Friday, 22 September 2017

Volunteering with Osa Turtles - World Challenge Bristol

Here on Playa Preciosa in Costa Rica's Osa Peninsula, we currently only have 2 resident volunteers working hard to protect turtle nests from poachers and collecting data on the turtles that come here to lay. However, the summer of 2017 has brought over 80 British World Challengers to this beach to help in any way they can... from weeding pineapple plantations and picking up litter, to learning about female turtles and assisting with nest relocations.

World Challenge Bristol have been kind enough to write us a few little messages, summarising their experiences on this project... for any interested future volunteers, hopefully these give you an idea of what it's like and what you'll get up to if you come and join us here at Osa Turtles!

"It is so beautiful here; the wildlife and trees are amazing, as well as the sea being gorgeous. Jamie (our coordinator) makes everything fun, even the rubbish collection and disposal, and to be honest everything she says is interesting. I would 100% come back here to volunteer ( and I am finally getting a tan!)"
From Bitsy Pout

 "I have found the experience here eye-opening to say the least! During a beach clean-up lasting only a few hours, we collected 1800 pieces of rubbish, which we were told, was their highest count for a clean-up! I’d never felt more aware of the need to protect and conserve our environment. I’ve loved my time and feel I’ve had a real opportunity to make a difference – I will definitely be using this experience to encourage others to get involved with conservation projects, especially those working to end poaching."
From Issy Wyatt

"The experience with Osa Turtles has been very eye-opening. We have learnt about the issues endangering the turtles of the Osa first hand, watching poachers stroll the beach and collecting 1800 pieces of litter on one day have made these threats very real. I have also been lucky enough to witness a turtle coming to lay her eggs on the beach. All of these experiences have been very fun and have encouraged me to look for similar opportunities to protect the environment."
From Rob Marshall

"During my time volunteering here, I’ve done plenty of jobs that are very therapeutic such as weeding pineapples and sorting out the garbage from the beach. Not only is it a great experience, it is very educational to inform others of how important this project is. P.S. It is also a great spot if you are wanting a tan."
From Isaac Allen

"The opportunities given by Osa Turtles are unbelievable and have given me so many unique experiences; I’ve seen two laying turtles, witnessed excavations and relocations and was part of the biggest beach clean-up Playa Preciosa had seen. I’ve loved getting so involved and would definitely come back."
From Jamie Ella Porter

"I have thoroughly enjoyed my time at the Osa Turtles Project, doing labour, helping around the area as well as doing the night patrols. My favourite part of it all is being around the extensive amount of wildlife and knowing that my effort is helping the local area."
From Ben Hernandez

"I have enjoyed volunteering at Osa Turtles and actively helping by going on night patrols. This has shown me the issues being faced by the turtle population in the Osa Peninsula and how we can affect them."
From Hassan Ahmed

"I volunteered at Osa Turtles through World Challenge and spent 5 days and 4 nights helping with data collection, patrolling, litter picking and other jobs around the camp site. The team and I have thoroughly enjoyed our time here and have felt that we have made a real difference through the work we have done. It has been such an eye-opening experience for me, especially doing the beach clean-up. My favourite part of this project was seeing a mother turtle lay her eggs during the first 3am beach walk shift. I recommend everyone to volunteer here and I can guarantee it will be both an inspiring and educational experience."
From Joe 

"This project has opened my eyes to the world of conservation. The patrols quickly become draining, but if you’re in the right place at the right time, they become incredibly rewarding. Working closely with people like Jamie who are so inspirational is great fun. I’ve also really enjoyed cleaning the beach which has been a great way to see first-hand how humans affect the environment and its inhabitants. It also feels great to know that the beach is now roughly 1800 pieces cleaner. I’m definitely more aware of the efforts and importance of conservation. Thank you to everyone involved with Osa Turtles for everything you do and for making the experience here incredible! P.S. The turtles are really beautiful creatures."
From Jasmine Geake, our passionate Volunteer of the Week!

Thank you, World Challenge Bristol, for your valued contributions to Osa Turtles this summer! Keep spreading your love for nature and protecting it!

What Conservation Means to Us

What Conservation Means to Us - The Inspiring Words of 'World Challenge Rugby'

According to the Centre for Biological Diversity, our planet is currently going through its 6th mass extinction of plant and animal species, with the highest number of extinctions since the loss of the dinosaurs millions of years ago. Over 16,000 living species are currently endangered worldwide, with 99% of these being in this position due to human activities.

