Junior Blue Warrior Club
AUTHOR: Flavio Güell
PHOTOS: Coline Balfroid
In recent years, Costa Rica has welcomed an increasing number of foreigners seeking to settle in the South Pacific Zone. Cultural diversity resulting from immigration is, without a doubt, a cause for celebration. Yet, on the other hand, many locals have observed the steeply rising market prices, deepening the inequality gap between nationals and foreigners.
In Costa Ballena, the region of Dominical, Uvita, and Ojochal, expatriates come from highly developed countries and arrive with much greater purchasing power than the locals.
Naturally, when demand prices rise, supply adjusts immediately. Consequently, the cost of living in the area has increased for Costa Ricans: rental prices, goods, and services are often designed for foreigners, making it difficult for locals to subsist. In addition, natural resources have been highly affected by all-inclusive resorts, beach hotels, vacation home complexes, and the unsustainable luxury real estate developments that have grown systematically in the region. A recent study has found evidence that rapid and often poorly planned tourism-related coastal growth has occurred at the expense of natural resources.
Now, Costa Rica is a welcoming country that also benefits significantly from tourism (being one of its primary sources of income). How, then, can this inequality be reduced? One option is giving back. Innoceana has found a way to create a bridge between the community’s people, their care for nature, and the altruism of expatriates. Instead of focusing on just taking (as some do), tourists and residents alike can contribute to the community and nature. The Junior Blue Warrior Club (held at Innoceana’s Marine Conservation & Education Center in Ojochal) is a program that sparks a love for the ocean in the children of the community.
During workshops, young students learn how to reduce their carbon footprint, participate in monthly field trips to enjoy nature first-hand, better understand animals and how to protect them, and realize the relevance of their actions in mitigating climate change. Dynamically, lessons allow them to understand the dangers of pollution and provide them with ideas to become marine conservationists from an early age.
Supporting environmental education and awareness is one of the most beautiful and lasting ways to show gratitude for a nation’s hospitality. The marine conservation organization has enabled the possibility of enrolling and/or sponsoring a child from the community that wants to participate but doesn’t have the resources to do so. This way, sponsors can give back to the community by infusing love for nature in younger generations and allowing them to learn about the wonders of life beneath the waves. The monthly investment is only $50, and the interactive sessions are held three days a month for each open schedule.
Enroll a child in the Junior Blue Warrior Club or sponsor the education of a local member.
NOTE OF THE EDITOR: For Ballena Tales, it is an honor to be part of the collaborators of the organization
Free Digital Magazine in Costa Rica #89
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