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Our Strategy Towards Greener Business

Pura Vida! eh? is green!

By no means are we green professionals, however we are lovers of the biodiversity in Costa Rica and we are dedicated to working hard to maintain it. As a result, Pura Vida! eh? has developed its own “Strategy Towards Greener Business”. Throughout the operation of our business, we aim to:


Avoid the overuse of electricity

Pura Vida! eh? is an online company. In being so, we have been able to reduce electricity use by not having an office. Common office machinery including lighting, computers, fax machines, and telephones, as well as other machines such as coffee makers, televisions, and refrigerators eat up significant amounts of electricity daily. Pura Vida! eh? stems from two laptops and a few mobile devices in order to cut electricity waste; in addition, we have undertaken numerous strategies related to the use of our devices to further save electricity, such as using energy-efficient laptop settings, using sleep-settings to avoid continual use throughout the day, turning the devices off every night, and disabling screensavers that waste electricity.


Reduce paper waste

Did you know that the average Canadian office worker prints approximately 30 pages of paper per day? Pura Vida! eh? aims to reduce paper waste by corresponding with tourists and tour operating companies electronically. Furthermore, company records and important documents are stored electronically in files on our laptop and desktop computers to eliminate the need for hard copies of all receipts. We try to avoid using paper at all costs, which is why we make our tour, hotel, vehicle rental, and transportation service confirmation vouchers (as well as our freebie vouchers) available online and accessible via laptops, tablets, and smartphones avoiding the need for travellers to print a paper copy for their trip (unless they would prefer to have to have one throughout their travels). Lastly, since Pura Vida! eh? is an online company, the majority of our marketing strategies are carried out online, preventing the need for large printed banners and/or colourful brochures – both of which create unnecessary paper waste.


Support environmentally friendly companies

A large part of our work in finding the best Costa Rica has to offer has to do with researching tour/service companies and hotels to ensure that their ‘green goals’ are similar to our own. We also realize that when travellers choose Pura Vida! eh? they place their trust in us. To our travelling clientele who care as genuinely and passionately about the environment as we do, we hope to represent your wants and needs well as we search for companies around the country you would be proud to support.


Minimize destruction and harm to Costa Rica’s land and rivers

It is safe to assume that if tours/services and hotels around Costa Rica were developed without an intention to protect the country’s land and rivers then we certainly would not be in this business. Fortunately, Costa Rica is dedicated to preserving it’s natural beauty and as a result, it is easy for us to support many of its activities. Not only have the majority of tours/services been designed to minimize destruction and harm, but most attempt to educate tourists as to ways of honouring such designs. Still, while eco-friendly tours/services are common in Costa Rica, we make sure those which we support are among the best in the country.


Pura Vida! eh? supports vegetarianism and veganism for the positive impact they have on our animals and our environment

As proud vegetarians, the Pura Vida! eh? management team is dedicated to helping vegetarian and vegan travellers learn of various opportunities to accommodate their diet choices while travelling throughout Costa Rica. Please see our related blog post: Vegetarian And Vegan Dining In Costa Rica for more information.

Interested in becoming a vegetarian and/or vegan? It is much easier than you think and makes a world of difference to our planet. Visit the following link for more information: http://features.peta.org/VegetarianStarterKit/

For further reading, the below article (Vegetarianism and the Environment) is provided by PETA.

Vegetarianism and the Environment (Article)

Raising animals for food requires massive amounts of land, food, energy, and water. The byproducts of animal agriculture pollute our air and waterways. By shunning animal products, vegetarians are de facto environmentalists.

Using up resources

As the world’s appetite for meat increases, countries across the globe are bulldozing huge swaths of land to make more room for animals as well as crops to feed them. From tropical rain forests in Brazil to ancient pine forests in China, entire ecosystems are being destroyed to fuel humans addiction to meat. According to scientists at the Smithsonian Institution, seven football fields’ worth of land is bulldozed every minute to create more room for farmed animals and the crops that feed them.(1) Of all the agricultural land in the U.S., 80 percent is used to raise animals for food and grow grain to feed them – that’s almost half the total land mass of the lower 48 states.(2) In the finishing phase alone, in which pigs grow from 100 pounds to 240 pounds, each hog consumes more than 500 pounds of grain, corn, and soybeans; this means that across the U.S., pigs eat tens of millions of tons of feed every year.(3) Chickens, pigs, cattle, and other animals raised for food are the primary consumers of water in the U.S.: a single pig consumes 21 gallons of drinking water per day, while a cow on a dairy farm drinks as much as 50 gallons daily.(4,5) It takes more than 2,400 gallons of water to produce 1 pound of cow flesh, whereas it takes about 180 gallons of water to make 1 pound of whole wheat flour.(6)

