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Business as usual / Aquí no pasa nada

by Paul Smith

I have never met a climate change sceptic in the Monteverde area. Our claim to fame is creating large private reserves and promoting conservation through our institutions. But all is not well.

Like most parts of the world, we have been slow to confront a principle reason for climate warming, our transportation system based on fossil fuels. As we in Costa Rica become steadily more affluent, each year 5 percent more cars are added to our congested roads and parking lots. There seems to be no way to stop this trend.

In western society a personally owned car gives us status, the newer the car the better. The car is well promoted by our financial institutions. It is our sacred cow. Traffic jams and gridlock do not seem to reduce its popularity.

Most of our commutes are less than ten miles. What is the problem with a bicycle? Culture again. What I hear is “Oh, it’s not cool. That is what children do. I am not strong enough; it’s too dangerous”. Yes, our hills in Monteverde can be a challenge for an octogenarian like myself. But as I have discovered, adding a small electric motor and battery to my bike makes going up hill as easy as going down.

Three values in our culture, I think, explain our addiction to the automobile and why that addiction is the last thing car lovers want to think about.

Convenience: Cars give us greater freedom. Fill the tank and we are off to the city or beach with the family on an impulse. No bus schedules to consult.

Comfort: Role up the window, set the temperature control, put on the radio, and enjoy the scenery.

Speed: Step on the gas. The only limitations are traffic jams, bumps in the road, speeding tickets, and pesky walkers and bikers getting in the way.

If, as the saying goes, actions speak louder than words, we would have to conclude that having a personal car is a higher priority than the world we are leaving to our grandchildren. We are affluent. We have the money. Why not spend it on a car? I would call this a serious moral dilemma.

Survival of our species is dependent on humanity learning to live in harmony with nature. Will “business as usual” prevail or can we become more aware and chose a road to survival?

When the car was invented over a hundred years ago it was powered by either an electric motor and batteries or a gas motor. In time the latter won because of its superior range. Unfortunately the gas motor has helped creat humanity’s greatest crisis, global warming. In spite of the Paris Accord and hearing about global warming in the news every day, the dominant response continues to be “business as usual”. Is there any hope? Fortunately science and technology give humanity new options and hope for a promising future if we move forward quickly.

Technologies such as solar panels, smart grids, and batteries make it possible for renewable sources–solar, wind, hydro, and tidal– to meet our energy needs. And improvements are being made almost daily. Sustainable energy along with improved motors and batteries can eliminate the need for dirty fuel, a phenomenal innovation. This has the potential to revolutionize all forms of transportation, public and private.

Tesla Company’s innovations have changed history and initiated the demise of the dirty internal combustion engine. Understanding “car culture” they exceeded all expectations by making their first electric automobile surpass the gas car in convenience, comfort, and speed. At present only the rich can afford the price tag. So for now the fossil fuel industry is still in the driver’s seat with low fuel prices, and they’re putting up a good fight to survive. Manufacturing of EVs on a commercial scale and creating the necessary infrastructure, such as charging stations and services, are the present challenges. Convenience, comfort, and speed based on clean energy at a competitive price is in sight.

So the game is over for fossil fuels. We just don’t know the date. Country after country is passing legislation to stimulate the transition, with Norway leading the way. Two years after Norway passed legislation to favor EVs, more than 40% of its new vehicles are electric. In spite of Costa Rica’s ambitious goal to be carbon neutral by the year 2021, due to vested interests stimulus legislation still waits in committee and it is “business as usual”. We are lagging behind in leading the way to a bright new future.

Until EVs become readily available, the adoption of simpler modes of mobility, particularly in Monteverde, including the electric bike and the electric golf cart, move us in the right direction. These EVs have a twenty to fifty mile range without recharging, can climb the steepest hills, use only rain water for their batteries, and with few moving parts are easy to maintain.

With my electric bike I get my exercise, and with my electric car I transport my family. I love to slow down as I pass a walker and invite them to hop on. Few decline, but all say thank you. Tourists and I get acquainted. I am your free taxi if you’re going my way. All are winners.

How can we make a difference?

If you are not a walker, you can explore electric bikes or electric golf carts. Information is available from present users. You can carpool or initiate ride-sharing groups.

A few people are already having success with solar panels. Even with the new regulations of ICE the future of solar is bright. You can find out some developments from me. At the moment we are waiting for the leadership of the Belmar Hotel, Los Pinos Hotel and the MV Institute to determine the best provider and get on board. There are about 35 business to choose from. Getting the right one is important.

Letters to and contact with politicians in support of stimulus legislation for renewable energy and electric transport will help.

Phone numbers of Diputados in Puntarenas:
Laura Garro. 2010 8390 2010 8391. Fax 2010 892
Karla Prendes. 2010 8490. 2010 8491
Gerardo Vargas Rojas. 2010 8570. 2010 8571
Carlos Hernandes. 2010 8415. 2010 8416. Fax 2010 8417

In summary, thanks to science and technology the future for a shift to renewable energy and electric mobility is bright. The main obstacle to change is the mind set of the “business as usual” culture. The choice is ours.

So the moral dilemma is this. Do we wait for change to come, knowing that it may not come in time and it may not be what is really good for us, or do we make personal changes now? The ultimate question will be can we learn to live in harmony with nature, even through all the upheavals and trials humanity will face.


Aquí no pasa nada

Escrito por Paul W. Smith

Nunca he conocido a nadie en el área de Monteverde que dude del cambio climático. Nuestra fama viene de crear reservas forestales y de promover la conservación ambiental por medio de nuestras instituciones. Pero no todo está bien.

Como muchas otras partes del mundo nos hemos demorado en hacer frente a una de las causas principales del calentamiento global: nuestro sistema de transporte basado en combustibles fósiles. A medida que Costa Rica se hace más próspera, cada año se añade un 5% más de carros a nuestras ya congestionadas calles y estacionamientos. No parece haber forma de frenar esta tendencia.

En la sociedad occidental tener un vehículo personal nos da estatus –mientras más reciente el modelo, mejor. El automóvil es promovido por nuestras instituciones financieras. Es nuestra vaca sagrada. Las presas y los congestionamientos no parecen disminuir su popularidad.

La mayoría de nuestros viajes al trabajo son de menos de 15 kilómetros. ¿Cúal es el problema con la bicicleta? De nuevo, la cultura. Lo que escucho es “Ay, es que no es atractivo”, o “es cosa de niños”, o “no soy lo suficientemente fuerte”, o “es muy peligroso”. Es verdad que las colinas de Monteverde pueden ser un desafío para un octogenario como yo, pero lo que he descubierto es que añadir un pequeño motor y una batería hacen que subir una colina sea tan fácil como bajarla.

Hay tres valores en nuestra cultura, pienso yo, que explican nuestra adicción a los automóviles y por qué esa adicción es lo último en lo que quiere pensar un amante de los carros.

Es conveniente: Los autos nos dan mayor libertad. Llene el tanque y ya puede irse a la ciudad o a la playa con la familia cuando quiera. No hay que consultar los horarios del bus.
Es cómodo: Suba la ventana, ponga el aire acondicionado, prenda la radio y disfrute el paisaje.
Es rápido: Pise el acelerador. Las únicas limitaciones son las presas, los reductores de velocidad, los policías de tránsito, y los molestos ciclistas y peatones que se meten en el camino.

Si, como va el dicho, las acciones dicen más que las palabras, tendríamos que concluir que tener un carro personal es una mayor prioridad para nosotros que el mundo que le vamos a dejar a nuestros nietos. Nosotros somos prósperos. Nosotros tenemos el dinero. ¿Por qué no gastarlo en un carro? Yo llamaría a esto un grave dilema moral.

La supervivencia de nuestra especie depende de que la humanidad aprenda a vivir en armonía con la naturaleza. ¿Prevalecerá la actitud de que “aquí no pasa nada” o lograremos ser más conscientes y escoger un camino que conduzca a la supervivencia?

Cuando se inventó el automóvil hace más de un siglo, éste era impulsado por un motor eléctrico y baterías o por un motor de gasolina. Con el tiempo el segundo salió victorioso gracias a que podía recorrer mayores distancias. Desafortunadamente, el motor de gasolina ha ayudado a crear la crisis más grande de la humanidad: el calentamiento global. A pesar del Acuerdo de París y de que todos los días se habla en las noticias sobre el cambio climático, la respuesta dominante sigue siendo “aquí no pasa nada”. ¿Hay alguna esperanza? Afortunadamente, la ciencia y la tecnología le han dado a la humanidad nuevas opciones y la esperanza de un futuro prometedor, si avanzamos con rapidez.

Tecnologías como los paneles solares, las redes de distribución eléctrica “inteligentes” y las baterías hacen posible que las fuentes de energía renovable –solar, eólica, hidroeléctrica y oceánica– puedan satisfacer nuestras necesidades energéticas. Y se están haciendo mejoras todos los días. La energía sostenible y los motores y baterías mejoradas pueden eliminar la necesidad de consumir combustibles sucios, lo cual es una innovación fenomenal. Esto tiene el potencial de revolucionar todos los medios de transporte, tanto públicos como privados.

Las innovaciones de la compañía Tesla han cambiado la historia y han sido el principio del fin del motor de combustión interna. Con una comprensión de la “cultura del carro”, ellos sobrepasaron todas las expectativas al hacer que su primer automóvil eléctrico superara a un automóvil de gasolina en términos de conveniencia, comodidad y velocidad. Por el momento sólo los ricos pueden costear un carro de estos. Así que por ahora la industria de los combustibles fósiles sigue estando en el asiento delantero con sus combustibles baratos y está luchando con todas sus fuerzas para sobrevivir. Los principales retos del momento son la manufactura a escala comercial de los carros eléctricos y la creación de infraestructura necesaria, tales como las estaciones de recarga y otros servicios. La conveniencia, la comodidad y la velocidad basadas en energía limpia a un precio competitivo están al alcance.

