The University of Georgia Costa Rica 2014-2015 Sustainability Report UGA Costa Rica 2014 - 2015 Sustainability Report - Page 7

2014 – 2015 Sustainability Report Welcome In the anthropocene, with human powers of creation and destruction expanding dramatically, the awakening of a broader and deeper sense of shared ethical responsibility must be considered an especially critical component of any strategy for the future wellbeing of people and planet. — Steven Rockefeller I’m often told I have the dream job— director of this beautiful campus in Costa Rica. I have to agree, but that is true because of the people I work with and the community in which we are located. When I am at the UGACR campus and visiting our neighbors in San Luis, I truly feel the essence of ten words within the Earth Charter Preamble: “human development is primarily about being more, not having more.” I am also reminded that “[t]he spirit of human solidarity and kinship with all life is strengthened when we live with reverence for the mystery of being, gratitude for the gift of life, and humility regarding the human place in nature.” In 2010, Anna Claire Davis and Claudia Langford (our first two sustainability interns), Fabricio Camacho (our campus general manager), and I came up with 11 measurable goals we could use to demonstrate UGACR’s sustainability commitment and chart our progress over the coming five years. Now we’re here, five years later. This report describes what we’ve done and how we’ve done in meeting these goals. It’s been a fun exercise, and we hope you enjoy reading about what we’ve been up to, how we’ve both succeeded and failed, and what we’ve learned from both success and failure that help us move forward. As the concept of sustainability becomes more commonplace, and the study of sustainability sciences infiltrates across disciplines within the realm of academia UGACR finds ourselves presented with great opportunities and also many challenges. As an endorser of the Earth Charter, we strongly believe that, as an academic institution and as a business operation, we have an obligation to first internalize and then reflect the Charter’s sixteen principles which offer an integrated people-centered and Earthcentered ethical compass for charting the way forward. It is our long-term goal that the UGACR campus’ physical facilities and operational policies and procedures reflect a deep, fundamental commitment to principles of sustainability. It is also our long-term goal that our staff internalize this same commitment and bring it both to their individual homes and infuse it within our community, San Luis de Monteverde. If the UGACR campus is a bubble within our community, we’re not going to be a sustainable operation. If San Luis becomes a bubble of sustainability within our surrounding region, the Bellbird Biological Corridor, that is not a long-term sustainable situation for UGACR or for the San Luis community. As a center which receives guests from all over the world to study, research, and simply enjoy the social ecology and the natural history of the Monteverde region, UGACR has not simply the opportunity, but the responsibility to practice and reflect a holistic adoption of sustainability principles. In doing so we plant the seeds (or provide fertilizer for seeds already planted) for germination in communities near and far. We must also reach out to other businesses and academic institutions and government agencies and non-governmental organizations to support each other in advancing sustainability goals. Creating such cross-institutional, cross-sectoral support networks is critical for bursting sustainability bubbles and fostering a true societal shift toward a new socioeconomic system which operates with respect and care for the community of life, with ecological integrity, with social and economic justice, and that supports democracy, nonviolence, and peace. Quint Newcomer, PhD Director, UGA Costa Rica 2014 – 2015 Sustainability Report 7