In a world with so many amazing creatures in danger of extinction, knowing the meaning of the term 'conservation' and how to actually put it into practice is so important... especially among our youngest generations! Our young people are the ones that will have to work the hardest if we are going to conserve the species we still have left!

Luckily for us here on Playa Preciosa, we have seen that there are some environmentally aware and passionate young people with a true understanding for conservation. After a busy summer of World Challenge groups from the UK helping us here to conserve the Osa Turtles, we have finally had time to share some of their inspiring words with you!

"We believe that conservation is a group effort, and that the smallest contributions help to make a significant difference. We think that a sustainable world is of great importance to the future of looking after our planet… this should not only be a joint effort which continues, but also something that works on an international level, using education and knowledge to aid those in less developed countries to also help the future of the environment. Whilst more can be done in developed countries, such as the UK and the USA, we believe that engaged people in such places should use their knowledge and expertise to extend this ethos further across the world, together creating a greater impact in the protection of the planet. Whilst smaller efforts carry significant importance, we think that such extreme measures taken against the sustainability of marine life in recent decades should also be brought to light. The culling of sharks and the entrapment of other sea life for the purposes of leisure and entertainment already poses a great threat to the conservation of marine life specifically, and that is something we feel passionately about."

By Ellen, Beth and Lydia.

"Conservation to us is making the area sustainable for future generations, achieved by protecting habitats and ecosystems. In Costa Rica we have seen recycling, which in the UK we have not fully developed, but which could be developed further by encouraging the charge of plastic carrier bags in shops as this raises awareness and funds to counter the other environmental concerns. Having just left school, we are at an age when we are choosing what to do with our lives. Our time at Osa turtles has been inspirational as it has raised our awareness of the need for sustainability, conservation and the teaching of responsible agricultural practices, whether that be in the small things we do every day, or in the directions our careers take."
Sarah, Esmee, Beth and Nilum.

"For most people, conservation is not about direct intervention, but about the small but significant changes people can make to their daily lives. Back at home we aim to live sustainably by making a number of changes such as using electronic razors rather than disposable plastic ones. Modern developments along these lines include ‘Moon Cups’ as an alternative to disposable female sanitary products. As a country, the UK has begun to charge for the use of plastic carrier bags without the purchase of meat – this is minimising plastic usage and waste. Although this seems insignificant for a 5p charge, it makes people aware of their plastic waste as well as how this could be damaging wildlife and species such as turtles and birds here in Costa Rica. The few days spent here in the Osa Peninsula have inspired and changed our future outlook which we hope will be reflected in the careers we pursue, whether they be in medicine, law, geography or something else!"
Katie, Lucy, Emily, Letty and Ellie.

"Conservation to me is about the sustainability of the planet as a whole. Personally, I believe that rising sea levels are the problem that lay at the heart of conserving our planet. In order to allow for resources to be available for our current generation as well as future generations, a global effort is required to solve a global problem. By protecting the worldwide land masses from dramatic and significant changes in sea level, and preventing the submergence of vulnerable land, this will enable vast ecosystems to be conserved. If more developed, capable countries unite with areas in desperate need of aid and protection, then the impact of sea level rise could be minimised considerably. The key to achieving the goal of minimizing sea level rise is knowledge. If the globe is educated about the possible dreadful implications of this serious problem and every individual made one small step to a cleaner planet, then maybe its conservation could truly be achieved. Maybe if people were made more aware of how quickly our planet is accelerating towards an unsustainable, selfish, consumer-hungry world, who knows what we could all achieve by working holistically!"

Communicate with locals
Open your mind and think past your own generation
Nature reserves and national parks
Saving species from extinction
Energy efficiency
Reducing human impact on the environment
Volunteer direct action
Adapting your lifestyle to be more eco-friendly
Talk openly about local, national and global concerns
Inform others on environmental issues
Only using recyclable materials
Now or never (… but preferably now!)

Megan, Emily, Grace, Olivia and Alice.

Thank you, World Challenge Rugby, for your passionate contributions to the conservation efforts here in Costa Rica! Keep spreading knowledge and passion!

Sunday, 5 February 2017

Osa Turtles and Playa Preciosa

Après 8h le Bus collectivo nous arrivons a Puerto Jimenez où un taxi nous conduit durant 20mn chez Waleska, gérante de maisons typique où Osa Turtles a choisi sa base.

