In Costa Rica, beaches, hotels and businesses can earn awards for their environmental efforts – why not homes? With this question in mind, I began developing the “Sustainable Home Award” proposal.
For more than 10 years I have worked to create and implement programs and strategies to raise awareness about the importance of living in harmony with our natural environment.
I admire the Sustainability Program of the C.R. Tourism Chamber, and believe and participate in the Ecological Blue Flag Program. These programs have guided our country´s path in our efforts to improve the health, the environment and the quality of life of all our citizens.
Jessica Shieffel on the right of the group
However, I noticed that in spite of all of our country´s efforts, we lack an incentive program that will promote actions from our homes… the foundation of our society. We need to award homes that will take basic, responsible steps toward our goal of achieving a better and healthier environment. More importantly, we need to create a path for those who want to be more “sustainable” by providing the information, guidance, and encouragement necessary to achieve these goals.
Hence, the “Sustainable Home” proposal was developed and entered in a national, recognized Entrepreneur Competition, “Yo Emprendedor”, where I was named a finalist. This initiative and recognition have helped me open many doors, one of which is that of the Director of the Ecological Blue Flag Program (PBAE): doctor Darner Mora Alvarado.
From the beginning, I was cordially welcomed and supported by the director and the National Commission of this program, and in a short time my proposal was adopted by PBAE.
Right now we are piloting the Sustainable Home Program in our Nosara community and twenty households have made a commitment to participate. Their feedback will be invaluable so that in the near future, the program will expand and be available to every home in our country.
Registered homes will have an inductive workshop where they will receive four documents that will advise and guide their actions during the year to help them achieve their goal of being a “Sustainable Home”. Additionally, they will be invited to participate in clean-up campaigns, reforestation activities, environmental workshops, etc. Each of these events will be organized by the program´s local coordinator the”Nosara Community Blue Flag Committee”.
To wrap up this cycle, at the beginning of 2013, homes that successfully achieve the established parameters will be invited to a ceremony where they will receive a beautiful certificate, which will be proudly displayed in front of their homes. Every year these homes will be required to re-register to keep the award as they continue working toward obtaining additional stars (five stars in total).
The “Sustainable Home Award” offers Costa Rican homes and families the power and opportunity to resolve many of their community challenges, such as: garbage problems, water scarcity, lack of community participation, wasteful use of electricity and water, problems that have not been resolved by our government. The Sustainable Home goal is to create a new culture, a green culture that modifies our consumption habits to create cleaner, healthier and more vibrant communities.
I am convinced that our homes will be the engine for a more sustainable Nosara and a more sustainable Costa Rica.
"Ask not what your country can do for you - ask what you can do for your country" John F. Kennedy