So it’s impossible to ignore here that you are merely another animal on this great, green earth. First of all, the land here is huge and awe-inspiring, and humbling. The lines between inside and out are blurred; our rooms don’t have screens, the living and dining rooms don’t have walls, all manner of insects, geckos, spiders, even bats fly in and out. The noises of nature—cicadas, the waterfall, howler monkeys, the rain--can easily drown out conversation.
So it’s not just a little disconcerting to look out the shower window to see my non-biodegradable, neon-blue shampoo pouring out onto the jungle floor. I know how it happens: there are so few people in such a huge space, that nature will win, at least in the big picture. But for how long? Costa Ricans have never had to care where their waste water goes, but when does the balance tip? I notice that there is a little dead river of mud where our shower drains, and I wish I could run to Whole Foods and buy environmentally respectful bath products. But everything for sale here is as toxic as possible, it seems, because it’s easy to think that you can’t make a mark on a landscape so huge and powerful.
Another fact of life that is completely distressing is the garbage situation. I challenge even the most hardened of you to take your next empty wine bottle and just throw it in the garbage. Imagine throwing every waste product generated by a family of 8 into the garbage: every bottle, can, and plastic tub. And on top of that, every cookie, cracker, anything you buy in a package comes in teeny, single servings wrapped in plastic. There is no recycling, there isn't even a garbage dump. Our garbage gets collected in town, and taken "to the other side of the hill" where it is all burned, every toxic piece of it. Very scary.