Reducing our ecological footprint . . .
Campanario’s basic low-impact philosophy carries over when visiting other parts of Costa Rica, should the program itinerary include other locations. Large and “touristy” locations are avoided. Instead participants visit small scale, environmentally conscious family and community projects and businesses. Some of the locations are self-sufficient and/or organic farms which operate projects with biodigesters, composting, vermiculture and organic fertilizer production, organic agriculture and livestodk production, aquaculture, soil conservation, and more.
In Campanario itself, participants live in a location requiring a change of habit for most and calling for a daily awareness of our ecologcal footprint. Given the fact that Campanario is off-the-grid in most every way: no roads, no national system of electricity or water service, no mail delivery or trash pick-up, no internet service, no washing machines, TVs or air conditioners, etc. etc., living at Campanario is generally a life style change for most. We generally adapt to the environment rather than adapting the environment to suit us.
Click here to read more under Hidden Curriculum.
Several years ago, Campanario developed a 1-day field trip, principally for San Jose residents, centering on solid waste, starting with what happens when trash is thrown “away”, for which we visit the San Jose land fill. Just this first stop on the field trip has caused interesting results in some participants! The trip continues on to visit recycling centers to see how trash is handled when not thrown “away”, and the trip finishes with visits to businesses demonstrating products from recycled materials. This is an eye-opening one-day trip.
With a program centered around Low-Impact Living, discussions arise around the topics of GDP vs a Gross National Happiness Index, full cost pricing, steady state economy, and “development” – What is it? How much is needed, if at all? While Campanario does not pretend to have the answers to these questions, the goal of the program is to get participants to question where they, and the world, are headed.
Some of the places we have visited with student groups are:
Finca La Esperanza
This is a family run farm, almost wholly self-sufficient in its agricultural endeavours, and a model for other farmers in the area and in the country. We are treated to home grown, organically produced meals, as well as a tour through their farm and activities.
La Gran Vista Agroecological Farm
This is another family-run farm whose mission is to present a self-sufficient model of a farm that demonstrates the kindness and efficiency of sustainable ecological agriculture. The farm also accepts volunteers and rents rooms.
Las Vueltas Lodge
This is a family-run lodge for students in a 300 acre private forest reserve in the Talamanca range. The project is dedicated to “walking lightly” and thus utilizes small sustainable systems and explores earth friendly methods for living.
Longo-Mai is an agricultural cooperative dedicated to, originally, helping refugees, and now to living and working together in a self-sustaining community. In Longo-Mai we stay with families and participate in many of their daily activities.
This relatively new business was founded by an industrial engineer from a large company wanting to create a product that was environmentally friendly. She and her cottage industry now have a beautiful product line of notebooks, stationery, bags, and other papers.
Producol produces plastic “wood” from 100% recycled materials. The products include “lumber” in a variety of sizes and pre-made benches, picnic tables, playgrounds, trash cans and more.
Note: Campanario reserves the right to adjust or cancel portions of any itinerary due to bad
weather or dangerous sea conditions.