Se le está agotando el tiempo a los combustibles fósiles. Sólo nos queda por conocer la fecha exacta en que esto sucederá. Un país tras otro están pasando legislaciones para estimular la transición, con Noruega a la cabeza de este movimiento. Dos años después de que Noruega aprobó una ley para favorecer los carros eléctricos, más del 40% de sus vehículos nuevos son eléctricos. A pesar de la meta ambiciosa de Costa Rica de alcanzar la carbono neutralidad en el año 2021, debido a intereses externos la legislación aún está en espera y seguimos con el “aquí no pasa nada”.

Hasta el día en que los vehículos eléctricos estén fácilmente disponibles, la adopción de un modo más simple de transporte, particularmente en Monteverde, puede incluir las bicicletas eléctricas y los carritos de golf eléctricos, los cuales son un paso en la dirección correcta. Estos vehículos eléctricos pueden recorrer entre 30 y 75 kilómetros sin tener que ser recargados, pueden subir colinas empinadas, sólo usan agua de lluvia para las baterías, y con pocas partes móviles son fáciles de mantener.

Con mi bicicleta eléctrica me puedo ejercitar cuando quiera y con mi carrito eléctrico puedo transportar a mi familia. Me encanta darle aventones a personas que pasan caminando. Pocos dicen que no, pero todos me lo agradecen. De esta manera, conozco a muchas personas y soy el taxi eléctrico de los peatones que van en la misma dirección que yo. De esta forma, todos ganamos.

¿Cómo podemos hacer una diferencia?

Si usted no camina habitualmente, pruebe con una bicicleta o con un carrito de golf eléctrico. Puede hablar conmigo o con otros usuarios de estos vehículos para más información. También puede compartir su vehículo o hacer grupos que sirvan para coordinar aventones. Algunas personas ya están teniendo éxito con la instalación de paneles solares. Aun con las nuevas regulaciones del ICE, el futuro de la energía solar es brillante. Puede pedirme información sobre algunos avances recientes. Actualmente estamos a la espera de que los administradores del Hotel Belmar, del Hotel Los Pinos y del Instituto Monteverde determinen quién es el proveedor más confiable de vehículos eléctricos y se suban a bordo. Hay unos 35 proveedores de donde escoger. Es importante tomar bien la decisión.

También puede ayudar poniéndose en contacto con sus representantes políticos e instándolos a que apoyen legislación de estímulo para las energías renovables y para el transporte eléctrico.

Números telefónicos de diputados en Puntarenas –

Laura Garro – 2010 8390 ó al 2010 8391. Fax 2010 892
Karla Prendas – 2010 8490 ó al 2010 8491
Gerardo Vargas Rojas – 2010 8570 ó al 2010 8571
Carlos Hernández – 2010 8415 ó al 2010 8416. Fax 2010 8417

En resumen, gracias a la ciencia y a la tecnología podemos esperar un buen futuro para la energía renovable y el transporte eléctrico. El principal obstáculo es cambiar la mentalidad de la cultura del “aquí no pasa nada”. La decisión es nuestra.

Entonces, el dilema moral es este: ¿esperamos a que vengan los cambios, sabiendo que tal vez no lleguen a tiempo y que puede que no sean lo mejor para nosotros, o empezamos a hacer cambios personales ahora mismo? La pregunta definitiva será ¿podrá la humanidad vivir en armonía con la naturaleza, a pesar de todos los conflictos y dificultades por las que atravesará?

Susie goes to the other side of the quebrada

Dear all:

Well, it has not been a particularly quiet week in Monteverde.

What follows is a little photo vignette of the stroll Susie made this morning to the other side of the impassible chasm in the road, to pay bills and pick up a few things after the hurricane.

“But Susie”, said I to my dear landlady (who had an early-to-mid 70’s birthdsy 2 weeks ago), “it’s steep and muddy and slippery on the footpath down by the Quebrada Maquina” (<-Gringo Translation: stream-cum-raging-torrent, which has since quieted down just a bit). “You sure you want to go?- maybe I can pay it for you….”

“_I have to pay my Caja_, David, just.., , I have to pay my Caja.” (<-GT: Costa-Rican Public Health Care, huzzah – $50 a month, keeps me alive, eat your hearts out, U.S.)

She finds repetition useful sometimes in order to penetrate my thick skull. She’s going to go pay her Caja. I get it now.

Bob (77 six days ago) is going along for Coke and other necessities. I can’t always keep up with Bob’s walking pace, but decide on short notice to tag along anyway. I do have time for a quick cup of coffee and a boiled egg (such a luxury, being able to cook again). I need to pay my Caja too, after all. Perhaps pick up a usb keyboard (the ‘A’ key has just gone out on my laptop, in honor of the utilities’ return; it’s more work than you’d think typing all the ‘A’s on-screen with a mouse. If you see an occasionl missing “A”, tht’s why :-). Besides, nothing like looking for yourself to see how things are going and getting good information (especially in situations like this). Good information is priceless these days.

It’s a 1/2 mile at most to the other side, a walk in the park (literally). Besides, with luck we’ll find Paco, whose car very fortunately was trapped on the other side, and who’s been ranging back and forth on Missions From God and For All Mankind ever since. If we find him he might could give us a lift the rest of the way to the bank and the Mega-Super?…

So off we go. “Take a hat”, said Susie. I hardly ever wear hats. I reflected 3 seconds, unlocked the door, went back in and got my hat.

Chasm looms in the near distance. One hundred 80-lb. sacks of hog feed have made it to this side, brought over no doubt across the same steep muddy foot trail we’re about to cross, by men like the one on the left, who was now proceeding to the dairy’s Home for Hundreds of Hungry Pigs, a further mile down the road.


Susie surveys the Chasm; Bob and Tarcicio (sp?) look on and discuss.


La Cascada’s kiosk building in the drink. Backhoe vigorously on the job. Costa Rica’s Noble Bandera, foreground.

The Chasm in all its glory, with (5′ diameter) culvert (blocked at the other end)..


…and what remains of the house built just a _leetle too close_ to the mighty Quebrada Maquina.

18. So, back 50 meters and down the Garden Path, until…

22. Susie peers into the muddy jungle leading to the Mighty Maquina, 50 meters downstream from The Chasm…

28. Where friendly helpful folks from the Municipalidad helped us down the mudslide, across the puente…

30. …and up the mud on the other side…

35. …to emerge between the House-Half-Gone and the luckier one next door.

36, 38, 39. …from whence Susie proceeded onto the muddy road, and on into the distance, to pay her caja and pick up a little oatmeal.

(1980-09 Whitney summit -see below (“no u dint.” “yes I did too….”))

Of course your intrepid photojournalist made it as far as the pictures go too, and even up into the sun, the dry road and the flat sidewalk just beyond. But no further just right now, please. Susie was already far gone, out of sight; Bob was even farther off. (Bob walked the extra mile clear into Sta. Elena, and then back, a walk he’s made for decades. Bob and Susie got here in the mid-60s, when this was still pretty much the exclusive preserve of pioneers. By the time I got here in ’87, it was more than half settled down, the biologists had moved in, and tourism was just beginning its rise. A lot has changed since 1987. Bob drove here in the 60s, but he doesn’t drive now.)

“I think I’d like to sit down a minute”, I said to myself. “Or no, on second thought, _lying_ down, for, say, 5 minutes, would be even nicer”. Easier on the neck, which has been aching. My pack with its water bag inside made a comfy pillow. Two days ago, I was hauling 5-gallon water jugs uphill. I enjoyed eating very little that day too – a half plate of wonderful high-quality food at Sarah and Rick’s phenomenal Canadian Hurricane Thanksgiving. I believe I’ve dropped 8 lbs. in the last 4 days, and by inclination. (I’ve experienced that before, in those Gatherings of 1000s in the woods that I go on about sometimes).

But yesterday, the hill up to the meeting house was also a bit of a problem for me. Half my life ago, believe it or not, I used to hike 60 miles, off-trail and over steep passes, above timberline, by compass (the Sierra Nevada are 3-D enough to make such navigation easy and fun). Now my lack of stamina appalls me sometimes (enough to change my habits? – probably not…). But I’m a math major, so I know what the ‘4’ in F=1/D^4 means: it means half the arterial diameter yields 1/16 the blood flow. I suspect those puppies are shot, my friends. But, so far at least, no ticker problems, gracias a dios….

A bit light in the skin and head trying to continue walking today, is all. I felt just fine lying down. Rest (and a knowledge of my limits) are all I need, mostly, I think.

People and police passed by; I waved to them from my comfortable reclining position on the sidewalk. The sun beat down on yesterday’s incipient sunburn; I pulled my hat comfortably over my face (what foresight I have at times).

Mirav walked by, and we agreed that we would be even more comfortable on the cool shaded cement of the driveway by (formerly) Bill’s (former) Rock. The dirt was fine – 4 days of it already in these tough old pants. More friendly Muni people summoned friendly Cruz Roja to confirm (as I was pretty sure myself) that my blood pressure and glucose were fine. I suspected my blood oxygen might be low, but I was wrong; it was fine too.

I plotted my 1/2 mile return journey, with its second helping of mud, and the rest stops I planned to enjoy along the way. I had an extra unplanned but welcome rest when the policeman told me no one was allowed through, and to sit on that man’s porch please and wait for Bob and Susie, who might arrive shortly and who apparently were then also not to be allowed to pass.

I understand the pressures this young man’s been under, trying daily to keep people safe. It is about as easy for him to block that flow of people and supplies as it was for the road to block the river.

Seriously folks, that path is getting muddier and slipperier hourly. Someone _could_ break an ankle or fall in. You really don’t want that to happen, especially now. Don’t use the footpath unless you’re _quite competent_ in rough country (like Susie), _and_ unless your mission is _absolutely essential_. Think it out _carefully_ (more carefully than I did, apparently). The road is expected to be passable very soon in any case, even tomorrow, most likely, according to Paco. Ticos, are you ever getting it done. Hats off to you.

I sat for another 15 minutes. Martha Campbell (nearly my age, and born here) and companero came up the path going from Monteverde to Sta. Elena. I mentioned that the police might not want them to be able to return. She noted that the policeman was no longer here, and it occurred to one or both of us that this was probably the time to go home if I was going, which was where I (and the Cruz Roja) knew I belonged.

