The hike through the cloud forest reserve this morning was something that I had never experienced before and it was absolutely beautiful. It also didn’t hurt that we got to see a few quetzals. The most interesting part of the hike, however, was learning about the importance yet fragility of nature and how we can be mindful of our actions in order to preserve the earth. We also received a lecture from Don Guillermo who, like Don Ricardo, is apart of a family that settled here in the 1900s and helped form Monteverde. Don Guillermo was very enlightening regarding sustainability and really gave me a new perspective on Costa Rica’s environmental efforts, which is something that we all should admire and attempt to follow.
While Costa Rica is a leader in preserving and respecting nature, the country still faces challenges, such as the competing interests of productivity, conservation, and sustainability. These are all important topics that Monteverde attempts to succeed in, but it’s not always easy to achieve all of them at once. For example, sustainable options are not always the most productive and vice versa.
Some challenges specific to Monteverde are it’s unique landscape that causes unpredictability in agriculture, immense tourist attraction that creates unnecessary waste, and how climate change relates to each of these topics. While these topics relate to Costa Rica as whole in a broader sense, they have their own specific connections to Monteverde. If I were to prioritize one of the three challenges to really focus on and improve, it would be sustainability. While productivity and conservation are important, sustainability is what matters most when it comes to the future of our earth. Without sustainable practices, we will not have the nature that we admire for much longer and that is the worst thing of all.