In order to get Costa Ricans to achieve a significant reduction in their carbon emissions, two programs were presented last Thursday which seek to compensate for the environmental damages caused by these emissions.

On of these programs is Think Blue, a project sponsored by Volkswagen and which directly involves the owners of these vehicles.

Each owner will make a contribution between $170 – $200 for each twenty thousand miles driven or for every year of use of their vehicles.

These contributions will in turn help set in motion the second program, launched by the Neotropica Foundation. This is the Blue Carbon Community.

The goal of both projects is to reforest mangrove areas located in the South Pacific (Golfo Dulce – Serpe) and the Central and North Pacific (Golfo de Nicoya – Puntarenas).

Neotropica program also involves local communities by engaging residents in the process of tree planting.

Blue carbon is stored in coastal and marine ecosystem holding vegetation such as plankton, seagrass, bacteria, mangroves and others.

“Mangroves have a high carbon sequestration because of their vegetation and mud. Recent studies have shown that mangroves sequester five times more carbon than tropical forests,” said Bernardo Aguilar, Executive Director of Neotropica.

“Here we think of a blue horizon, in a blue sky, and in blue seas too. We have a serious problem in the deep ocean, since there is no regulation there. Taking these steps requires us to be bold, but we can do it,” said Rene Castro, Minister of Environment and Energy.