So, back down into the mud. Why am I not wearing boots? “Want a hand?” asked another friendly guy in a day-glo vest. “Yes, thank you”, said I. I’m not proud; that hand was welcome. I notice in the last couple years that I have passed (hopefully with grace) into the realm of those Seniors who occasionally get a helping hand.

Furthur On, then. One more nice rest at Bajo Tigre, lying in the soft grass this time, and then I was home.

I worried a little about leaving Susie back there. She usually gets a helping hand herself, for example in crossing the ditch by Margaret’s path in the dark. But it was not in the cards for me to go back and help her across the Mighty Maquina today. “Actually, you know, she’s gonna be back any minute”, I said to myself, and she was. Caja paid, oatmeal in hand. “Everyone was so helpful, gave me rides, helped me across the Rio….”

But then what about Bob? A final thing to worry about; I’m a worrier, sometimes. Susie and I were still on the porch talking when Bob came back. He had located and purchased not only his 2-litre Cokes, but .750 litre of Botran Oro Reserve 5 Anos to go with it (a fine Product of Guatemala which I can heartily recommend, if you can find it).

Paco came back too, and mentioned that police had been forbidding anyone at all to cross the Mighty Maquina since day one, which is also before the Miracle of the Manifestation of the 8000 pounds of pig food on our side of the river. Also, that he was heading right back into Sta. Elena and of course would be glad to pay my caja for me and also find me a usb keyboard if one was to be found anywhere in the zone. “Wireless if possible, please”, I said.

He had to wait forever with his number in hand (as one always does in the Banco Nacional) and then another hour when his number came up and the system came down, but that caja got paid. Also the last half of this missive has been written on my brand-new wireless keyboard, which misses nary an ‘A’. I do have to translate this Spanish keyboard into English, but I have taken a little Spanish, and I know that right paren really means left paren, for example.

Chicken noodle soup now warms my comfortable though formerly somewhat chilly frame. It’s from a package, but, man, it hits the spot.

Well, that’s the News from Monteverde, where all the women are strong, all the men are good-looking, and all the children, are above average. (<-guess what I’ve been reading for comfort-in-the-dark these last few days).

Be Well, Do Good Work, and Keep In Touch.

-David King

Nate in Monteverde

At two am on Thursday morning I tried to detect where each of the sounds of rain came from – windows, skylight, roof, river. At about the same time in Los Altos de San Luis a landslide smashed into Shannon Smith and Jorge Hincapie’s home in the early hours of the morning.

They were able to crawl out with their young son Matias. At the same time in Cuajiniquil, the river overflowed. There, everyone’s homes flooded. Frank’s rental house was a meter deep. Many boats filled with water and then smashed to pieces in the current. Sometime that morning, the La Presa bridge in Guacimal washed out. All this I learned from Frank, who was in San José with 31 newly-arrived EAP students.

At 7 am there was 275 mm (almost 11 inches) of water in our rain gauge.

This has been a wet rainy season in Monteverde. Between Monteverde Day (19 April) and the end of September, over two meters of rain had fallen. In September, some intense storms went beyond the capacity of our culverts. Roads turned to streams. The road to Mary Rockwell’s was washed out. People swept water out of their houses and repaired leaks in their roofs.

Nate began to pound Costa Rica on Wednesday 4 October. The local emergency commission was meeting at the muni when I passed by on Wednesday. Most of Costa Rica was on red alert. Thursday schools throughout the country were closed.

Thursday morning, when everything else in the country had been cancelled, I had a meeting at the dairy plant with the head of sustainability at Sigma Alimentos. He had flown in from Mexico to talk about how they can engage in CORCLIMA’s efforts to locally mitigate climate change. It had taken him 8 hours to get here from San Jose.

Thursday, we hunkered down in our homes, texting to check in on each other. Electricity went out, then the landlines. As night fell, cellphones went out. Rain continued to fall hard. It was cozy by my wood stove.

Friday morning seemed especially quiet. Monteverde was wrapped in clouds. The rain gauge held 290 mm. Over 11 inches more. Twenty-two inches in two days.

We emerged from our homes and encountered each other on the road, heading to inspect the Quebrada Maquina that had washed away Charlie’s house and left only parts of Rufina’s and Oldemar’s. The cabin where David Rodriguez was living was gone. (All had been evacuated ahead of time.) A chasm separated us from Cerro Plano and Santa Elena.

People picked up supplies at Whole Foods where Pax and Claudia made lists of what people were taking, letting us pay later. Word spread about a community meeting at 11 am. Others said it was at noon.

Water systems were out, but clear water flowed from new springs and in the ditches along the side of the road. An especially pretty spring gushed out from below the path below the Trostles driveway.

Most gathered at eleven at Monteverde Centro. Maricella Solis, logistical whiz, was the member of the local Emergency Commission in charge. Earlier that morning she had shouted with members of the commission on the other side of the Maquina, agreeing to meet again at noon so that we could throw them a message with a rock. At the meeting, we pulled together information and questions for those on the other side. We wrote our names on a list, whether we had enough food for 24 hours, if we urgently needed any medications. A mini-commission of volunteers was formed. We agreed to meet again at 3 pm at the Institute.

Cut off from the outside, we connected with each other on the road, liberated from our screens, talking with neighbors some of us didn’t even know lived here. Eager for news, we shared the bits that we had: a landslide took out 300 meters of road and an electric line in front of the Bello house with the cement animals at the Las Juntas/Tilarán cruce. No roads were open from Santa Elena to the pan am highway. A big landslide on the trocha blocked our way to San Luis. San Luis was also cut off from Santa Elena, many staying in the Centro Comunitario or one of the schools.

At home at 2:40 I heard a landslide. At least I didn’t feel it, not like I had during hurricane Mitch.

The 3 pm meeting was packed and started very promptly. Maricella rushed in with her green hard hat to report that the commission had been attending to other emergencies and so she and Jorge Torres had crossed the quebrada to find them in Santa Elena. She and others shared information: A landslide came down into the Porras house and more might come down. Pass at your own risk. Sign in, if you hadn’t already. ICT is trying to help tourists evacuate. Two Brazilians were especially eager to go. Still no way to go. Drinking water was available at the Bosque and the dairy pant and some farms with their own springs. Use the water from ditches for toilets and bathing. Water is also available from the rainwater catchment tanks at the new teacher house. People without a way to cook at home were invited to use the Institute kitchen or Caburé. Joe had milk for those that needed it. Check on your neighbors. Make sure that animals aren’t stuck in houses. Did anyone need a little solar light (Luci Light)? There is cell signal at Mary Rockwell’s, the trocha and the Campbells. Soon some sections of the roads would not be passable as springs would erupt.

On my way home, I looked for the Friday afternoon scrabble game – which spontaneously happened at Margaret’s with peanut butter sandwiches, candlelight and Luci Lights.

Saturday the sun made us squint, it was bright. Only 4.3 mm in the rain gauge. Phew.

I started looking for the landslide that those of us in the Bajo had heard the day before. I peeked around Frank’s old office toward the 1998 Hurricane Mitch slide. Yikes! There it was. The side of the office opposite the porch was half exposed. Indeed, there were cracks in the soil on the porch side. The office will go any time. Can’t see below the leaves on the upper side. Orange flagging is serving as caution tape.

Hiking toward cell phone signal, I run into Sabine outside the new teacher house. People are crossing the Maquina over a log. She and Tara have walked 17 kms from Los Tornos through slides and mud so that Tara can take the SAT as scheduled. They cannot stay in Sabine’s TreeTop House by the Maquina.

While walking back down from calling Frank from John and Doris Campbell’s, a helicopter circles and lands at the Monteverde History Museum – the Brazilian tourists have paid to leave.

Farther down the road, word is spreading that the police are mandating we all evacuate. I now understand why people would resist evacuation orders.

Three people from the Santa Elena Emergency Commission were at the meeting: Oscar Muñoz (INS), Felipe Quesada (head doctor at the clinic), and a policeman. The meeting started early, as the mandate was provoking much discussion. Names of priority people to evacuate were on the white board… including older people, those with medical needs and those that live near the river. My name was up there. I was assured it was because of the river, not my age.

The three officials explained that they had changed course and decided that evacuation was voluntary, but that if you were to evacuate, “go now”. There were landslides above the Cascada that had caused water to pool and another landslide could come down. Better to go while the sun was out and the bomberos were there to help. Some of the 200 or so people in Monteverde went right home to gather things to go. Most don’t want to go. We have our basic needs: food and water. We agreed to meet at 3 to organize community kitchens and other basic needs for those staying. Medicines were distributed. Lists of needs taken. I give away more Luci Lights. I request a visit from Olman Quesada, architect of our house – and member of the emergency commission most qualified to evaluate the safety of our house.

Susana and Bob come over to pick up the generator and fish from my freezer to boot up the Caburé freezer full of perishables. Olman doesn’t come.

The Saturday afternoon meeting is smaller, and darker. Glenda has brought bread from Stella’s bakery for people to eat. Sarah Juliusson brought food as well. We take stock of who is here by neighborhood, who has left, who has food. We are concerned about security. A few suspicious people from “the other side” have been snooping around empty houses. The road is now impassable below Howard’s driveway. Only walking is possible across the bridge over the Cuecha. People volunteer to work on roads, water. Requests are put in for food for animals, especially cows. Joe says he will be giving away good milk for people, spoiled for animals. I reiterate my request for a visit from Olman.

We disperse to our homes. At 7 pm, I struggle to stay awake by looking at photo albums so that I won’t wake up in the middle of the night.

Sunday morning was partly cloudy. My cell phone had signal. I paid my cell phone bill which would have expired that day.

Thanks to neighbors who encouraged him, Olman arrived and we traipsed on the hillside below the house. We saw new landslides on the office side, but nothing problematic below the house. He said if it were his house, he would stay…. but if it starts to rain a lot, perhaps sleep somewhere else. Gratefully, I have many generous offers of places to go to choose from.

