During this season of
unchecked consumerism giving, many Kickstarter accounts, mine included, have been busy working overtime. Helping to bring innovative new products — brainy light bulbs, tabletop aquaponic gardens, compostable water filters, and on and on — to market via crowdfunding is great and all, but there are plenty of projects out there worthy of backing even if they don’t result in the eventual delivery of a nifty, newfangled invention. The Nosara Recycling Center in Costa Rica is one of them.
This past summer, a team of students from the New York Institute of Technology's School of Architecture and Design led by architect/professor Tobias Holler took to Kickstarter to raise funds for a most worthwhile design/build project: a recycling and community education center to service the beautiful but trash-plagued city of Nosara and surrounding communities. Scratch that. It’s not just Nosara with a serious solid waste problem. Rather, it’s the entire country of Costa Rica.
Costa Rica, a country more commonly known for biodiversity, national parks, and a thriving eco-tourism sector, has a severe municipal solid waste management (MSWM) problem; lacking appropriate infrastructure and policies, over sixty percent of the 2,400 tons of waste produced daily are put into open, unregulated dumps and less than ten percent gets recycled. 250 tons daily are dumped illegally into rivers and tropical forests, polluting ground water, threatening the health of local communities and destroying a fragile ecosystem, whose well-being is of critical importance not only locally but to the planet.
Since breaking ground on the Nosara Recycling Center this summer, local workers have continued on with the project. However, “without help from the student volunteers, construction is progressing at a much slower pace. In order not to loose the momentum of this important community project it is crucial that we go back and help finish the building, and the documentary film about it!”
This is where the second Kickstarter campaign comes in. Having already reached an initial bare minimum goal of $9,000, the NYIT team is now aiming to raise a total of $12,000 by this Thursday, Dec. 13 at 9 pm. The additional $3,000 will go towards team members who want to return to Nosara this January but can’t afford to pay for travel expenses on their own.
The additional funds will also help with ground transportation in Costa Rica and film equipment that will allow de Vos continue shooting and finish her documentary, a film that aims to “educate a large audience not only about this important initiative, but more generally about issues of waste management in the tropics, enabling this project and the community of Nosara to become an example for sustainable recycling practices for other communities in Costa Rica and other tropical countries to follow.”
For lots more info and images of the progress made so far, head on over to the Nosara Recycling Center — or sLAB Costa Rica as it’s known — Kickstarter campaign page. And, of course, there are perks that come along with backing the project including T-shirts, key chains, DVDs of the documentary once it’s finished, and virtual high-fives.
For those who have ever visited Costa Rica, a travel destination that's truly been covered like a blanket here on MNN, a donation to sLAB Costa Rica will help to ensure that your next visit is even more breathtaking. I've never been myself, but I do have bi-weekly fantasies about spending some serious QT at a sloth sanctuary. Some day. Some day.