Là nous attend Glenda volontaire passionnée d'écologie et de tortues en particulier.

D'origine Costa Ricaine elle n'a de cerna de distiller son savoir tant sur la faune et la flore qui entoure la domaine que les us et coutume des Ticos.

Notre séjour a été agréable la cuisine CR de Waleska nous ce régalé.

Nos patrouilles nocturnes nous ont réjoui de la découverte de 7 nids de tortues mais nous partons avec le regret de n'avoir pas découvrir aucune tortue pondre ni de naissance. 

Il est une petite partie de CR, nous suggérons un partenaire de réflexion la possibilité de la mobilité par l'expansion du territoire et les difficultés de déplacement.

Un séjour agréable pour les amoureux de la nature conforté par la journée en forêt.

After 8 hours on the public bus, we arrived at Puerto Jimenez, where a 20 minute taxi ride took us to Waleska's property with typical Tico bungalows, where Osa Turtles is based.

Glenda, a volunteer passionate about ecology and turtles in particular, was waiting for us there. As a native Costa Rican (Tica), she shared her extensive knowledge about the fauna and flora that surrounds the area with us, as well as the customs of the Ticos.

Our stay at Playa Preciosa was very nice, and we feasted on Waleska's Tican cuisine.

We were delighted with the night patrols where we found 7 turtle nests, although we unfortunately did not see any births or turtles laying eggs.

We recommend this pleasant stay to nature lovers, especially as the accommodation is situated in the forest.

Después de 8h de bus colectivo llegamos a Puerto Jimenez. Un taxi no lleva en casa de Waleska dueña de lodge CR ande Osa Turtle a puesto su base.

Glenda voluntaria apasionada de ecología y tortuga en partícula nos acompaña.
De origen Costa Rica, Glenda nos comunica su pasión, su conocimiento de la fauna, las flores y las costumbres de los Ticos.  Su compañía fue muy agradable y agradásemos mucho la atención que nos a dado.

Nuestra estancia fue puntare por la cocina tica típica de Costa Rica de Waleska.  La patrulla nocturnas nos an divertido de las descubierta de 7 nidos de tortuga pero sialismo con la pena de nos haber visto una tortuga poniendo los huevos o los pequeño nacer.

Es una pequeña parte de CR que hemos descubierto y si podemos sugerir una reflexión socia la posibilidad de movilidad según l'expansion de territorio y las dificultades de movernos.

Unas vacaciones agradables para quien le gusta la naturaleza.

Muchas gracias a Glenda, Waleska, Marvin y Joaquin.

Reviews of Finca Exotica and COTORCO

COTORCO blog posts
When I first came to Carate I was unsure as to what I would be doing to help the sea turtles, however on arrival I was given a presentation that told me what we would be doing and how it would be help. 
I enjoyed the work as it is a mixture of both directly and indirectly helping the turtles. One day we can be helping to raise money for the turtle project, and the next day we can be on the beach looking for turtles that are laying their eggs on the beach. The work was taxing however it gave you a real sense of achievement. It was interesting to learn about the sea turtles and their way of life. I almost instantaneously developed some feeling of ownership for the turtles and I felt as though I really wanted to help protect them. 
Overall I have had a fantastic time helping on the Cotorco Project and I hope the work that I’ve done, no matter how insignificant. 

- S Alti

Bordering the exquisitely bio diverse Corcovado National Park, Carate is home to the ‘Cotorco’ project, a venture emphasizing the sustainable development of local turtle species. 
Though preservation of turtles is paramount to the project’s objectives, it also focuses on encapsulating the local community; allowing each to work simultaneously together. 
Furthermore, the surroundings at the eco-tourist based ‘Finca Exotica’ ensure that any stay will be highlighted by extraordinary plant and animal species.
To have helped in a small way is an honour and I look forward to using COTORCO as a prime case case study of sustainable ecological development in my Geogrpahy lessons back home. 

- Matt Plummer

I have thoroughly enjoyed my time at Cotorco, helping to sustain and stabilize the declining population of endangered sea turtles. I have achieved this through rewarding work, coconut oil making, sign painting, and beach night patrols. 
I also learnt a great deal about sea turtles and the small ways in which we can help save the endangered species, I will pass this information and hope to educate others. 
Phoebe and all the host have been very welcoming and I look forward to hearing news on the project.

