Costa Rica has made some dramatic changes within the past three years. Actually, the past year, because Bob was surprised at the sudden change since his solo trip in 2018.
Some people might call it improvement, but I have to wonder about the impact these changes will have on the natural environment as well as the people who live there.
One difference we noticed right away is the sudden increase of cell phones. Cell phones were still almost non-existent last year. Now, everyone from preteen through the elderly has one. No matter what they were doing, they were glued to a cell phone.
What happened to just sitting or visiting with friends and relaxing while you are at a restaurant? When Bob and I walked past restaurants, almost everyone was on a phone.
Does a person really need to be on the phone while walking on the sidewalk? Especially ones in Costa Rica. They are not the most even things to walk on.
In an article titled “Depression Among Gen Z is Skyrocketing“, Jean Twenge believes that a decrease in social interaction among young people are a main factor behind the spiking depression rates.
The extra time away from friends and peers is eaten up by screens, Twenge said. Her findings suggest that as teens spend more time alone on their devices, they’re getting lonelier and feeling more left out.
“Face-to-face social interaction among teens has declined during the digital age, and that has mental-health implications,” Twenge said. “Face-to-face social interaction tends to protect against depression in a way that digital interaction does not.”
Costa Rica has been labeled among the happiest countries in the world. With the explosion of cell phone use, will they be able to remain a happy country?
Another change is the increase in black topped roads. Formerly gravel roads are now blacktopped. Some previously blacktopped roads are wider. In one area, the exits are not simply going onto the other roads. It is a four-leaf clover exchange for all the roads in that one area like you would see in a major metropolitan city.
Some people might think, “what is the problem with road improvement?” Well, the animals trying to cross the “improved” roads are not used to the higher speeds now. Animals miscalculate and get hit. Most don’t survive.
While at El Chontal Ecolodge in Rincon, I read a book on Costa Rica that was published in 1999. Within it was a comment that avid birders have noticed a decline in the number of birds over the years. Note: This was in 1999! There have been major changes since. How much more of a decline has there been since then?
Another problem is that the mountain roads are sharp switchbacks. Motorcyclists go too fast around the curves, resulting in increased deaths.
Costa Rica is known for trying to preserve its natural beauty. With increase of cell phone towers and black topped roads, I have to wonder if Costa Rica’s natural beauty will eventually be destroyed. I also wonder about the future impact on the people. What are your thoughts?