John Quam Editor in Chief Howler Magazine Costa Rica

Costa Rica has built its reputation as a green country with sustainable tourism. This is achieved with a balanced impact on the environment, society and the economy. All three are closely interconnected with each other and tied to sustainable tourism. I belonged to a kids’ group when growing up. One of our pledges was to honor nature and walk softly in the woods. The relevance of this is timeless. Not disturbing the natural balance is what we should always strive to achieve.

Sustainable tourism is the result. Everything in our surroundings is vitally important to sustain a healthy environment — not only for the sake of creatures and plants, but for us as human beings to live happy and healthy lives. While enjoying Costa Rica’s natural wonders and beauty, keep in mind that the impact on our surroundings is economical as well as physical. For the communities that thrive in the area, a positive impact can cause growth, employment and education. Conversely, the community can be negatively affected by unnecessary expenditures for cleanup or restoration projects arising from misuse.

Tourism is at the top of Costa Rica’s economy. As we enjoy the quality of life here, be mindful of wasting water, electricity, and fuels, and of where trash is placed to be disposed of properly. The September/October 2016 issue of Howler featured an article on Max Machum, a young person in Playa Grande who stepped up and designed a campaign for not using plastic straws. I am delighted whenever a restaurant or bar serves my drink with a bamboo straw instead of the standard plastic one. Our oceans are full of plastic. This is greatly affecting the biology of our oceans, and also affects us. It causes distress for animals, and is making them and our oceans sick. Of course, that makes us sick too. “I have talked with so many people who are passionate about this cause.”

We have engaged with the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society to educate and shine a light on relevant issues that must be exposed. Starting in this issue, the organization will contribute Howler articles on a regular basis. I have talked with so many people who are passionate about this cause. And thank God for people like Captain Paul Watson, and supporters like philanthropist John Paul Dejoria and many others. They are doing a big part to make a difference and make all of our lives and the future better for those to come.

I hope you will not only enjoy reading about the Sea Shepherd in this issue of Howler, but also answer the call to action and make your voices heard. In my telephone interview with John Paul DeJoria, he urged us all to step up and write to the agencies and embassies that are condoning the practices outlined in the article. Please speak up and let them know this is unacceptable. Keep in mind, no matter how disgusted you are with what’s been happening, it’s very important to be kind — yet forceful — when writing. Every voice counts.

Please email me directly with your letters so we can publish them. You can help us create a movement here in Costa Rica to protect what we have. We at the Howler see the importance of using our media to make change that is positive. We have a social responsibility to all.