Permaculture Design and Environmental Studies at UTSI, Costa Rica
I am currently working on a project in the Southwest coast of Costa Rica in the town of Uvita just North of the Osa Peninsula. This project is called the Uvita Tropical Studies Institute. The website can be found at www.utsi.org. The Osa Peninsula region is an environmental gem. It is one of (if not the most) biologically diverse regions on planet Earth. This means that there can be found here more animal and plant species than anywhere else on the planet (as well as other forms of life such as bacteria, corals, crustaceans, etc.) This fact makes this place very interesting, beautiful, and dangerous at the same time. Some of these species are very "cute", such as the capuchin monkeys, and others very deadly, such as the eyelash pit viper snakes. I do not say this to discourage or scare anyone, it is just a fact of life here that is very important for people to understand before they ever consider going to a place such as this.
That being said, this is a place of very rare natural beauty which cannot be found anywhere else on Earth that is of utmost importance to the overall environment and ecosystems of the entire planet, and so therefore it is extremely important to protect it. However, because of the exquisite natural beauty, this region is also very appealing for development. So the question becomes: how can humans develop sustainably within such a fragile ecosystem of so many species such as in the Osa region of Costa Rica? Many of the local residents that live here, as well as environmentalists world-wide, do not want to see any more development in this region; however, many also do. I believe that the answer lies in developing around what is called "Permaculture Design." Permaculture Design is a method of growing and producing food with the natural contours and habitat of the land, while using organic farming techniques such as seasonal crop rotation, organic pest control, and rainwater collection.
I believe that if Permaculture Design comes first and foremost in the development planning process, that this would in turn eliminate the vast majority of the harmful effects that development has on the environment. In this way, the food for a community would be produced locally with minimal negative effects on the environment (especially due to carbon emmissions from food transportation and use of synthetic pesticides and fertilizers running off into local waterways), while structures/infrastructure would have to be designed around the permaculture food system, with the natural contours of the land, minimizing the grading of the land and "moving of mountains" in order to erect structures/infrastructure which is also almost always extrememly harmful to the local environment and ecosystems.
Furthermore, it is extremely important for one to understand the different species in the habitat that one is developing in. The Uvita Tropical Studies Institute is not only a classroom for permaculture design and organic farming, but also for studies in the environment, ecology, botany, and biology. These are all studies which must take place on a parcel of land to be developed before it is developed, especially to determine if there is endangered species that must be protected, removed, and/or relocated. Here you can find many hiking trails through natural habitat wilderness for these types of studies.
Through the learning of permaculture design, organic farming, and the environment, it is the hopes of the Uvita Tropical Studies Institute to bring about positive change in the field of development and urban design and planning so that we humans can all feel better about living more in tune with the Earth and all of the life-forms on it, rather than destroying the Earth and it's life-forms for human development ends. I feel that this project is compatible with the vision of the Congress for the New Urbanism for this reason. After all, ag is the new golf, right?
P.S.- This Blog was written with the use of solar generated electricity and WiFi internet. Living 100% off-the-grid.
Check out some pics of what I'm currently growing, cooking, and making on this permaculture farm in Costa Rica-
Also check out a few videos that I made on the farm and in Uvita, Costa Rica....
Also see my Blog titled Wouldn't It Be Neat If This Golf Course Was Permaculture Design Instead: Windsor, FL vs. Serenbe, GA by clicking Dylan's Blog below.
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