Calling all Hollywood directors: I have a plot for the movie of a lifetime! In 1951, a group of Alabamians got fed up with the United States militarism and decided to relocate to Latin America. They ended up in a plot of land that is known today as Monteverde. A bunch of other stuff happened along the way, including an international cheese company and a cross-cultural love story (an old cat and young mouse).
Foreign settlers make up a lot of modern day Costa Rica, but some argue whether or not their coming has had a positive affect.
I would contest that the arrival of Quakers has been both good and bad. Overall, I believe that the increase in ecotourism in Costa Rica has resulted in an increase in their amount of protected national reserve. So, in the case of ecotourism, it has had a positive result for Costa Rica. It also provides a large portion of the country’s sustainable GDP, and prevents them from having to resort to less efficient economic practices.
On the other hand, I contend that Quaker agriculture has been negative for Costa Rica and the surrounding countries. It has been bad because Northern American and European descendants have not held the best record for eco-friendly farming. When native Costa Ricans copy these practices, it starts a domino effect for unsustainable agriculture. This has thus resulted in massive deforestation and threats to native tropical species.
In a way, the Quakers that inhabited Monteverde have been an exception. Marvin, the amazingly wonderful man that presented today’s lecture and helped found Monteverde, has been able to provide the natives with modern medical care. Apparently the result has been around five new babies named Marvin as a tribute to his work. This group also made a conscious effort to preserve the natural forest, and encourage fellow Americans to come awe in Monteverde’s beauty.
My takeaway from today has been that the World needs more people like Marvin. I also had a very passionate cloud forest tour guide named Dennis Fernandez, who just emailed me to follow up about my moss question. I believe that if there were more people like these two who are passionate about preserving and learning about natural wildlife, our world would be a better place. My goal is learn from the people that I meet on my travels to apply towards creating a world of business sustained by the environment, but that also pays back the world that houses us.
Featured Image: Me, Dennis, and My Fellow Pitt Explorers at Monteverde Reserve