Carol Evans called as Olman and I were in the woods. “Electricity was back in San Luis! The road was open to Puntarenas! The trocha was still blocked. All the rumors about people dying in San Luis were false. All are well. Shannon’s solar panels are working… lights are on there.” …. I said “No, the solar panels are not working!!! Turn off the switch at the meter!” But indeed, we would all be better off with solar power with batteries.

People gathered at the meetinghouse for singing and meeting for worship. “Life flows on in endless song, above earth’s lamentations…. How can I keep from singing?” No visitors. Lucky advised us on how to use the minimum amount of water to effectively flush our toilets. Teen meeting made cards for how to give to the International Red Cross for relief to Costa Rica. Sue Gabrielson, the school director, asked people to seek for financial support for the school as this storm is hitting school families hard. There would be vacation camp for any kids in the community at the school from 9-12. A break for parents. Tim Lietzke congratulated us on already meeting our goal of cutting the number of internal combustion vehicles in half. I announced that the definition of yoga is finding the calm within the storm and that all are welcome at practice. Many wrote notes on appeal letters.

Sunday’s community meeting was more relaxed and we had only one. A team of Red Cross people were coming to evaluate the risks and needs on Monday. Electricity came on as we met. No one needed a community kitchen yet. Animal food had been delivered by pulley. Cross on the lower trail below Elieth’s and Humberto’s at your own risk. Work was happening on the water lines. Jose Luis reported that there was discussion of fixing the Maquina road in the next few days by either putting the culverts back in place and filling with rock or maybe with a Bailey bridge. Either would be a temporary solution. Susana emphasized that this was climate change and urged us all to follow up on what we had learned at Monica Araya’s talk by getting our legislators to exonerate taxes on electric vehicles. (You can watch Monica’s Monteverde talk on CORCLIMA Moneverde’s Facebook page and google her Ted talk, too.) I explained that Monica had arranged for Mitsubishi to bring up a plug-in Outlander for us to test drive on Monday, but I didn’t think they would make it. Laughter

We feel very, very fortunate. No one in our isolated community has been hurt. We are comfortable and united. We have enjoyed the time without being glued to our screens enjoying each other’s company. Others in Central America have not been so lucky.

Most, but not all, now have water, electricity, landlines, internet. We can wash our hair and our clothes. Not worry about more food going bad. Not worry about our families elsewhere worrying about us.

A helicopter is just leaving now. Soon I will go to the meetinghouse to teach my yoga class and then go to the afternoon community meeting.

This has been a reset. As the new normal evolves, certain things have not changed: the beauty of the natural world around us, the warmth and unity of our community.

Katy VanDusen
9 October 2017

Entering into the Silence

by Tim Lietzke

Recently during worship Lucky offered a message in which she distinguished between “being silent” and “entering into the silence”. I have pondered the difference, and especially the meaning of the latter. Being silent seems clear enough–to stop talking, and perhaps also to stop thinking, and thus to stay attentively open to what is. Entering into the silence is another matter. First, it seems necessary to acknowledge that the one entering into the silence must have been either out of the silence beforehand or not consciously there. Being silent is the preliminary step to entering into the silence. Perhaps “the silence” is one way of expressing the Ground of all being, the creative force of the universe, the presence of God or at least the medium through which the divine presence is known. The silence is what was before all we know was, before the unfolding of the creation from the quantum dimension, beyond time and space. Taken as such, to enter into the silence is to enter the primordial, undifferentiated state of pure Being, if only briefly, leaving behind, as it were, our contingent beings. Let me not be presumptuous here; maybe this state is only that of the brain wave patterns of deep meditation or sleep.

In any case, we grope inadequately, and perhaps mistakenly, for language to describe spiritual states. I won’t try to dilate further on this, but simply recommend entering into the silence ever and again throughout our daily lives. There is so much in the world that is disconcerting, so much to throw us off center. Note how in the course of conversations and events we can easily become emotionally distraught. Entering into the silence anew re-centers us and enables the loving response to what is.

This latter assertion does need elaboration. Augustine suggests that humans are by nature good (and so too is the rest of creation) but fall into evil by virtue of our wills causing us to desire inordinately something (It can be anything.) that is less than the supreme good, that is to say, God. This turning from the supreme good to lesser goods others call idolatry, a more subtle form than the old idolatry of worship of images. Inordinate attachment robs us of our freedom and leads us into ways of living–some habitual, some sporadic, most of seemingly insignificant consequence from the individualistic point of view, others of obviously destructive consequence–that conduce to the sort of world in which we live today. If this be true, it is incumbent upon us to ponder from time to time whether our desires and attachments have become misplaced or inordinate, and thus harmful to ourselves and to the life community of planet Earth. In the silence then we may find ourselves accepted and being made whole and the freedom-robbing power of thoughts, actions, and ways of living based on inordinate desires and attachments loosened. Freedom comes in entering into the silence again and again until it becomes habitual in our daily lives and is experienced as nothing less than coming home.


Entrar en el Silencio

Escrito por Tim Lietzke

Recientemente durante el culto Lucky ofreció un mensaje en el cual distinguió entre “estar silencioso” y “entrar en el silencio”. He pensado en la diferencia, y especialmente en el significado del último. “Estar silencioso” parece bastante claro–dejar de hablar, y tal vez también dejar de pensar, y por eso quedarse atentativamente abierto a lo que esté. “Entrar en el silencio” es cosa aparte. Primero, parece necessario admitir que uno que está entrando en el silencio tenía que haber estado afuera del silencio antes o no conscientemente allá. “Estar silencioso” es la etapa preliminar para entrar en el silencio. Acaso “el silencio” es un modo de expresar la fundación de toda existencia, la fuerza creativa del universo, la presencia de Dios o al menos el medio a través de que la presencia divina está conocida. El silencio es lo que fue antes de todas las cosas que conocemos fueran, antes del despliegue de la creación desde la dimensión quantum, fuera del tiempo y espacio. Tomado así, “entrar en el silencio” es entrar en el estado primordial y indiferenciado de existencia pura, aun si sólo brevemente, dejando atrás, por así decirlo, nuestras existencias contingentes. Déjame no estar presuntuoso en este; quizá este estado es sólo eso de los patrones de las ondulaciones cerebrales de la meditación fonda o de súeño.

En todo caso, andamos a tientas inadecuadamente, y acaso equivocadamente, para las palabras que pueda describir los estados espirituales. No trataré de dilatar más sobre esto, pero simplemente recomendar que entremos en el silencio de nuevo y de nuevo durante todo el día. Hay tan mucho en el mundo que está desconcertante, tan mucho que nos lanza de nuestros centros. Note cómo en el curso de las conversaciones and acontecimientos podamos fácilmente llegar a ser turbados. Entrar en el silencio de nuevo nos recentra y capacita la respuesta amorosa a que esté.

Esta última aseveración necessita explicación. Augustino sugiere que los humanos son por naturaleza buenos (y así también es el resto de la creación) pero caen en la maldad en virtud de que nuestras voluntades nos causan a desear inmoderadamente alguno (Puede ser cualquier cosa.) que es menos que el bueno supremo, es decir, Dios. Este viraje del bueno supremo a los buenos menores otras personas llaman idolatria, una forma más sutil que la idolatria vieja del culto de imagenes. El apego inmoderado nos roba nuestra libertad y nos induce en vias de vida–algunas habituales, algunas esporádicas, la mayoría de consecuencias aparentemente insignificantes del punto de vista individual, otras de consecuencia obviamente destructiva–que conducen al tipo de mundo en el cual vivimos ahora. Si esto es verdadero, es necessario que examinemos de vez en cuando si nuestros deseos y apegos han llegado a ser otorgados indebitamente o inmoderados, y por consiguiente perjudiciales a nosotros y a la comunidad de la vida de la Tierra. En el silencio, entonces, podemos encontrarnos aceptados y estando hecho enteros mientras el libertad-robando poder de pensamientos, acciones, y vias de vida basadas en inmoderados deseos y apegos se aflojan. La libertad viene por medio de entrar en el silencio de nuevo y de nuevo hasta que llegue a ser habitual en nuestras vidas diarias y es experimentado como nada menos que venir a hogar.

Reflections on Sustaining the Quaker Tradition

by Timothy M. Waring
May 14, 2017

I wonder about the future of Quakerism. Being born into the Quaker tradition, I will forever be rooted in the way of Friends. I love un-programmed Quakerism for its shared meditation, its focus on social justice and simplicity, and for those reasons I want Quakerism to flourish. But, as a social scientist I worry about how long the Quaker tradition will survive.

As a scientist, I study the dynamics of human cooperation. Cooperation, the voluntary generosity which sustains families and builds nations, is important in nearly everything we do as humans. But, as we know from personal experience, cooperation is not guaranteed. Behavioral science has shown that cooperation flourishes where those who contribute also derive benefit, but dissolves when those who benefit never chip in. When this free-riding goes unchecked it spells disaster for the group.

I use cooperation science to study co-operatives as a type of organization. Like all organizations, co-ops face external challenges. But, co-ops are special because they generally do not rely on hierarchical structures to guarantee and manage the division of labor, and must rely on the voluntary cooperation of their members. Current research suggests that adaptations to promote cooperation within co-ops are just as important to their survival as other external influences.

Un-programmed Friends Meetings are, of course, a type of religious co-operative. Quakers share spiritual leadership of the meeting. We share the daily work of practical matters. We share responsibility for financial support of the meeting. Many co-ops use democratic decision-making to share power among members. Quakers go further with the practice of consensus, which favors unanimous decisions. I agree with Quaker practice in principle, but when I consider some of our practices in the light of recent science, they give me pause, because co-ops often fail under the burden of maintaining cooperation.

Quakers are in decline. In the United States, meetings are aging and membership is dwindling. My home meeting in Orono, Maine, is on the very verge of closing. Outside of two young families, it has about 5 regular attenders, all over the age of 70. Unfortunately, this trend is large, and is not abating, as data from the US Census and Google both show.