- Thomas Beniston

Finca Exotica blog posts

This project was not how I expected. NOT. ONE. BIT. I thought we would be camping in the middle of nowhere and having to cook one-m inute porridge again. Fortunately, that did not happen. The area where we slept had the most amazing view and we were fortunate to wake up to that every morning.  Coconut making was also very enjoyable and it was a lot more difficult than I thought it would be. What I found annoying was that on the night patrols we did not see any turtles. This is why we need more awareness. They are going extinct and had they not have been endangered then maybe this would not have happened. 

- S Alti

When we first arrived, we were all very surprised. We were expecting very basic accommodation, no showers, no food etc. The truth was quite the opposite. I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of my stay at Finca Exotica – everything was clean, staff were overwhelmingly friendly, very passionate about their work, and all the grounds were kept in excellent condition. 
The work we did while we were there included making coconut oils to sell and thereby create an income for the workers, paint signs, and engage in night patrols to see some sea turtles. I can speak for everyone when I say we all had an amazing time doing all these jobs, and as volunteers we honestly felt as if our work benefitted the community. A special mention to London and Phoebe, who made us feel that extra bit more comfortable.

Thank you Finca Exotica!

- Harry Stewart

From the moment I arrived at Finca Exotica, the beautiful views and amazing wildlife was breathtaking. It is a wonderful environment to volunteer in and the work has been really rewarding, knowing it is for a great cause. The local community is very welcoming and our hosts were brilliant. I have really enjoyed my time at the ecolodge would recommend the experience to anyone.

- Dan Hamid

Finca Exotica and COTORCO

My first impression of Finca Exotica and the Cotorco project were biased as it is in the jungle and the variety of creatures and plants give an instant attraction to the area. Although I can confirm after completing the project that my first impressions have stayed with me. It’s not just the scenery, the creatures or the flora, but the satisfaction of directly and indirectly helping to save endangered turtles. I’ve learnt a lot about turtles that I didn’t know before, for example the fact that there are 4 types of turtles, although this could be disputed. From; connecting the coconuts and making coconut from scratch to sell to people in order to enable locals to be paid to help out in the patrols to keep the turtles; painting signs to make people aware of this unfortunate situation to directly patrolling the beach to protect the turtles, it has been a fulfilling experience.

- Jake H

Posts from Maidstone Grammar School, World Challenge Group 3

Hi Guys, having a great time here in Costa Rica! For the last week, we have been helping out the Cortorco Turtle Conservation project on Carate Beach on the Osa Peninsula. I really enjoyed helping the community by making coconut oil and was surprised to see how many processes were involved. The money raised by selling these bottles goes to support the turtles so am really pleased to be able to help!
- Giles Broome-Ogden

Helping out at the COTORCO conservation project these past few days has been a real joy and pleasure. Doing patrols, both morning and evening, exploring the local area and producing some coconut oil has been a great experience and knowing it helps the local people and wildlife makes it all the more enjoyable. The work people like Phoebe and London are doing out here is amazing and I hope it gets continued support for years to come.
- Philip Crisp

Spending a week here in Carate helping out with the Cortorco Turtle Project has been very interesting. Some of the tasks we have been doing include patrolling the beaches, cleaning litter and making coconut oil. The oil can be sold to the local community and the money raised will go towards the project. We are sleeping out in the open with a great view of the ocean. This is a great place to help the community.
- Samuel Bashford

I have had a great time here in Carate helping the cortorco project with beach patrols, litter picking and coconut oil production. We are staying in an incredible location with a great view of the sea and surrounding area. This has been a great experience that I will remember for many years to come. 
- Thomas Young

As part of our project phase we have been helping out the COTORCO project patrolling the beach for turtle tracks and nests; collecting and processing coconuts to make coconut oil; and clearing the beach from litter to protect baby turtles. It was surprising to see how difficult and time consuming it is to make coconut oil. The views are amazing everywhere, but especially where we are sleeping on the yoga platform looking out onto the beach and forest. This project is amazing and I hope it continues to be supported for many for years. 
- Bruce Chivers

My week in Carate has been filled with walks on the beach looking for turtle tracks and nests and also making bottles of coconut oil that can be sold to help fund this amazing project. My favourite part has been making the coconut oil as seeing the end product is very satisfying and it would be a crime not to mention the stunning views from where we are sleeping, this will surely be something I remember for years.
Bailey Kent

