HAVING IT ALL
Talk show host Chris Matthews has a regular section on his show where he asks the panelists of the day "Tell me something I don't know". That question came to mind for me, as I read Thomas Friedman's latest op-ed on how Costa Rica is apparently balancing the conflicting demands of environmentalism and economic growth. He elaborates:
"More than any nation I’ve ever visited, Costa Rica is insisting that economic growth and environmentalism work together. It has created a holistic strategy to think about growth, one that demands that everything gets counted..."
Admirable goal, something along the lines of wishing one could eat all the cheese-burgers one wants and lose weight. But here's where he delivers something I didn't know:
"The process began in the 1990s when Costa Rica, which sits at the intersection of two continents and two oceans, came to fully appreciate its incredible bounty of biodiversity — and that its economic future lay in protecting it. So it did something no country has ever done: It put energy, environment, mines and water all under one minister.
“In Costa Rica, the minister of environment sets the policy for energy, mines, water and natural resources,” explained Carlos M. Rodríguez, who served in that post from 2002 to 2006. In most countries, he noted, “ministers of environment are marginalized.” They are viewed as people who try to lock things away, not as people who create value. Their job is to fight energy ministers who just want to drill for cheap oil.
Certainly an out-of-the box solution, and apparently has been executed on for a while now, as the piece goes on to explain . Definitely something worth knowing at first glance.