Prove your humanity

Ulises Ramírez began picking coffee when he was ten. It’s a family trade that dates back generations in the western valley of Costa Rica, where high altitudes and volcanic soils help produce some of the best coffee beans in the world. The 37-year-old now oversees farming at the Santa Anita Coffee Estate, a 250-acre coffee plantation in Naranjo, Costa Rica. Ramirez has seen a lot of changes in the past 17 years.

“The climate is crazy. Sometimes it will rain for days and then there won’t be rain and there’s way more pests than there used to be so we have to buy more products to combat the pests,” he said.

Ramírez works on a farm that is not only trying to adapt to a changing climate, it’s trying to do its part to limit greenhouse gas emissions. Santa Anita is one of a few coffee farms in the country pioneering efforts to produce low-carbon coffee.

The low-carbon coffee that Costa Rica is pushing is part of an overall plan by the country to become the first carbon neutral nation and serve as an example to the rest of the world for how to tackle climate change. It’s a small country with big climate ambitions.

Pascal Girot is a senior advisor to Costa Rica’s Minister of Environment and Energy.

“The idea of being climate friendly, climate neutral, low emissions coffee, low emissions meat, we’re seeing this as a niche product,” said Pascal Girot, a senior advisor to Costa Rica’s Minister of Environment and Energy.

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This story is produced in partnership with StateImpact Pennsylvania, a collaboration among The Allegheny Front, WESA, WITF and WHYY covering Pennsylvania’s energy economy.