By: Celeste Harms

Our Backpack Journalism team has been working diligently in the weeks leading up to our trip to Uruguay. At our weekly meetings, we pitch news stories, discuss research and information that we’ve come across, and make further plans for our trip. I’m excited to be a part of such a collaborative process. At this point, the stories we plan to cover include sustainable cattle farming, a 100% “green” school, and profiles of unique locals in the community.

I don’t think any of us knew much about Uruguay before we began research for this trip, and we’ve been amazed at how progressive and developed the republic is! The country is a “democratic miracle,” as a New York Times article put it. Uruguay is ranked as the least corrupt and most democratic country in Latin America. Its government has enacted some of the most liberal policies in Latin America on same-sex marriage and abortion. It was the first country in the world to legalize the sale of marijuana. The country has slashed its carbon footprint without government subsidies, producing 95 percent of its electricity from renewable sources including hydropower, biomass, and solar power. People we spoke to who have visited Uruguay describe it as very community-oriented. 

Uruguay seems to be doing a lot of things right in many different areas, and we believe that the United States can learn from this little republic in South America. We’re excited to learn more, experience Uruguay for ourselves, and share our findings on this blog and in the content we produce.