By: Ricardo Sánchez (Mapache)

Costa Rica
Posted: August 11, 2021
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Staff Post

Let’s Be Part of the Change!

Costa Rica

Everyone kept working in the rain, not because they had to, but because they liked the way they felt being in the rain and being part of something bigger.

Some people say that the only constant thing in life is change, and I believe they are right!

Many times, change is so subtle we don’t notice it, but it keeps expanding until it becomes a drastic change, even for those who are not part of it.

An example is the number of people concerned about the consequences of our unsustainable lifestyles. The number of people who try to make a positive change in their lives, their families, their communities, and even their own countries, is increasing. Although sometimes people are dispersed throughout the world, there are organizations promoting their gathering and triggering the necessary preparation and motivation to make a positive change together. The SFS Center in Costa Rica is one of these organizations, and I feel very excited to collaborate in the mission of helping young people to achieve a more environmentally, socially, and economically sustainable world.

Summer 2021 Costa Rica´s group in Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve (Ricardo Sánchez is in front row, left).
At the Center for Sustainable Development Studies in Costa Rica, students not only come to learn but also to teach each other. They not only come searching for motivation but also motivating others. Here, the learning process takes place not only in classrooms, but also at organic farms, agroforestry systems, and tropical forests. The students become friends and they test not only their knowledge but also their values. Although I am a new staff member, I quickly realized that the empathy, fellowship, respect, and curiosity I see in the students, are a fundamental part of the whole staff too.

Staff and students working and exploring nature together on campus.

Tirimbina Biological Reserve
This summer course focused on coffee and chocolate production in the tropics. Beyond these topics, I learned some good life lessons. For example, the reason we consume chocolate and coffee is not only because we like their flavor, but because we like the way they make us feel. Although they are not essential food items, they are always present in our daily lives. This summer I saw many students collecting data for their fieldwork, all under the rain, and getting wet… but happy. Everyone kept working in the rain, not because they had to, but because they liked the way they felt being in the rain and being part of something bigger. They felt connected with nature rather than with the screens that kept us going during the COVID lockdown.

As we enjoy the feeling of being in the middle of the forest, and the way we feel in the rain, more than the way we feel staring at screens, we will begin to integrate nature into our daily lives.

The attitude of this group of students is the kind of subtle change that I would like to see happening, and from SFS Costa Rica, I hope to help trigger this subtle change to become a drastic, positive change this world urgently needs.

Students taking data while enjoying the rain at Life Monteverde coffee farm, an example of a sustainable farm producing coffee using native trees as windbreaks.
In the words of Mahatma Gandhi, “Be the change that you wish to see in the world.”

Curious to learn a bit more about the SFS Costa Rica Center? Click here to read about why we’re based there, our environmental research focus, how we connect and support the local community, and even take a tour of the Center.

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