Accueil » The story of the Quakers and their everlasting impact on Monteverde and Costa Rica

The story of the Quakers and their everlasting impact on Monteverde and Costa Rica

What vision, perseverance, and a deep respect for nature can achieve

par Yves Pepito Malette
1,K vues

The story of the Quakers and their enduring impact on Monteverde and Costa Rica What vision, perseverance, and a deep respect for nature can achieve By Yves Pepito Malette March 27, 2024 458 views

The story of Monteverde, this charming village nestled in the mountains of Costa Rica, is closely linked to that of the Quakers who founded it, as well as to their significant influence not only on environmental preservation but also on the growth of the dairy industry in the region and, consequently, throughout Costa Rica.

This group of pacifist Quakers, originally from Fairhope in Alabama, chose to leave their lives, friends, and homes in the United States in 1950 to settle in Costa Rica as a form of protest against American militarism.

Seeking a haven of peace far from the ravages of war and conflict, the Quakers were particularly attracted to Costa Rica because of its bold and historic decision to dissolve its army in 1948. This initiative, unique in the world at the time, embodied values of peace and non-violence that deeply resonated with Quaker principles. Convinced that Costa Rica offered an environment conducive to establishing a community in harmony with nature and committed to pacifist values, they saw it as the perfect place to start anew.

This religious group, known for its dedication to peace, equality, simplicity, and integrity, also valued environmental conservation as a natural extension of its beliefs.

Conservation first and foremost…

The Quakers’ commitment to conservation led to the creation of the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve in the 1970s, one of the first and most significant conservation initiatives in Costa Rica. This reserve has become a global model for community conservation and sustainable development, attracting researchers, ecologists, and tourists from around the world interested in studying and preserving biodiversity.

The Costa Rican ecological and environmental movement, influenced by the values and actions of the Quakers, demonstrates how the beliefs and practices of a community can have a positive impact on environmental preservation and the development of long-term sustainability policies.

Peace, always peace…

Wolf Guindon, a Quaker who became the main conservator of the Cloud Forest Reserve, also served as the head of surveillance for the Conservation League, patrolling this vast isolated area, crossing many ridges, descending and ascending streams, repelling threats against the forest, and sharing his deep commitment to conservation with anyone willing to listen.

One of Wolf’s most significant influences on the forest rangers of the Monteverde Reserve and the Conservation League was that as a Quaker, he refused to carry a weapon.

When faced with adverse situations, often alone in isolated areas against men armed with rifles, chainsaws, or machetes, he acted by treating them with respect, appealing to their God-loving and well-intentioned side, and disarmed them with his humor. He taught this conflict resolution method to young Costa Rican forest rangers, and to this day, the guards of the Reserve and the League do not carry weapons, unlike most conservation agents in North America and in other protected areas of Costa Rica.

An exemplary dairy industry…

After their arrival in the 1950s, the Monteverde Quakers quickly adapted to their new environment, embracing agriculture as a means of livelihood. Faced with a climate and terrain that made traditional crop cultivation difficult, they turned to dairy farming, a decision that would prove revolutionary for the region. The cool mountain climate of Monteverde was ideal for dairy cattle, and this activity quickly became the economic backbone of the community.

The Quakers’ success in the dairy industry did not stop at the borders of Monteverde. They founded the Monteverde Dairy Producers Cooperative Limited in 1953, a dairy cooperative that played a crucial role in the development of the dairy industry in Costa Rica.

This cooperative not only improved milk production and marketing in the region but also introduced more modern and sustainable production practices.

The impact of the cooperative extends beyond cheese and milk production. By promoting sustainable agricultural practices and offering a viable economic alternative to deforestation for agriculture or real estate development, the Quakers made a significant contribution to the preservation of Monteverde’s forests. This approach reinforced the community’s commitment to conservation, highlighting the importance of a balance between economic development and environmental preservation.

Conclusion, and hope…

Thus, the story of Monteverde and its Quaker founders is one of innovation, sustainability, and commitment to the land that welcomes them. Their legacy lives on through the Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve, the dairy cooperative, and the thriving community that continues to prosper in harmony with the environment. It’s a powerful testament to what vision, perseverance, and a deep respect for nature can achieve.

Related Articles

Laisser un commentaire