When the Quakers first arrived to the Monteverde region in 1951, the area was not even close to being as developed as it is today. The “roads” up the mountain were essentially small trails, and they didn’t go up as far as they do now. Because of this lack of development, the Quakers decided to focus much of their efforts on settling in the region in order to have a successful business. Some of the changes they made during their settlement of the area was improving the roads, bringing electricity to the mountain, and installing a party phone line. All of these changes helped make the area easier to access when transporting their product down the mountain and better overall for the people who lived there. However, these changes came with a cost. Ricardo’s father was the first person to introduce chainsaws to the beautiful region of Monteverde. This goes to show how much deforestation was brought about by the Quakers, and the Ticos they sold to, during this process of developing Monteverde.
Now, it is interesting to see that both the Quakers and the Tico farmers who were responsible for much of the deforestation of Monteverde are now working to protect the environment and promote ecotourism. The Quakers sold their cheese company to a Mexican company in order to focus more on studying the region and educating students on its importance through talks and tours. Life Monteverde on the other hand still grows coffee, but has made many changes to ensure that their practices are environmentally sustainable. They too give tours to educate people about their practices and the ways that they are continually trying to become more sustainable.
By gaining new, foreign investors, the Quakers and Ticos in Monteverde have been able to make these changes to increase environmental sustainability. They have made a major shift in focus toward ecotourism, which is much better for the environment because of all of the actions being taken to ensure this type of tourism can continue. However, it could create problems for the Tico family coffee farmers seeing as more and more people are deciding not to enter the coffee business. This is a problem in the sustainability of the business because it certainly cannot continue if no one wants to work there anymore. This could potentially create suffering for the entire Life Monteverde company because their primary revenue comes from coffee production. Overall, I feel that the shift toward ecotourism is positive because it will help protect the environment, but the companies will have to be careful to ensure that they can still sustain themselves.