Better data can surely be found, but these are sufficient to show a downward trend in both the numbers of US Quakers and global interest in Quakers via web searches. This same trend influences the Monteverde Friends Meeting in Costa Rica, which we have attended this year. Although many times larger than the Orono Friends Meeting, the Monteverde Friends Meeting is growing older, and younger members are rare. So, as a Friend, I think it is time to accept that our religious co-operative may expire if we do not change something, if we do not adapt.

Many Friends have already considered how to adapt while staying true to our values. But the science of cooperation can help us gain clarity on the matter, in a few ways.

In the last few decades, behavioral scientists have learned what distinguishes cooperative groups. A handful of factors help cooperation flourish. These include, a strong shared identity, clear group membership boundaries, reciprocity among members, clear rules of participation, fair distribution of work and benefits, appropriate responses for rule-breakers, sufficient group size, and frequent interchange between groups. Many of these are areas in which Friends meetings could afford extra attention.

For example, although Friends do have a strong sense of collective identity, Quakers are also very inclusive in their spiritual beliefs. There are many Christians, Agnostics, Buddhists, Jews and Atheists among the Quakers. I celebrate that diversity, of course, but we should take care to re-affirm our collective identity as well. I know from my own research that diversity in social identity directly reduces cooperation. So, how do we build and renew our collective identity?

Take group boundaries as another example. What are the expectations of attenders in comparison to members? What are the benefits of being a member over that of an attender? In my adult life, I have participated in three meetings (Florida, Maine, California and Costa Rica). In each of these I have seen, and been surprised by, how many regular attenders were not in fact members. Moreover, in some places the major roles in the meeting were held by non-members, even the clerk.

Of course, this happens naturally, if it is easier to simply attend. If one could gain all the benefits without paying any additional costs, why become a member? Indeed, it seems that becoming a member mostly means shouldering extra responsibility for the care of the meeting. Indeed, even as a birthright Friend and frequent attender I have yet to become a member, perhaps for this reason. But Quaker adherence is evaporating. So, I encourage us to reflect on the question: why should people join meeting? What are the benefits to cooperating? Do the cooperators (members) gain especially by their role, or do they instead support a comfortable spiritual life for those who never join, never become members, and never contribute?

As another example, reciprocity is a wonderful and simple tool for maintaining cooperation. Reciprocity comes in many flavors – direct reciprocity between two people, indirect reciprocity within a group. Indirect systems of reciprocity may be one-to-one (members share rides), one-to-many (a gift to the meeting), many-to-one (a meeting supports a specific member for a special cause), or even many-to-many (such as a potluck). What is important with any system of reciprocity, though, is that it is truly reciprocal. In due course, the givers must also be the beneficiaries. Usually, reciprocity is unofficial, and this can be beautiful. When everyone truly contributes, marvelous things emerge. However, reciprocity often falls apart, leaving a few key contributors holding the weight. This can be avoided by making reciprocity just a little more official. For example, attenders could take turns being greeters or spokespeople after meeting. If turns are taken, then shirking becomes easier to observe and resolve. Are the unofficial systems of reciprocity in the meeting working, or is the work falling unevenly on a few? Can we systematize the reciprocity so that we all may know just how much we are expected to contribute, and when?

Work and reward should also be proportional. So, most meetings have a rotating volunteer clerk position. This can be successful if there are sufficient numbers of people with available time and interest. Of course, there are not always such numbers. So, we might consider whether the clerks, those who give the most to our meetings, might be compensated for their organizational and service work.

There are many ways to support cooperation, and many of them involve creating systems and institutions to make cooperation and participation easier. Clear rules and expectations are critical. But when the community is small enough, sometimes rules are never developed or information is not shared because “everyone already knows.” But without clear announcements, how can newcomers learn our expectations and rules? Will a lack of clear participation guidelines will result in fewer contributions?

As another example, I recently spoke with a young family in Monteverde who had been interested in attending the Quaker Meeting, but were unsure about whether to bring their young children. They approached several members of the Meeting, asking what the expectations were for children in Meeting, if there was a first-day school, and how it worked and were confused and disappointed when they received divergent answers. Are our expectations clear to visitors as well as ourselves?

A related issue is that of punishment for breaking the rules. Cooperation science has clearly established that if free-riding (or rule-breaking) is punished, cooperation is enhanced. But as pacifists Quakers are gentle people, and we are not inclined much toward punishment, corporal or otherwise. However, we should understand that punishment need not be punitive. Instead we can look for ways to simply shift the best choice of action to the one that benefits the group. For example, how do we use the reputation accumulated by our elders to protect the sense and decorum of the meeting? If certain members are not respectful of the communal silence that underlies Quaker spiritual practice, how can we provide an appropriate response which encourages them toward a practice sensitive to the whole meeting?

A final consideration for Quakerism at large is that of cultural transmission. To survive, organizations must transmit their values and operations to new people. But how are we Quakers doing this? Many religious employ active or even aggressive systems to proselytize and convert new members, such as the Mormons and the Jehovah’s Witnesses. Such an approach is far from Quaker belief, and adopting such a practice would, I think, damage the sacred sense of individual respect that Quakerism is founded on. But as scientists we can understand why other religions hunt converts; it helps them survive. So, we must ask if our open-door policy and voluntary contributions are working? Are our youth programs sufficiently enriching and engaging? Beyond our values, are we passing on the daily operational practice of Quakerism enough for the tradition to survive? No, we are not. Each year there are fewer Quakers and fewer Meetings.

I do not have the answers to these inquiries. Each meeting must answer to its own fate. But it is their fates that worry me. My wish is for Friends Meetings to deeply and skeptically inspect their own operations, as a detached social scientist would, for meetings to ask the hard questions, and to look for the best solutions, not the most comfortable answers. If we are faced with the existential question, then we need to ask: What do we want?


Reflecciones sobre sosteniendo la tradición Cuáquera

Escrito por Timothy M. Waring
14 de mayo, 2017

Me pregunto acerca del futuro del cuaquerismo. Habiendo sido nacido dentro de la tradición cuáquera, estaré siempre arraigado dentro de la manera de los Amigos. Amo el Cuaquerismo no programado por la meditación compartida, su enfoque sobre la justicia social y su sencillez y por estas razones quiero que prospere el cuaquerismo. Sin embargo, como científico social, me preocupa por cuánto tiempo sobrevivirá la tradición cuáquera.

Como científico, estudio las dinámicas de la cooperación humana. La cooperación, la generosidad voluntaria que sostiene las familias y edifica naciones, es importante en casi todo lo que hacemos como humanos. Pero lo sabemos por experiencia personal, la cooperación no es garantizada. La ciencia del comportamiento humano nos demuestra que existe la cooperación principalmente cuando los que contribuyen también derivan un beneficio, pero desaparece cuando los que benefician nunca aportan. Cuando el beneficio gratuito va sin límite esto sin duda implicará el desastre para el grupo.

Yo uso la ciencia cooperativa para estudiar las cooperativas como un tipo de organización. Como todas las organizaciones, las cooperativas enfrentan retos externos. Pero las cooperativas son especiales porque por lo general, no dependen de una estructura jerárquico para garantizar y manejar la división de trabajo, y deben depender de la cooperación voluntaria de sus miembros. La investigación actual sugiere que hacer adaptaciones para promover la cooperación dentro de las cooperativas es tan importante para su sobrevivencia como otras influencias externas.

Las Reuniones no programadas de los Amigos son, por supuesto, un tipo de cooperativa religiosa. Los Cuáqueros comparten el liderazgo de la reunión. Compartimos el trabajo diario de asuntos prácticos. Compartimos la responsabilidad de apoyo financiero de la reunión. Muchas cooperativas toman sus decisiones democráticamente para compartir el poder entre sus miembros. Los Cuáqueros van aún más allá, usando la práctica del consenso, que favorece decisiones tomadas con el sentido de unanimidad. Estoy de acuerdo con los Cuáqueros en principio, pero cuando considero algunas de nuestras prácticas a la luz de la ciencia reciente, me hace dudar, debido a que las cooperativas frecuentemente fallan bajo el peso de mantener la cooperación.

Los Cuáqueros están en declive. Las Reuniones en los Estados Unidos, están envejeciendo y existe una constante reducción en la membresía. La Reunión donde soy miembro en Oronto, Main, está al borde de cerrar. Fuera de dos familias jóvenes, tiene apenas unos 5 asistentes regulares, todos mayores de 70 años. Desgraciadamente esta tendencia es extendida y no variando, como muestra información tanto del censo estadounidense como Google.

Seguramente se puede mejor el data, pero estas dos fuentes son suficientes para mostrar la tendencia hacia abajo tanto en el número de Cuáqueros estadounidenses como el interés sobre los Cuáqueros a través de búsquedas en el web. Esta misma tendencia está influenciando la Reunión de Amigos de Monteverde en Costa Rica, donde asistimos este año. Aunque muchas veces más grande que la reunión de Amigos de Oronto, la Reunión de los Amigos de Monteverde se está haciendo más vieja y los miembros jóvenes son pocos. Así como un Amigo, creo que es tiempo de aceptar que nuestra cooperativa religiosa puede morir si no cambiamos algo, si no nos adaptamos.

Muchos Amigos ya han considerado como adaptarse mientras se mantienen nuestros valores. Sin embargo la ciencia de la cooperación nos puede obtener claridad sobre el tema, en algunas maneras.

En las últimas décadas, científicos del comportamiento humano, han aprendido distinguir diferentes grupos cooperativos. con unos cuantos factores podrá ayudar prosperar la cooperación. Estos incluyen, una fuerte identidad compartida, claros límites para la membresía grupal, reciprocidad entre miembros, reglas claras de participación, una distribución justa de trabajo y beneficios, respuestas apropiadas para los que infringen las reglas, un tamaño de grupo suficientemente grande, y frecuente intercambio entre grupos. Muchos de estos son áreas en que las reuniones de los Amigos podrán dedicar extra atención.

