The 2012 Environmental Performance Index, Why Costa Rica Ranks 5th and the United States Ranks 49th

We hear it all the time, “Go green!” But how “green” are we really?  Yale University’s, Environmental Performance Index (EPI), ranks countries on their environmental performance based on data from 22 indicators in hopes to aid in developing policies to improve sustainability and public health.  Where does the United States rank on the 2012 EPI? 49th! What saddened me the most about this was that I had no idea that so many other places were so environmentally conscious; but why are we ranked so low?

A great country to make a comparison with is the “happy and green” Costa Rica; ranked 5th on the 2012 EPI and currently has a goal to be carbon neutral by 2021.  So why is Costa Rica so “green”? I recently had the opportunity to attend Envision Music, Art and Sacred Movement Festival in Costa Rica:

“Envision a mix of conscious people from around the globe gathered to share an elevated experience of culture, spirit and community in stunning raw nature! Join us in this magical place where time slows down and the outside world drops away… come dance, play, celebrate, love, learn, teach, co-create, co-inspire and transform our consciousness and our world.” (

Promotional Video Envision: 

At Envision I had the opportunity to participate in permaculture and eco-educational workshops, as well as surround myself with fellow environmentally conscious individuals.  Not only did I learn from professionals of consciousness and sustainability, but I also learned from Costa Rican citizens why it is that they are so successful in remaining environmentally friendly.  A local in Costa Rica explained to me, “We actually care about the environment around us, our environment is family to us, just as a fellow person is, and we must take care of our family.”

I began to think about…do we think of our environment as family? Absolutely not. We complain constantly about the world around us, but what are we doing to help improve upon it? If we begin to think of our surrounding environment even as a close friend if not a family member we can begin to improve upon our future ecosystem and public health.

Baby Steps…

-Ashira Alpren


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