Costa Rica achieved 99 percent renewable electricity generation in 2015

For 285 days in 2015, Costa Rica managed to power its grid on 100 percent renewable sources, making it one of a few countries in the world to eschew fossil fuels in energy generation.

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Three-quarters of Costa Rica's electricity is generated by hydroelectric plants, taking advantage of the country's abundant river system and heavy tropical rainfalls. The rest comes from geothermal, wind, biomass and solar sources. 

Costa Rica has achieved 99 percent renewable energy use this year, showing the rest of the world that it’s truly possible to use sustainable and readily available energy sources if they make a commitment to living an on-going, sustainable way of being.

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The Costa Rican Electricity Institute (ICE) said that even though 2015 was a very dry year, Costa Rica was still ahead of its renewable energy targets and aims of becoming carbon neutral by 2021.  It’s aim for the future is not only to hit 100% renewable energy but to clean up energy consumption in general, such as moving the transportation sector away from fossil fuels and becoming less dependent on hydropower. It could do this by adding more geothermal energy plants and harnessing energy from other sources.

Multi-species 3-D ocean farms

In recent years, scientists and entrepreneurs have been working on ways to create a more sustainable food system. GreenWave, on Long Island, has accomplished that by setting up "multi-species 3-D ocean farms" growing seaweed, scallops, mussels, clams, and oysters. 

The vertical seaweed gardens are designed to provide an alternative for communities that can no longer rely on fishing.  Seaweed farms have the capacity to grow huge amounts of nutrient-rich food, and oysters can act as an efficient carbon and nitrogen sink.

GreenWave is a winner of the prestigious Buckminster Fuller Institute prize for the project “world’s first multi-species 3-D ocean farm,” a vertical underwater garden that aims “to restore ocean ecosystems and create jobs in coastal communities by transforming fishers into restorative ocean farmers. The sustainable underwater farms may offer a new source of income for fishermen who can no longer rely on fishing. Read More>

A drawing of Greenwave’s 3D Ocean Farming system / Greenwave

A drawing of Greenwave’s 3D Ocean Farming system / Greenwave

Instead of monolithic factory fish farms, GreenWave see the oceans as the home of small-scale farms where complementary species are cultivated to provide food and fuel -- and to clean up the environment and fight climate change. Smith believes seaweed is a viable alternative because it is healthy and sustainable. Instead of harming the ocean, seaweed farms actually help to pull pollution out of the water. In short, seaweed gardens can actually remove carbon dioxide and nitrogen from the ocean.

Governed by an ethic of sustainability, they are re-imagining our oceans with the hope of saving us from the grip of the ever-escalating climate, energy, and food crises.

Trophic cascades are powerful indirect interactions that can control entire ecosystems.

In the early 1900s, when wolves roamed Yellowstone, young trees such as aspen and willow were abundant. In 30 years, after wolves were hunted out, the forest stopped regenerating. Reintroducing wolves into Yellowstone National Park after nearly 70 years of absence has been controversial. However, the effects have been utterly transformative to the Yellowstone ecosystem.

A trophic cascade recently has been reported among wolves, elk, and aspen on the northern winter range of Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, USA.

What is a trophic cascade and how exactly do wolves change rivers?  What happens when a species that has been hunted to extinction is introduced to its happy hunting grounds after 70 years? Find out in this beautiful little film.

Could the impact of a species on an entire ecosystem  leads us to think differently about sustainable lines for solving the global climate crisis?