How Environmental Crime affects Sea Turtle Populations in Costa Rica, and Solutions for Prevention in Green Criminology

Author: Nicole Kemon
Major: Environmental Studies, Sociology, Spanish
Approved: Spring 2021
Status: In progress

This study will focus on green criminology and environmental crime that exists in Costa Rica regarding marine life populations, with a special focus on sea turtles. Now, more than ever, the planet is getting closer and closer to reaching an environmental tipping point where climate change, pollution, resource scarcity, and habitat degradation can permanently create a negative impact the future of the human race and the Earth. It is time that start holding one another accountable for our actions by studying the effectiveness of environmental policy and law on preventing crime. Costa Rica, a well-known area for their environmental protection efforts, has been the forerunner in working towards increasing population numbers of endangered species of turtles. However, after years of work and conservation efforts, the turtle species still remain crucially endangered. This study will research how environmental law and policy play a role in protecting endangered species of turtles in Costa Rica as well as how green criminology could be further developed in Costa Rica to identify where, how, and by whom these crimes are committed. The study will delve into literature, interviews with locals, tourists, environmental protection services, and conservation organizations on their perception on environmental crime and what factors play in the success of conservation efforts. With this data and information, Costa Rica environmental policing and conservation organizations can work together to prevent further crimes from occurring as well as become more aware of where their efforts can be used in particular areas. Additionally, this study will take a look into how environmental law in Costa Rica can develop to better protect sea turtle species by sentencing criminals with a sufficient punishment, better enforcing the law, and in addition to strengthening their written laws and policies.