this immense house we call earth. It is the only house we have,” he said.

The initiative, he said, will protect that home through a series of concrete measures designed to help the country protect its natural resources and promote international cooperation on such issues as global warming and biodiversity preservation.

The new initiative, which Arias said will have both national and international ramifications, was announced in front of a varied group, ranging from university professors to former environment ministers to Honduran President Manuel Zelaya.

“If I cut a tree in Costa Rica, that can cause draught in Africa… that is how it is in all of the world, we are all holding each other’s hands,” Arias said.

The initiative establishes 12 commissions made up of experts, each assigned to a different environmental issue including energy, forests, water, waste removal and marine resources.

According to Pedro Léon, coordinator for the initiative, it is “a crusade to protect our environment, to turn back global warming, promote sustainable and renewable energy.”

Despite the hype surrounding “Peace with Nature,” some of the country’s environmentalists, including Mauricio Alvarez, of the Costa Rican Federation for Environmental Conservation (FECON), balked at the initiative, calling it window dressing.

“One day we talk about climate change and human rights, the next day we are striking a business deal with Communist China. It’s schizophrenic. It’s all for show,” he said (TT, July 6).


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