Por ejemplo, aunque los Amigos tienen un fuerte sentido de identidad colectiva, los Cuáqueros son también muy inclusivas en sus creencias espirituales. Hay muchos Cristianos, Agnósticos, Budistas, Judíos y Ateos entre los Cuáqueros. Yo celebro esta diversidad, desde luego, pero debemos tener cuidado de reafirmar nuestra identidad colectiva también. Sé de mi investigación personal que la diversidad en la identidad social reduce directamente la cooperación. Así que, cómo podríamos construir y renovar nuestra identidad colectiva?

Tomen los límites grupales como otro ejemplo. Qué son las expectaciones de los que atienden en comparación a los miembros? Cuáles son los beneficios de ser miembro sobre el que asiste? Durante mi vida de adulto, he sido participante en 3 Reuniones (Florida, Maine, California y Costa Rica). En cada una de ellas he visto y he sido sorprendido, la cantidad de asistentes regulares que de hecho, no eran miembros. Lo que es más, muchos de los que ocupaban mayores roles en las Reuniones no eran miembros, hasta la persona que dirigía las reuniones de negocios.

Desde luego esto pasa naturalmente, si es más fácil para simplemente asistir. Si se puede ganar todos los beneficios sin pagar los costos adicionales, para que ser miembro? En verdad, pareciera que ser miembro implica cargar más responsabilidades para el cuidado de la reunión. Lo cierto, aún siendo un miembro de los Amigos por nacimiento y asistente frecuente aún no soy miembro de una Reunión, tal vez por esta misma razón. Pero la adhesión para ser Cuáquero está evaporando. Así que, les insto refleccionar sobre esta pregunta: Por qué se debería unir a una Reunión? Cuáles son los beneficios para cooperar? Ganan quienes son miembros cooperadores por su rol, o de otra manera, sostienen la confortable vida espiritual de los que nunca se unen, nunca son miembros y nunca contribuyan?

Como otro ejemplo,la reciprocidad es una herramienta hermosa y sencilla para mantener la cooperación. La reciprocidad viene en muchos sabores – reciprocidad directa entre dos personas, reciprocidad indirecta es dentro de un grupo. Sistemas indirectas de reciprocidad puede ser de uno a otro (los miembros comparten viajes), uno a varios (un regalo a la Reunión), muchos a uno ( la Reunión da su apoyo a un miembro específico por una causa específica), o aún muchos a muchos (como un almuerzo compartido). Lo que es importante con cualquier sistema de reciprocidad, es que sea verdaderamente recíproco. En el curso debido, los que dan deben ser los beneficiarios. Normalmente la reciprocidad es no-oficial y esto puede ser algo bello. Cuando todos verdaderamente contribuyen, emergen cosas maravillosas. Sin embargo, frecuentemente la reciprocidad se desmorona, dejando unos pocos contribuyentes sosteniendo todo el peso. Esto se puede evitar haciendo que la reciprocidad sea un poco más oficial. Por ejemplo, los que asisten deben tomar turnos para ser los que dan la bienvenida después de la Reunión. Si se turnan, el que no cuple es más fácilmente detectado y resuelto. Están funcionando los sistemas de reciprocidad no oficial en la reunión, o está recayendo el peso desmedidamente en unos pocos? Podemos sistematizar la reciprocidad de manera que todos podamos saber cuánto se espera de contribución y cuándo?

El trabajo y recompensa también debe ser proporcional. Así que la mayoría de las Reuniones tienen la posición de conductor de las sesiones como puesto voluntario y rotativo. Esto puede tener éxito donde hay suficientes miembros con personas con tiempo disponible e interés. Por supuesto no siempre hay esta cantidad de personas. Así que podríamos tomar en consideración si ellos, quienes dan más a la Reunión, podrían ser compensados por su trabajo de organización y servicio.

Hay muchas maneras de apoyar la cooperación, muchas involucran crear sistemas e instituciones para hacer que la cooperación y participación sea más fácil. Tener reglas claras y expectaciones son esenciales. Pero cuando es suficiente pequeña la comunidad, a veces las reglas nunca son desarrolladas o la información compartida porque – Todo el mundo sabe -. Pero sin comunicaciones claras, cómo pueden los que son recién llegados aprender cuales son las expectativas y reglas? Creen que habrán menos contribuciones por falta de reglas de participación claras?

Como otro ejemplo, hablé recientemente con una familia joven en Monteverde quienes habían estado interesados en atender la Reunión de los Cuáqueros, pero no estaban seguros si traer sus niños pequeños. Habían acercado a varios miembros de la Reunión a preguntarles que eran las expectativas acerca de traerlos a la Reunión y si había una escuela de Primer Día y cómo funcionaba. Fueron confundidos y decilucionados cuando recibieron contestaciones divergentes. Son nuestras expectaciones claras a nuestros visitantes como a nosotros mísmos?

Un tema relacionado es el castigo por el rompimiento de las reglas. La ciencia de la cooperación ha establecido claramente que si el que anda libre (rompe reglas) es punible, se mejora la cooperación. Pero como pacifistas, los Cuáqueros son personas suaves, y no somos muy inclinados al castigo, corporal o de otra manera. Sin embargo, debemos entender que el castigo no necesariamente debe ser punitivo. En cambio, podemos buscar maneras de simplemente cambiamos el mejor curso de acción a uno de los beneficios del grupo. Por ejemplo, cómo usamos la reputación acumulado por nuestros ancianos para proteger el sentido y decoro de la Reunión? Si ciertos miembros no son respetuosos del silencio comunal que es base de la práctica espiritual Cuáquera, cómo podemos proporcionarle con una respuesta adecuada que le estimula hacia una práctica que sea sensible a toda la reunión?

Una consideración final para el Cuaquerismo en general es la transmisión cultural. Para sobrevivir, las organizaciones deben comunicar sus valores y operaciones a la gente nueva. Pero cómo nosotros los Cuáqueros la estamos haciendo? Muchas religiones aplican sistemas activas y hasta agresivas para predicar y convertir a nuevos miembros, como por ejemplo los Mormones y Testigos de Jehová. Tal manera de llegar está lejos de la creencia Cuáquera, y adoptar tal práctica dañaría, pienso yo, el sentido sagrado del respeto del individuo sobre el cual está basado el Cuaquerismo. Pero como científicos podemos entender el porqué otras religiones cazan a los que quieren convertir ya que les ayudan a sobrevivir. Así que debemos preguntar si nuestra política de puertas abiertas y contribuciones están funcionando? Si nuestros programas para nuestra juventud son suficientemente enriquecedoras y atractivas? Más allá de nuestros valores, estamos pasando suficientes prácticas diarias operacionales Cuáqueras para que puede sobrevivir sus tradiciones? No. no lo estamos haciendo. Cada año hay menos Cuáqueros y reuniones.

No tengo las respuestas a estos interrogantes. Cada Reunión debe responder a su propio destino. Pero son sus destinos que me preocupa. Mi deseo es que las Reuniones de los Amigos inspeccionen con profundidad y escepticismo sus propias operaciones, como lo haría un científico social desligado de emociones, para que las Reuniones se hagan las preguntas difíciles, y buscar por las mejores soluciones, no las respuestas más cómodas. Si estamos encarados con la pregunta existencial, entonces deberíamos preguntar: Qué queremos?

Monteverde Monthly Meeting Draft Statement on Migration

12 June, 2017

The Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) transcends national boundries. Our primary alligience is to God as the Spirit of Love moves in our lives. Here in Monteverde, Costa Rica, our meeting’s membership includes citizens of Costa Rica, USA, and Canada. The life of our meeting is enriched by attenders from many parts of the world.

The world is currently facing a global crisis of migration: massive uprooting of peoples due to war, environmental disasters, and extreme poverty. During the past two years Costa Rica has experienced a part of this migration as large numbers of Cubans, Haitians, and people from parts of Africa and the Middle East have been concentrated in the isthmus in a mass migration from South America to North America. While small on a global scale, it has been significant for a country as small as Costa Rica. The Costa Rican government has responded in a humanitarian way, providing safe conduct, health care, and basic temporary food and shelter. The Monteverde Meeting has joined with others in Costa Rica in raising donations for the displaced families and visiting the camps to bring a bit of joy and comfort.

Meanwhile, we are appalled to see the cruel immigration policies enacted by the current administration in the United States. Families are being ripped apart. People who have lived peacefully in the USA for many years are being treated like criminals and torn from the life they have made for themselves and deported to countries where they have not been in many years. We are especially concerned about people who have fled life-threatening conditions in Northern Triangle countries (Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras) where drug gangs and substantially failed-state conditions threaten the lives of young people who refuse to participate in violent gangs and the safety of family and friends of youth who refuse gang coercion.

Monteverde Monthly Meeting of Friends wishes to express our solidarity with people who have had to leave their country of origin and are persecuted for doing so. We reach out to Friends and others who are guided by a Spirit of Love to make it possible for people to live and work in peace. We understand that this international situation requires an international response. We wish to work with people in other nations to find practical solutions. Within our limitations as a small meeting we are open to receiving and assisting Spanish speaking people who would otherwise be deported to dangerous regions. We also desire to work with Friends in the northern triangle to find ways to nurture peace and stability in Central America. We would like to hear from others to explore creative practical ideas.


Reunión mensual de Monteverde
12 de junio de 2017
Borrador de declaración

La Sociedad Religiosa de Amigos (Cuáqueros) trasciende los límites nacionales. Nuestro principal alligience es Dios como el espíritu de amor mueve en nuestras vidas. Aquí en Monteverde, Costa Rica, la membresía incluye a ciudadanos de Costa Rica, Estados Unidos y Canadá. La vida de nuestra comunidad se enriquece con asistentes de todas partes del mundo.

El mundo enfrenta actualmente una crisis global de la migración: desarraigo masivo de poblaciones debido a la guerra, desastres ambientales y la pobreza extrema. Durante los últimos dos años que Costa Rica ha experimentado una parte de esta migración masiva de cubanos, haitianos y personas de partes de África y Oriente Medio se han concentrado en el istmo en una migración masiva de América del sur a América del norte. Aunque pequeño a escala mundial, ha sido significativa para un país tan pequeño como Costa Rica. El gobierno costarricense ha respondido de una manera humanitaria, proporcionando salvoconducto, cuidado de la salud y necesidades básicas de alimentos y refugio. La reunión de Monteverde se ha unido con otros en Costa Rica en el envio de donaciones para las familias desplazadas y visitas a los campamentos para brindar un poco de alegría y comodidad.

