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The Republic of Costa Rica’s Earthshot success brings £1 million to the country’s project to restore lost rainforest habitat and revive natural ecosystems.

This was one of the first five simple but achievable schemes around the world recognised for providing solutions to environmental problems and repairing our damaged Earth for future generations.

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The Earthshot Prize, initiated in the UK by the Royal Foundation of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, aims to “turn the current pessimism surrounding environmental issues into optimism, by highlighting the ability of human ingenuity to bring about change, and inspiring collective action”. In doing that it will award £1 million each to projects in five categories, every year for the next 10 years. Each Earthshot is underpinned by scientifically agreed targets including the UN Sustainable Development Goals and other internationally recognised measures to help repair our planet.

Together, they form a unique set of challenges rooted in science, which aim to generate new ways of thinking, as well as new technologies, systems, policies and solutions.

Keel Billed Toucan

Photo Credit: Keel Billed Toucan, Costa Rica Birding

Costa Rica Wins for Nature

Costa Rica’s Earthshot category was Protect & Restore Nature. The criteria for winning this category were that the recipient must be actively repairing and preserving the habitats in their country that their native animals need to prosper. The prize goes to the most outstanding efforts to meet the challenge of preventing loss of biodiversity and extinctions, creating job opportunities for those who look after their natural land and restoring plant life to secure the health and safety of generations to come.

The mission statement of the Protect & Restore Nature Earthshot category is: “By 2030, we choose to ensure that, for the first time in human history, the natural world is growing – not shrinking – on our planet”.

Photo Credit: Red-Legged Honeycreeper, Costa Rica Birding

What Led to Costa Rica’s Earthshot Achievement?

By the 1990s, due to indiscriminate development and tree felling in the rainforest, large tracts of native habitat in Costa Rica had been destroyed. In all, around half of the natural forest environment had disappeared. The realisation of what was happening and its long-term ramifications on this beautiful country led the people of Costa Rica and their Ministry for Environment to form a plan. The resulting programmes paid citizens to protect forests, plant trees and restore ecosystems.

The amazing results were soon apparent. Costa Rica’s forest areas doubled in size and its flora and fauna recovered and went on to thrive. Ecotourism began and now contributes $4 billion to the economy.

And the good work is spreading to regenerating urban areas, too. Costa Rica’s Earthshot Prize win will help it to share the knowledge gained from its initiatives and spread its practices globally. In this way, around 30 per cent of the world’s land and oceans could be saved. Costa Rica’s motto is ‘pura vida’, pure life, words that could soon echo across the world.

Photo Credit: Three Wattled Bellbird, Costa Rica Birding

Want to See Costa Rica’s Wonderful Wildlife for Yourself?

Local wildlife tour operators can introduce you to the birds, mammals, invertebrates, reptiles and plants that are thriving in the country’s protected forests. You can see for yourself what Costa Rica’s Earthshot prize is rewarding by contacting them through Blue Sky Wildlife.

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