We have been helping out at the Cotorco project as part of our World Challenge expedition and it has been one of the best parts of the month. I personally enjoyed making the coconut oil as it was extremely satisfying to see the end product and patrolling the beach for turtles was a pleasure.
- James Doran

The Cotorco project is a great initiative and reinforces the importance of doing small things to make a big difference. Some of the tasks we carried out included beach clean ups, making coconut oil and morning and night patrols to look for turtle activity. Turtles are an underappreciated animal and deserve a lot more attention from those that care about our planet; just like the Cotorco project itself. 
- Morgan Richards

Spending a week with The Cotorco Project here in Carate has really opened my eyes to the seriousness and extent at which the people who work for this conservation help both turtles and the environment as a whole. We had the opportunity to hand-make coconut oil, do night and day patrols of the beach and also, there is nothing more exciting than walking down the beach at the crack of dawn or in the pitch dark in hope of seeing sea turtle tracks or, even better, a sea turtle itself.
- Danny Sharp

What shocked me most about our work here, was the amount of plastic which washed up from the ocean. So many tiny pieces! We need to think about how we dispose of our rubbish, as it is clear to me now how turtles must inadvertently swallow these pieces of plastic all the time.  In addition, making cocoanut oil is such a long process and enabling me to better appreciate the high prices in the shops. 
This is a stunning place and I will never forget it. Thanks Phoebe for having us here.
- Kate Tomes

I came sixteen years ago to Costa Rica and I have been very lucky to return again and to see this unspoilt area and to help a tiny bit to the amazing job the Cotorco project do. It has been a fantastic opportunity and experience and I have enjoyed every part from helping with the production of coconut oil to patrolling the beach at night and in the morning looking for turtles. For me it has been very satisfaying that I was able to help to clean the beach and realized that we take everything for granted and we don’t care if a tiny plastic bit pollates this beautiful part of the country. Thank you Phoebe and London for all the great job you do. An unforgettable experience. 
- Ainhoa Arbizu (School Leader)

My experiences so far at the Cotorco project has really made me realize the real world impacts ofour lifestyle at home, for example the amount of rubbish we found whilst clearing the beach was astounding and it made me realize how simple things like recycling can be very important in saving some of our planets most beautiful and ancient animals. I also found the coconut oil a great way to fund the project in a practical way  which our whole group also enjoyed. 
- Gary Holder

After an enjoyable stay with the Cotorco project, thanks to the great work that both Phoebe and London do, I concluded that this project does an amazing job in the preservation of an unspoilt landscape and its stunning wildlife. With new ideas in the pipeline for greater understanding of wildlife and for raising money in its battle to protect ancient creatures like the Turtles, this project is expanding and I would encourage anyway to volunteer. Making coconut oil is always a fun and productive way in producing finances for the project and definitely a personal highlight of mine. Thank you for allowing us to spend a few days helping and look forward to hearing of future work from Cotorco. 
- Matthew Kerr

Friday, 22 July 2016

World Challengers from Hampshire Collegiate School Reviews of COTORCO

Review 1:  

            The work COTORCO does is amazing; they are purely dedicated to helping the turtles and educating others. Without COTORCO I don’t think, as many turtles would survive. Phoebe, the coordinator is so passionate about the organization and it’s clear in the way she talks about turtles and the organization.
            COTORCO isn’t just about helping the turtles, they educate others about red lights on their torchs and also pay their local workers by making coconut oil made by collecting on the beach and through a whole process which I have had a fun experiencing and making, this you can purchase at Finca Exotica. You can also buy their t-shirts and hats to help promote them and the vital work they do for the turtles.

Erin Evans, Hampshire Collegiate School, Team 2

Review 2:  

We arrived in Carate with 9 World Challengers from Hampshire Collegiate School (Team 2). This was our project phase, working at COTORCO. We weren’t sure what to expect but were happy to learn about sea turtle conservation and contribute to the work Phoebe and her team so and perhaps even see a sea turtle nesting. In 3 days we have:
  • ·     Had a presentation on the hazards sea turtles face.
  • ·         Collected 42 coconuts.
  • ·         Picked up plastic and rubbish from the beach.
  • ·         De-husked, grated and squeezed the coconuts to extract the oil.
  • ·         Made a sign.
  • ·         Ladled and bottled the coconut oil.
  • ·         Tidied the hatchery.
  • ·         Made bamboo meshes to protect the nests.

