|Pierre Lambot of Purasol measuring the roof for the panels|
We live on the tropical Caribbean southeast coast which is particularly vulnerable to the effects of global warming. There are two main economic industries in this area: toursism and agriculture. Additionally, this is an incredibly biodiverse area which includes both Cahuita National Park and the Gandoca-Manzanillo Wildlife Refuge as well as sharing the La Amistad International Park with Panama.
|Pierre Lambot (Purasol), Harold González (Purasol), |
Berny Tencio (Purasol), Jonathan Barrantes Gutiérrez
(Corredor Biológico and Henry installing the solar panel rails
From an agricultural perspective, the two main export crops are bananas and plantains. Much of the production of both occur near river banks where they can be easily irrigated. Unfortunately, as a cause of the increased severe weather, there has been increased flooding of these rivers, specifically in the Sixaola River Basin between Bribri and Sixaola on the Panama border, which has damaged the production and has had a major impact on the economic condition of the region. In addition to commercial production, many families also rely on domestic production of fruits and vegetables to feed their families, especially in more remote areas of the region. Recently, the International Union for Conservation of Nature and my counterpart, the Corredor Biológico Talamanca Caribe, co-sponsored a Seed Exchange Fair (Feria de Intercambio de Semillas) in the indigenous Talamanca community of Bambú to encourage farmers to share rare seeds to promote agricultural diversity in the face of climate change and to promote food security initiatives, including the implementation of seedbanks.
|Jonathan and Henry installing the |
From a tourism perspective, the major toursist destinations in Talamanca reside on the coast, including Cahuita, Puerto Viejo and all the beaches south to Manzanillo. With the prediction that sea levels will rise as a part of global warming because of polar ice melt, these low-lying coastal areas carry significant risk of being consumed by rising ocean waters. Not only would this cause severe economic costs in terms of tourism, but would also displace residents and workers in these communities. As far as biodiversity is concerned, many species are vulnerable to even small changes in temperature, including bio-cooling mechanisms to changes in depletion of food sources as a result of severe weather, or the increase of plagues and disease which may follow increases/decreases in weather patterns. Especially vulnerable are the coral reefs that lie along the coast, with which small temperature variations may have significant effects.
|Stephen Lanning (Peace Corps), Jonathan Barrantes Gutiérrez (Corredor |
Biológico and Pierre Lambot (Purasol) installing the first panel
|Pierre inspects the work as others continue installation|
|Pierre Lambot of Purasol making a presentation on renewable energy|
Many thanks need to go out to out in regard to the success of this project. I'd like to thank Purasol for their tireless work, from the design and endless paperwork to the financing, installation and contributing the renewable energy workshop free of charge. Thank you Pierre, Arine, Harold and Berny, as well as others behind the scenes are Purasol for bringing such an important project to life for both the Corredor Biológico and the region of Talamanca. The project was done on-time and with excellent installation and craftsmanship. I couldn't be more appreciative of their work and would highly recommend them to anyone who is interested in any of the renewable energy products they offer.
|Pierre (Purasol), Berny (Purasol), Stephen (Peace Corps) and Alonso Loiaza (IBM) inspect a work well-done.|
Secondly, I'd like to thank CRUSA and ECPA for their contributions in helping to finance this project. I would also like to recognize IBM, and especially the work of Alonso Loiaza, Service Level Agreement Analyst, for his efforts in obtaining financing through an internal grant process for employees interested in volunteerism. I would also like to thank both Alonso and Leonardo Álvarez for their participation in the workshop on environmental resource conservation.
|Another picture of the solar panels after installation|
|There were twelve panels in total with 8 facing|
the front of the office and 4 installed on the other side
I'd also like to acknowledge ICE and their assistance in connecting the panels to their electrical grid, becoming one of the first organizations in our region to be a part of their pilot program "Generacíon Distribuida Para Autoconsumo".
|ICE installing the bi-directional meter which allows excess energy |
production from the solar panels to be fed back to the ICE electrictal grid
while Juan Carlos Barrantes of the Corredor Biológico looks on
|The installation of the panels would not have |
happened without incredible support from the Peace Corps staff
Lastly, I'd like to thank my wife, Melinda, for her love, support and tolerance of the long hours sacrificed and for her coordination of volunteers and assistance during the events listed above; but moreover, for also for being courageous enough to join the Peace Corps with me in the first place. It has been an absolute privilege to work alongside her and share this wonderful journey in Costa Rica.
|The solar panels can be seen from the street and will be a conversation piece to talk |
about renewable energy and climate change