Archive for April, 2010

Costa Rica – Dolphins, Bicycles, and ACONVIVIR

Wednesday, April 28th, 2010

I have a new job. I am working with California Environmental Associates, an environmental consulting firm in San Francisco. The job is keeping me busy, so rather than bore you with the details, you can learn more about visiting the company’s website. So far, I am impressed by my coworkers and excited about the work.

I am consulting for foundations, helping advise their environmental giving. For my most recent project, I traveled to Costa Rica to learn more about the marine protected areas in the country’s waters. Rather than bore you with details of how such parks are managed and funded, I will provide you with the picture of a dolphin leaping out of Golfo Dulce on the Pacific Coast.


In San Jose, I met with some friends who I visited the last time I was in Costa Rica (Thank you Marcela!), and I also met Ramon, an architect who, in his spare time, is advocating for the rights of cyclists in Costa Rica.

I biked across Central America. Perhaps because Costa Rica is the wealthiest nation in the region, it had the most cars, and I felt the most unsafe on its roads.

Ramon told me about the recent tragic death of a cyclist who was run over by a drunk driver.

Ramon is one of the leaders of ACONVIVIR, AsociaciĆ³n de deportistas CONtra la VIolencia Vial y el IRrespeto (Association of Athletes Opposed to Road Violence and Disrespect). I was sad that the organization has to frame its argument in the negative, but it reflects how dangerous it is to ride in the streets, and how out of place a cyclist feels in San Jose. During a short discussion at a bar, Ramon did offer some hope. He pulled out his laptop and quickly showed me slides of a presentation of his in which he offered an alternative vision for San Jose. Using photoshop and many hours, he displayed how San Jose’s roads could have bike lanes, and how cycling could become safer.

I hope he is successful.