Mientras tanto, estamos horrorizados al ver las políticas de inmigración cruel promulgadas por la actual administración en los Estados Unidos. Las familias están siendo desgarradas. Personas que han vivido pacíficamente en Estados Unidos durante muchos años son tratados como criminales y arrancada de la vida que han hecho para sí mismos y deportados a países donde no han vivido en muchos años. Nos preocupa especialmente sobre personas que han huido de condiciones peligrosas en los países del Triángulo Norte (Guatemala, El Salvador y Honduras) donde narcotraficantes y politicas desastres amenazan las vidas de los jóvenes que se niegan a participar en pandillas violentas y la seguridad de la familia y amigos de juventud que niegan la coerción de la cuadrilla.

La Reunión Mensual de amigos de Monteverde desea expresar nuestra solidaridad con las personas que han tenido que abandonar su país de origen y son perseguidas por ello. Buscamos enlaces con Amigos y otros que son guiados por un espíritu de amor para que sea posible para las personas a vivir y trabajar en paz. Entendemos que esta situación internacional requiere una respuesta internacional. Queremos trabajar con personas en otras naciones a encontrar soluciones prácticas. Dentro de nuestras limitaciones como una pequeña reunión estamos abiertos a recibir y ayudar a personas de habla hispana que de lo contrario serían deportadas a regiones peligrosas. También queremos trabajar con Amigos en el Triángulo Norte a encontrar maneras de fomentar la paz y la estabilidad en América Central. Nos gustaría escuchar de otras personas para explorar ideas prácticas creativas.

Time to Get Moving

by Katy VanDusen

When I arrived on the bus to Monteverde in 1980, Marvin Rockwell picked me up in a golf cart. At that time, there were only about five cars in the whole zone (not including the golf cart). People moved from one place to another on foot, horse, moto, and on milk trucks. On the way, we socialized with our neighbors, stopping to talk with people on the road, hugged the person driving the moto, and having long conversations on the bus.

Since then, the number of cars in the country has grown over 900% from about 82,000 to about 800,000 (according to Amelia Rueda). The Central Valley traffic jams the streets, downtown Santa Elena experiences gridlock, and our Meeting parking lot often overflows. And we zoom by our neighbors rather than connecting with them.

Costa Rica aims to be carbon neutral, but because of the growing number of vehicles, especially cars, greenhouse gas emissions continue to increase. Automobiles are the main source of emissions in Costa Rica and in our Meeting-School Community. The Meeting Carbon Neutrality committee found that more than 90% of our emissions at the school come from transportation to the meeting and school. That does not include our air travel.

So, what can we do?

Many ideas were shared at the event “Monteverde towards Modern and Ecological Transport” on 25 May. Here are some of the actions that were mentioned by the different presenters, from higher to lower impact:

· Switch to an electric vehicle. Since over 95% of Costa Rica’s energy comes from renewable energy, driving an electrical vehicle here can cut emissions by about 95%. Four meeting families are already using small electric vehicles locally. (See below for more information on electric vehicles.)

· Write to the diputados who represent Puntarenas to ask them to exonerate the taxes on electric vehicles:,,,, and Very few electric automobiles are available in Costa Rica because the government is still taxing them at the same rate as other vehicles.

· Walk, just like Monteverdeans used to, and many still do! You benefit from the exercise and the atmosphere does, too!

· Ride a bike (regular or electric).

· Use collective transportation. According to the Union of Concerned Scientists, bus travel emits about one sixth of the amount of CO2 per person that a regular SUV with three passengers does.

· Share rides. Give rides. Ask for rides. Carpool. Share taxis. When one car travels instead of two, emissions are cut in half.

· Drive efficiently. Accelerate and decelerate slowly. Turn off your car while waiting. Don’t fill your tank in the heat of the day to minimize the amount of CO2 that vaporizes. Don’t top-off your tank. When driving, try to stay between 1500 and 2000 rpm for diesel vehicles and 2000 and 2500 rpm for gasoline vehicles. You can save up to 30% in fuel by driving efficiently.

· Maintain your car well. Note: when your car passes RITEVI, that does not mean that your car is not emitting carbon dioxide or other greenhouse gases. It means that it is not emitting more than the maximum amount permitted by law.

· Compensate your carbon footprint by donating to the soon-to-be-established Carbon Offset Fund at the Monteverde Community Fund.

Another idea that was presented on 25 May was the need to understand the transportation needs in the zone in order to improve public transportation. Since then, CORCLIMA (the Monteverde Commission for Resilience to Climate Change) with support from the Concejo de Distrito Municipal, has submitted a grant proposal to obtain funds doing a participatory study as the first step in providing convenient, affordable, low-emission transportation for everyone.

Here is more info about electric vehicles:

· You can recognize an electric car because it is quieter than a vehicle with an internal combustion engine and it plugs in.

· 85% of electric cars in the world are charged at home.

· Costa Rica has already installed 9 rapid charging stations and about 110 more are planned.

· Venus Motors is planning on opening a factory in Guanacaste that will convert conventional vehicles to electric.

· Batteries are improving fast and getting cheaper. So is the range of electric vehicles, up to 500 km per charge.

· The Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV is a 4-wheel drive electric plug-in hybrid that is now available in Costa Rica. As a hybrid, its range is not limited.

Please put two events on your calendar:

· 30 July at the rise of meeting we will have a 90-minute meeting about what we can do individually and collectively to lower our emissions. No doubt you have many great ideas not mentioned here.

· 30 September Monica Araya of Costa Rica Limpia is coming to Monteverde to talk about collective and electric transportation. Check out her TED talk proposing that Costa Rica abolish fossil fuels just as it abolished its army.

Hope to see you there!
– Katy


Hay que movilizarnos

Escrito por Katy VanDusen

Cuando llegué en el bus a Monteverde en 1980, Marvin Rockwell me recogió en un carrito de golf. En ese momento, había sólo cinco carros en toda la zona (sin incluir el carrito de golf). La gente se movía de un lugar a otro a pie, a caballo, a moto, y en camiones de leche. En el camino, nos socializamos con nuestros vecinos, parando para hablar con la gente en el camino, abrazando a la persona que conducía la moto, y teniendo largas conversaciones en el bus.

Desde entonces, el número de automóviles en el país ha crecido más de 900%, de alrededor de 82.000 a alrededor de 800.000 (según Amelia Rueda). El tráfico del Valle Central atasca las calles, el centro de Santa Elena experimenta bloqueos, y nuestro parqueo a menudo desborda. Y pasamos nuestros vecinos rápidamente en vez de conectarnos con ellos.

Costa Rica pretende ser carbono neutro, pero debido al creciente número de vehículos, especialmente de automóviles, las emisiones de gases de efecto invernadero continúan aumentando. Los automóviles son la principal fuente de emisiones en Costa Rica y en nuestra escuela y mitin. Nuestro Comité de Carbono Neutralidad del mitin y escuela encontró que más del 90% de nuestras emisiones vienen de transporte al culto y la escuela. Eso no incluye nuestros viajes aéreos.

¿Entonces, qué podemos hacer?

Muchas ideas fueron compartidas en el evento Monteverde hacia el Transporte Moderno y Ecológico el 25 de mayo. Aquí están algunas de las acciones que fueron mencionadas por los diferentes presentadores, de mayor a menor impacto:

• Cambie a un vehículo eléctrico. Dado que más del 95% de la energía en Costa Rica proviene de energía renovable, conducir un vehículo eléctrico aquí puede reducir las emisiones en un 95%. Cuatro familias de reunión ya están usando pequeños vehículos eléctricos localmente. (Vea abajo para más información sobre vehículos eléctricos.)

• Escribir a los diputados que nos representan para pedirles que exoneren los impuestos sobre vehículos eléctricos:,,,, y Muy pocos automóviles eléctricos están disponibles en Costa Rica porque el gobierno todavía está imponiendo los mismos impuestos que otros vehículos.

• Caminar, al igual que Monteverdeños hicieron en el pasado, y muchos todavía hacen! ¡Usted se beneficia del ejercicio y la atmósfera beneficia también!

• Montar a bicicleta (regular o eléctrica).

• Usar transporte colectivo. Según la Union of Concerned Scientists, un viaje en autobús emite aproximadamente una sexta parte de la cantidad de CO2 por persona que un SUV regular con tres pasajeros.

• Compartir ride. Dar ride. Pide ride. Carpool. Compartir taxis. Cuando un carro viaja en lugar de dos, las emisiones se cortan por la mitad.

• Conduzca eficientemente. Acelerar y desacelerar lentamente. Apague su automóvil mientras espera. No llene su tanque en el calor del día para minimizar la cantidad de CO2 que se vaporiza. No sobre-llene su tanque. Al conducir, trate de permanecer entre 1500 y 2000 rpm para los vehículos de diesel y 2000 y 2500 rpm para los vehículos de gasolina. Puede ahorrar hasta un 30% en combustible conduciendo de manera eficiente.

• Mantenga bien su automóvil. Nota: cuando su carro pasa RITEVI, eso no significa que su carro no está emitiendo dióxido de carbono u otros gases de efecto invernadero. Significa que no está emitiendo más de la cantidad máxima permitida por la ley.

• Compensar su huella de carbono donando al “Fondo Compenso mi Huella” que pronto se establecerá en el Fondo Comunitario Monteverde.

Otra idea que se presentó el 25 de mayo fue la necesidad de entender las necesidades de transporte en la zona para mejorar el transporte público. Desde entonces, CORCLIMA, con el apoyo del Concejo de Distrito Municipal, ha presentado una propuesta de subvención para obtener fondos, realizando un estudio participativo como primer paso para proporcionar un transporte conveniente, asequible y con bajas emisiones para todo el mundo.

