oscarariasThe forward-thinking president of Costa Rica Oscar Arias Sanchez has launched an international conservation effort that could help save 4% of the world’s biodiversity. Called the Peace With Nature Initiative, President Arias’s plan continues the visionary environmentalism Costa Rica began two decades ago.

Working with Dr. Dan Janzen, University of Pennsylvania biologist, in the 1990s the Costa Rican government began buying up private land to be permanently preserved. Today Costa Rica has put one-fourth of all the country’s land into national parks and green space. Dr. Janzen spearheaded the creation of the Area de Conservaction Guanacaste in northwestern Costa Rica rich with rain forests and wildlife. Those 163-000 hectares of preserved land support 4% of the Earth’s biodiversity.

The cost to ensure the survival of this vital biodiversity in the ACG is $500 million, meaning $1,000 can save one species of life. Peace With Nature will both acquire more sensitive lands in Costa Rica, and it will create an organization to permanently restore and manage the preserved land. Peter Wege and The Wege Foundation have become early supporters contributing $2 million.

President Arias said this when he launched the Peace With Nature Initiative:
To survive in the 21st Century, we need different ethics than in the past, need
to recognize our interdependency, understand that we are all responsible for
each other.

An earlier American conservationist and crusader for national parks said the same thing a century ago. John Muir wrote, “When you tug on one thing in nature, you find it is connected to everything else.”