Vision and Mission 

The Sustainability Demonstration Center is a nonprofit community environmental center dedicated to shifting the ways in which we connect with our environment, within our communities, and throughout the world. 

We envision a world in which our individual health, the Earth’s health, and our communities’ health are not only interconnected, but support one another in facilitating the growth of self-sustaining communities. We hope to serve as a model for sustainable and harmonious communities that enable social and environmental justice for all community members. 

We aim to demonstrate, in a constructive and detailed manner, innovative and repeatable approaches to reducing our daily environmental impact. We help create alternative livelihood opportunities which are healthy, just, and in harmony with the environment.

 

Our Story

The Sustainability Demonstration Center was born in 2014 out of the efforts of our community of Guacimal to protect the Río Veracruz. 

A large international corporation, conspiring with other developers, threatened to divert the vast majority of the water from the Río Veracruz for agribusiness purposes. This proposed plan would not only have destroyed the livelihoods of Guacimal farmers, but would also have significantly negatively impacted both the accessibility and quality of drinking water both in Guacimal and in downriver communities. 

Our community organized to fight this proposed environmental and social injustice. Alexander and Veronica co-founded the Sustainability Demonstration Center, and lead the effort to unite Guacimal and connect resources. As a collaborative effort, the Sustainability Demonstration Center unify community members, scientists, university students, and many other supporters of environmental justice. As part of the initial resistance movement, the co-founders of the Sustainability Demonstration Center came together to purchase a historic building in the town center: La Casona de Guacimal. La Casona represents our community's ability to collectively organize and facilitate community empowerment, as this building was the headquarters of the Defense of the Río Vereacruz.

Our community successfully challenged the proposed water withdrawal project through winning two Supreme Court cases on the grounds of our constitutional right to “un ambiente sano y ecológicamente equilibrado” (a healthy and ecologically balanced environment). This marked a significant success for not only for our community, but for communities throughout Costa Rica: for the first time, a historically disempowered community stood up for their rights and successfully defeated big business. 

Today, we continue our work of community empowerment and environmental protection through the Sustainability Demonstration Center’s ongoing effort to advance environmental and social justice. We actively support our initiatives through various programs which educate individuals, empower communities, and strive for justice