In the context of the latest special edition of the show « Pepito Live » in Costa Rica, Claudio and Pepito spoke with musician turned activist Sylvain Demercastel about the controversial issue of the current real estate boom in Costa Rica.
Sylvain Demercastel settled in Costa Rica, in the Playa Negra area, in 2005. He was struck by the rapid acceleration of real estate investments and the significant destruction of the surrounding flora and fauna. Sensitized to forest protection along with musician friends, they decided to form a non-profit organization whose main objective is the protection of forests in Costa Rica.
Their mission includes, among other things, funding reforestation operations in collaboration with environmental organizations. They also work on acquiring land to create natural sanctuaries. Financing options are also possible in exchange for a 90% guarantee of nature protection on the properties in question.
Sylvain Demercastel points out that in the 1950s, 60s, and 70s, Costa Rica had deforested extensively and had only 20% of forested land left. Today, we have risen to around 50%, thanks to people who bought vast lands and allowed nature to reclaim its rights.
Yes, we are all responsible for the phenomenon, but we can have an intelligent impact by leaving some land in its wild state rather than planting palm trees for aesthetic reasons. Everyone should reflect on their reason for coming to Costa Rica. Costa Rica is a suitable place to try to preserve nature in a respectful way, says Sylvain Demercastel.
With 6% of the world’s biodiversity, Costa Rica has great diversity, but let’s not be fooled, the number of animals per species is declining. Just because we regularly see certain animals doesn’t mean they are not threatened, says Sylvain Demercastel. For example, a troop of monkeys should normally consist of about 30 or 40 animals, but currently, they are often only 8 or 10.
This decline is due to a decrease in food sources, noise, deforestation, electrocutions, and sometimes the use of chemicals, all factors contributing to their population reduction.
Certainly, Costa Rica has a wealth of biodiversity. It is possible to allow wildlife to continue to exist despite human development projects. But this wealth is fragile, as Sylvain Demercastel reminds us. We must be aware of this and take intelligent actions.
It all depends on the number of people occupying the territory, Sylvain Demercastel points out. The more individuals there are in an area, the less space there will be for nature and animals, adds the musician.
According to Claude Laferrière, groups like Sylvain Demercastel’s can help the population. He is tired of commentators who only criticize without offering solutions. He applauds the initiatives of the « Savage Lands » group. The project focuses on raising awareness and proposing practical solutions, Claude Laferrière applauds.
We cannot stop people from wanting to live in Costa Rica and buy land here. We cannot stop developers from doing their business either.
The question we must ask ourselves is this: can we adopt smarter rules? Can we make people understand that protecting nature is important?
With our organization, we buy land at a fairly high price that was intended for real estate development, and our mission is to limit real estate and economic spaces to make them more preservation-focused. Projects that are truly in harmony with nature need to be approved, says Sylvain Demercastel.
Pepito asked the guest what he thinks about the new 10-story projects emerging in Costa Rica right now. He replied that, technically, from an ecological standpoint, it is a better option, especially if the number of people is limited. However, he also questions the continuation of such projects. Residents of these buildings are sometimes less in contact with nature, which can be concerning.
In the chat section of the Facebook and YouTube platforms where Pepito Live broadcasts, Manon Barbe made the following comment: « Finding a balance is difficult. However, every property owner wants customers, and every traveler wants to visit what is supposed to be paradise, but it is important for investors and customers to question their own expectations. Let’s not forget that even these large projects that we may not like employ families. »
Furthermore, Sylvain Demercastel emphasizes that those considering buying properties or launching business projects in Costa Rica should also consider the relationship they need to establish with Costa Ricans so that they can actively participate in development and find an economic balance while preserving nature.
The responsibility to protect the forests must also stem from the willingness of Costa Ricans to promote this vision and exert pressure on local politicians, as they hold central decision-making power and are key actors for change, » says Claude Laferrière.
It is necessary to implement programs that aim to involve the population in sustainable initiatives, encompassing economic development, the preservation of Costa Rican heritage, and energy-related issues, for example.
CLICK ON THIS LINK TO KNOW MORE AND SUPPORT SAVAGE LANDS AND PROTECT COSTA RICA’S NATURE
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