We also had an amazing tour of the grounds and ate a range of fruits and spices including lemongrass, turmeric and curry leaves.
            We went out last night to try to see a turtle but unfortunately we weren’t lucky. We are keeping our fingers crossed we may see one tonight.
            It has been an amazing insight into what is happening here and it is obvious that they are passionate about working along side the local community.

Pura Vida,
Leah, Mickey and Nick

Review 3:  

     I have really enjoyed my time at Finca Exotica. It is so peaceful here and I love how we are so close to the beach. The people who work here are really lovely and polite, really nice people to talk to. I really enjoyed all the activities we did, especially making coconut oil.

Freya Crompton

Review 4:  

            COTORCO has been an amazing experience and I have loved learning about sea turtles. My favorite thing was making my own coconut oil. I also, found the experience very educational and would love to do it again. I would love to come again and learn more about the turtles.

Save The Turtles!
Gabriella Hebert

Review 5:  

            I have loved visiting COTORCO! It has been such an amazing experience and I have learnt so much in such a little time about sea turtles.  I’ve loved everything from clearing the hatchery to making coconut oil. And would love to do it all again! I will definitely look to do some fundraising of my own for COTORCO when I return home, as I never realized how endangered sea turtles are!
            Thank you for the experience COTORCO! I hope your funds keep improving!
Leila Shaw x

Review 6: 

            I have really enjoyed my time here, especially where we are staying. I have learnt a lot of things about turtles and wildlife, which I didn’t know before, and now I am going to try to support COTORCO as much as I can in the future.


Review 7:  

            This trip has been amazing and where we are staying has made it better. I’ve learnt lots in this small space of time and I would love to learn some more. I loved learning about the turtles and helping them which felt good!


Review 8:  

            My time here has been amazing I have really enjoyed learning about wildlife and most of all helping the turtles. Where we are staying is amazing and I would love to come back and help again one day.


Review 9: 

            Over the three days here, I have enjoyed seeing the different wildlife and culture that I have experienced. I have also enjoyed learning about turtles and I can’t wait to find out more about turtles in the future.


Review 10: 

            I came to COTORCO as a part of my World Challenge expedition. Although I did not fully know what to expect I have really enjoyed my time here. Making coconut oil and cleaning out the hatchery have been great fun! I will really miss everyone here and I will try to continue to help the guys here at COTORCO however I can.

Leo Tongue

Tuesday, 14 June 2016

Costa Rica is the Happiest Country on Earth

Costa Rica ranks 1st on the world happiness index according to a study by the New Economics Foundation (NEF) published on July 4th.  The study measures a country’s ecological efficiency that, the NEF contends, will lead to longer and happier lives for its citizens.  This latest index is based on information collected from 143 countries around the world that together comprise 99% of the world’s population.  According to the report, this means that Costa Rica has the highest level of satisfaction in the world, has the second highest life expectancy in the Americas after Canada and is close to reaching a balance between its consumption and its natural resource capacity.  

Nic Mars, one of the study’s authors who was quoted in an article by the daily La Nacion, claims that Costa Ricans rated their country 8.5 on a scale from 1-10 and rated their life satisfaction as 9.2, the 2nd highest in the study after Iceland.  Overall, Latin America dominates the top slots on the list with 9 out of the top 20 countries from this region, and three in Central America: Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras.  

The 2nd and 3rd placeholders are nearby in the Caribbean: the Dominican Republic and Jamaica.  In an interview for the BBC world news, Asma Abdallah, lead author of the study, affirmed that the index measures ecological efficiency as a way to predict longer and happier lives, so those in 1st place achieve their happiness more efficiently.  According to Abdallah, one example of this is that in most Latin American countries, energy is produced in a much cleaner fashion than say in Europe.  “In the United Kingdom, only 4.5% of electricity is generated from sustainable sources, while in Costa Rica, 99% is,” she pointed out.  Since ecology is key in the study, even though other countries have reached high levels of well-being, they have done so through an inefficient use of natural resources.  The study shows that although satisfaction and life expectancy combined have increased 15% over a 45-year period worldwide, the ecological footprint has grown by 72%.  The three largest countries in the world, China, India and the United States, have seen their positions on the index fall because of their unsustainable development models.  

The latter country placed 114th.  Costa Ricans not only live a little bit longer than their northern counterparts, but also report higher levels of satisfaction with their lives.  Their ecological footprint is one-third as big, according to the NEF study.