Polluting the air

Carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide together cause the vast majority of global warming. Producing a little more than 2 pounds of beef causes more greenhouse-gas emissions than driving a car for three hours and uses up more energy than leaving your house lights on for the same period of time.(7) According to the United Nations, a global shift toward a vegan diet is one of the steps necessary to combat the worst effects of climate change.(8) Factory farms also produce massive amounts of dust and other contaminates that pollute the air. A study in Texas found that animal feedlots in that state produce more than 7,000 tons of particulate dust every year and that the dust contains biologically active organisms such as bacteria, mold, and fungi from the feces and the feed.(9) And when the cesspools holding tons of urine and feces get full, factory farms may circumvent water pollution limits by spraying liquid manure into the air, creating mists that are carried away by the wind and inhaled by nearby residents.(10) According to a report by the California State Senate, Studies have shown that [animal waste] lagoons emit toxic airborne chemicals that can cause inflammatory, immune, and neurochemical problems in humans.(11) The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reports that roughly 80 percent of ammonia emissions in the U.S. come from animal waste.(12) A California study found that a single dairy cow emits 19.3 pounds of volatile organic compounds per year, making dairies the largest source of the smog-making gas, surpassing trucks and passenger cars.(13)

Polluting the water

Each day, factory farms produce billions of pounds of manure, which ends up in lakes, rivers, and drinking water. Farmed animals produce about 130 times as much excrement as does the entire human population of the United States 87,000 pounds of waste per second!(14,15) The 3 trillion pounds of waste produced by factory-farmed animals each year are usually used to fertilize crops, and they subsequently end up running off into waterwaysalong with the drugs and bacteria that they contain.(16) Many tons of waste end up in giant pits in the ground or on crops, polluting the air and groundwater. According to the EPA, agricultural runoff is the number one source of pollution in our waterways.(17) It doesnt stop there. Streams and rivers carry excrement from factory farms to the Mississippi River, which then deposits the waste in the Gulf of Mexico. The nitrogen from animal fecesand from fertilizer, which is primarily used to grow crops for farmed animals causes algae populations to skyrocket, leaving little oxygen for other life forms. A 2006 report by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration found that the Gulf of Mexico’s dead zonean area in which virtually all the sea animals and plants have died is now half the size of Maryland.(18) In 2006, a separate study by Princeton University found that a shift away from meat production as well as Americans adoption of vegetarian dietswould dramatically reduce the amount of nitrogen in the Gulf to levels that would make the dead zone small or non-existent.(19)

References
1) Smithsonian Institution, Smithsonian Researchers Show Amazonian Deforestation Accelerating, Science Daily 15 Jan. 2002.
2) Marlow Vesterby and Kenneth S. Krupa, Major Uses of Land in the United States, 1997, Statistical Bulletin No. 973, U.S. Department of Agriculture, 1997.
3) John Carlson, Evaluation of Corn Processing By-Products in Swine Diets, Western Illinois University, 3 Apr. 1996.
4) Theo van Kempen, Whole Farm Water Use, North Carolina State University Swine Extension, Jul. 2003.
5) Rick Grant, Water Quality and Requirements for Dairy Cattle, NebGuide, Cooperative Extension, Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, 1996.
6) Marcia Kreith, Water Inputs in California Food Production, Water Education Foundation 27 Sept. 1991.
7) Daniele Fanelli, Meat Is Murder on the Environment, New Scientist 18 Jul. 2007.
8) International Panel for Sustainable Resource Management, “Assessing the Environmental Impacts of Consumption and Production,” United Nations Environment Programme 2010.
9) Consumers Union SWRO, Animal Factories: Pollution and Health Threats to Rural Texas, May 2000.
10) Jennifer Lee, Neighbors of Vast Hog Farms Say Foul Air Endangers Their Health, The New York Times 11 May 2003.
11) Kip Wiley et al., Confined Animal Facilities in California, California State Senate, Nov. 2004.
12) State of North Carolina, Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Review of Emission Factors and Methodologies to Estimate Ammonia Emissions From Animal Waste Handling, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Apr. 2002.
13) Jennifer M. Fitzenberger, Dairies Gear Up for Fight Over Air, Fresno Bee 2 Aug. 2005.
14) Ed Ayres, Will We Still Eat Meat? Time 8 Nov. 1999.
15) U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry, Animal Waste Pollution in America: An Emerging National Problem, Dec. 1997.
16) Amy Ellis Nutt, In Soil, Water, Food, Air, Star-Ledger 8 Dec. 2003.
17) U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry.
18) NOAA Forecasts Larger Than Normal Dead Zone for Gulf This Summer, NOAA News Online, 24 Jul. 2006.
19) Simon D. Donner, Surf or Turf: A Shift From Feed to Food Cultivation Could Reduce Nutrient Flux to the Gulf of Mexico, Global Environmental Change 17 (2007): 105-13.



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