After seeing and hearing the great extent to which citizens of Monteverde are dedicated to conservation, it is clear what these locals are willing to sacrifice in lieu of helping the natural wildlife that surrounds their homes. Unfortunately, while there are certain specific ways where a community can get “two birds with one stone” by undertaking an initiative that is both environmentally productive and financially beneficial in both the short-run and the long-run, I am very much under the impression that conservation generally requires some sort of trade-off, at least in the short-run. If this were not the case, it would not make sense for so many large companies to subvert environmental initiatives if it weren’t for their own profits. As such, when it seems like all communities in the world have opted for some form of these kinds of trade-offs, there’s no question that Monteverde has gone all-in on sacrifice in the name of nature.
It is worth noting that Monteverde does face several unique factors that set it apart from other cities/towns and that nudge their Ticos towards being extra green. First of all, this is very much a town that is dependent on nature for its daily operations (I mean, they barely have internet up here!). Also, this cloud forest, in particular, is of special importance to the country due to it being right at the continental divide, with both coasts being dependent on this forest for their sources of freshwater. This might explain why much of their initiatives seem to happen on the micro level, with individual citizens being encouraged to buy sustainably and engage in conservational behavior, such as engaging in composting. While administrative initiatives have helped with the preservation of the forests that we got to explore both this morning and yesterday night, the actual culture and attitudes seem to be mainly held by the citizens themselves.
While this is a great model for a town like this, there is no question that it would be extremely difficult to implement this kind of dedication in many other places in the world where high-pace post-industrialist labor takes precedent over nature. As such, while conservation and sustainability are great where they are applicable (especially in extremely rural areas like this), I feel like productivity is still the most important to keep on most of the community’s minds, but please hear me out. Productivity can really be thought of as another word for efficiency, and a greater degree of efficiency would entail the utilization of fewer natural resources. In using fewer resources, the damage done from extraction practices like deforestation and mining is greatly reduced. Also, as technology improves, it will allow more urban societies to have more options to be efficient, including the possibility for geoengineering initiatives to undo the damage that has already been done. Hopefully, after enough time of technological improvements, it would then be possible for more and more communities to transition to a more Monteverdeian approach to living.
I’ll be on the lookout in La Fortuna tomorrow to see if these attitudes carry over to other rural parts of the country. Va a ser interesante tocarlo en mi mente.
PS I apologize for being ~6 mins late on my submission; I couldn’t get a good enough WiFi condition to post (I already had it typed) until immediately after yoga.