A Presidential Visit

Eva and Costa Rican President

It’s not every day that you get to meet with your country’s president, but last week our staff member Eva Salas got to do just that. Carlos Alvarado Quesada, the president of Costa Rica, recently visited Silicon Valley with his team. His goal was to meet with the tech industry, as the country is working to become a technology hub. During his visit, some of the Costa Ricans that live in the area were invited to a meeting to discuss the challenges facing the country. Eva, a Costa Rican native, took the opportunity to speak on behalf of the environment. Costa Rica is regarded as a global leader in conservation, and recently launched an ambitious plan to address climate change by “decarbonizing” its economy to achieve zero carbon emissions by 2050.  Eva shared the following message with the group:

“Thank you, Mr. President, for being here today with us. I am very proud of the government for launching the decarbonization plan. This is a great example to other countries and is inspiring many citizens to act. Besides reducing carbon emissions, it is critical to reduce the impacts of climate change that we are already feeling. Along with the decarbonization plan, the country needs to prioritize adaptation strategies for coastal communities, and there needs to be a commitment to preserve the health and resilience of our ecosystems so they can survive the impact.”

Eva speaking to Costa Rican president

“Costa Rica is a world leader in protecting nature, but it still has pending important goals in the protection of our oceans and water. Two of the biggest issues are shark finning and the trawling fishery. We cannot continue with these unsustainable practices. Instead, the country needs to support local communities and sustainable fishing initiatives, and promote the study and monitoring of fish populations in the oceans and freshwater. Please know that here in Silicon Valley are many people and organizations willing to help with these issues, it is more than a technology hub. We can have a great exchange of ideas and projects”

During the discussion, the president mentioned that one of the biggest issues is the lack of jobs for people in coastal communities. One of his primary concerns is the role of education and how to keep students from leaving school. He encouraged the group to help bring inspiration, and that sometimes Costa Ricans feel that opportunities are out of reach, or are afraid of taking risks. Last year, Eva joined FISHBIO’s Santa Cruz office to help us develop research, conservation, and education efforts in Costa Rica. We are looking forward to exploring future opportunities and helping to learn and create inspiration about Costa Rica’s incredible natural environment.