Greg is a Phd student researching neoliberalism, sustainable development, and women's land-use decisions in Costa Rica. He sent us this update from the field earlier this week.
I've now been in and around the Osa Peninsula in Costa Rica for about a month now with three more weeks to go, based in the town of Puerto Jimenez. Each morning I'm awakened by a combination of howler monkeys, a resident rooster, and the beaming tropical morning sun. This area is home to one of the largest contiguous stands of primary tropical rainforest in the country, which I have wandered into several times and had many many animal sightings. Yet, it took the neighbor's pit bull here in town to log my first animal attack on this trip. No serious damage though. Otherwise, I'm doing lots of informal interviews and a few fully structured ones, resulting in lots of good contacts. I was even invited, then uninvited due to cost issues, to a beach wedding.
So far, I've found that the region's economy seems to be based, in descending order, on 1) tourism 2) African oil palm plantations & processing 3) Rice plantations 3) Payment for environmental services (government paying land owners not to cut down their trees) 4) government and/or NGO jobs and 5) gold mining (almost entirely illegal)
Can't wait to have some Home Slice pizza on South Congress :) See you all soon & have a great 2nd half of the summer !