Aquí hay más información sobre vehículos eléctricos:
• Puede reconocer un carro eléctrico porque es más silencioso que un vehículo con motor de combustión interna y se enchufla.

• El 85% de los carros eléctricos en el mundo se cargan en casa.

• Costa Rica ya ha instalado 9 estaciones de recarga rápidas y cerca de 110 más están planificadas.

• Venus Motors planea abrir una fábrica en Guanacaste que convertirá los vehículos convencionales en eléctricos.

• Las baterías mejoran rápidamente y se hacen más baratas. También está mejorando la distancia que puede correr los vehículos eléctricos, hasta 500 km por carga.

• El Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV es un híbrido eléctrico enchufable de doble tracción que ahora está disponible en Costa Rica. Como híbrido, su rango no está limitado.

Por favor, coloque dos eventos en su calendario:

• 30 de julio, después del culto, tendremos una reunión de 90 minutos sobre lo que podemos hacer individualmente y colectivamente para reducir nuestras emisiones. Sin duda tienes muchas grandes ideas que no se mencionan aquí.

• 30 de septiembre Mónica Araya de Costa Rica Limpia viene a Monteverde para hablar de transporte colectivo y eléctrico.

¡Nos vemos allá!

The Future of Solar Panels in Monteverde: Net Metering

by Paul Smith

There are many reasons why in Monteverde we needs to get on board with solar panels if we really believe in sustainable and healthy community for the future. The critical issue is being lucky enough to get the service of a knowledgeable responsible provider to cover long term servicing. Any time spent checking their reputation with previous customers would be wise.

We got a good start with solar in Monteverde about two years ago when Sarah Stuckey, Joe and Jean Stuckey, Alan Master, myself, and the Monteverde Friends School installed panels. Everything worked perfectly. No more electric bill beyond the minimum of 2500 colones a month. We were happy. Then ICE closed the program and took a year to come out with a new set of regulations about hooking solar systems into the grid, thus avoiding the need for batteries. Now there are four additional families trying to install ICE-connected solar systems, but there seems to be a problem with the previous provider so I have turned to other providers. In any case, we believe that “solar (together with wind) is the way to renewable energy”.

When I heard about an organization called ACESOLAR (Associación Costaricense Energía Solar) having an exposition at the National Stadium in May, I decided to attend to discover what is happening in this country. I was delighted to discover 35 companies, some with 10 years of experience working in several countries, actively engaged in the business of putting solar panels on homes and businesses. Here are a few interesting things I found out:

1) Are the new ICE regulations fair?
Yes, they are fair. On average one must contribute a quarter of the electricity one produces to ICE for their services.

2) Who obtains the permits from ICE?
All providers explained that this was their responsibility. Each area of the country has a quota of solar panels permitted, and there are a few areas where this quota has been filled. Obtaining permits in some areas is more difficult, which means that providers must apply a little pressure. But as long as the quota has not been filled in one’s area, and ours has not, the possibility of obtaining a grid-connected solar system remains.

3) What about financing?
Providers offered a glowing report about cooperation with banks. The provider makes the arrangements, with interest as low as 2%. Details need to be checked out.

4) What is the advantage of using panels connected to the grid versus using batteries and being off the grid?
Generally being connected to the grid is cheaper and entails fewer problems. The solar provider will tell you the best options.

5) What is involved in closing a deal with a provider?
First check out their web site. Then provide them with a monthly electric bill so they have an idea of your energy use. Arrange an appointment for the provider to come and make a study of your home or business and your electric needs. They will explain what they can do and give you an estimate. They have a greater interest in coming more quickly if they have several customers to see at one time. I know of several potential customers in our area, including Pedro Belmar, Tim Curtis, and the Trostles.

I have organized a meeting at the Belmar for the public to come and listen to and talk with Alexander Alvarado Chavarria of Greenenergy (see below) at 10:00 am on Thursday, July 6. He asks potential customers to bring a copy of the list of electric consumption for the last 12 months (at least 6) and a copy of the last paid receipt of electric services. There may be future meetings with other providers as well. If you are interested in the possibility of having solar panels on your home or business and would like to attend a future public meeting with a provider or cooperate with other potential customers in arranging for provider visits, please contact me at

Here are four providers I picked as a start:
> Cielovivo – Hoge Hernandez G.
Tel. 2273 6873 and 87240340.

> HiPower – Federico Varela Urbizo
Tel. 4000 4990 and 8712 5895
Facebook. HIPowerCR

> Costa Rica Solar Solutions – Jose Garcia Barrera
Tel. 6077 5337 or 4030 2023

> Greenenergy – Alexander Alvarado Chavarria
Tel. 7206 8074 or 22906405 or 2290 7727


El futuro de los Paneles Solares en Monteverde: Medición Neta

escrito por Paul Smith

Hay muchas razones por las que en Monteverde necesitamos hacer algo en serio con los paneles solares si realmente creemos en la comunidad sostenible y saludable para el futuro. La cuestión crítica es tener la suerte de obtener el servicio de un proveedor expert y responsable para cubrir el mantenimiento a largo plazo. Cualquier esfuerzo de comprobar su reputación con clientes anteriores valdria la pena.

Tuvimos un buen comienzo con la energía solar en Monteverde hace aproximadamente dos años cuando Sarah Stuckey, Joe y Jean Stuckey, Alan Masters, yo mismo y la Escuela de Amigos de Monteverde instalamos paneles. Todo funcionó perfectamente. Ya no más factura eléctrica más allá del mínimo de 2500 colones al mes. Éramos felices. Entonces el ICE cerró el programa y tomó un año para salir con un nuevo conjunto de reglamentos sobre la incorporación de los sistemas solares en la red, evitando así la necesidad de baterías. Ahora hay cuatro familias adicionales tratando de instalar sistemas solares conectados al ICE, pero parece haber un problema con el proveedor anterior, así que me he dirigido a otros proveedores. De toda forma, creemos que “la energía solar (junto con el viento) es el camino hacia la energía renovable”.

Cuando me enteré que una organización llamada ACESOLAR, (Asociación Costarricense de la Energía Solar), estaba realizando una exposición en el Estadio Nacional en mayo, decidí asistir para darme cuenta qué está sucediendo en este país. Estuve encantado de descubrir 35 empresas, algunas con 10 años de experiencia, trabajando en varios países, activamente dedicadas al negocio de colocar paneles solares en casas y negocios. Aquí hay algunas cosas interesantes que descubrí:

1) ¿Son justas los nuevos reglamentos del ICE?
Sí, son justos. En promedio se debe aportar una cuarta parte de la electricidad que se produce al ICE por sus servicios.

2) ¿Quién obtiene los permisos del ICE?
Todos los proveedores explicaron que esto es su responsabilidad. Cada zona del país tiene una cuota de paneles solares permitidos, y en algunas áreas se ha cubierto esta cuota. La obtención de permisos en algunas áreas es más difícil, lo que significa que los proveedores deben aplicar un poco de presión. Pero mientras la cuota no haya sido saturada en su área, y la nuestra no, existe la posibilidad de obtener un sistema solar conectado a la red.

3) ¿Y la finanziamiento?
Los proveedores ofrecieron un informe alentador sobre la cooperación con los bancos. El proveedor hace los arreglos, con un interés tan bajo como 2%. Hay que averiguar los detalles.

4) ¿Cuál es la ventaja de usar paneles conectados a la red sobre el uso de baterías independientes de la red?
En general, conectarse a la red es más barato y conlleva menos problemas. El proveedor de energía solar le informará sobre las mejores opciones.

5) ¿Cuál es el proceso de cerrar un trato con un proveedor?
Primero se revisa su página electrónica. Luego, les proporciona un recibo mensual de electricidad para que tengan una idea de su uso de energía. Se obtiene una cita para que el proveedor venga y haga un estudio de su hogar o negocio y sus necesidades eléctricas. Explicarán lo que pueden hacer y le darán una estimación del costo. Tendrán más interés en llegar pronto si hay varios clientes con quien reunirse a la vez. Conozco a varios clientes potenciales en nuestra área, incluyendo a Pedro Belmar, Tim Curtis y los Trostle.

He organizado una reunión en el Hotel Belmar para que el público venga a escuchar y hablar con Alexander Alvarado Chavarria de Greenenergy (ver abajo) a las 10:00 am el jueves 6 de julio. El pide a los clientes potenciales que traigan una copia de la lista del consumo eléctrico de los últimos 12 meses (al menos 6) y una copia del último recibo pagado de los servicios eléctricos. También puede haber reuniones futuras con otros proveedores. Si le interesa la posibilidad de tener paneles solares en su casa o negocio y le gustaría asistir a una reunión pública en el futuro con un proveedo, o cooperar con otros clientes potenciales enc oordinar visitas de proveedores, póngase en contacto conmigo en

Aquí hay cuatro proveedores que escogí como un comienzo:

> Cielovivo – Hoge Hernandez G.
Tel. 2273 6873 and 87240340.

> HiPower – Federico Varela Urbizo
Tel. 4000 4990 and 8712 5895
Facebook. HIPowerCR

> Costa Rica Solar Solutions – Jose Garcia Barrera
Tel. 6077 5337 or 4030 2023

> Greenenergy – Alexander Alvarado Chavarria
Tel. 7206 8074 or 22906405 or 2290 7727

The I – Thou Relationship

by Tim Lietzke

Much of the world’s response to the global refugee crisis reflects the tendency to treat others as objects, what Martin Buber called an “I-It” relationship as distinguished from an “I-Thou” relationship. This applies not only to human relationships, but also to relationships with other life forms as well as with inanimate objects and experiences. Perhaps an example will clarify the distinction. When listening to a beautiful piece of music, as long as the music flows through and over one and one stays with the music, one is in an “I-Thou” relationship with the music. But as soon as one takes a mental step back, for example, to critique or analyze the music or the playing, one has fallen into an “I-It” relationship. This is not to say that “I-It” relationships are wrong or necessarily inferior.. Sometimes they are needed. However, we might ask ourselves if too often even relationships with friends and family have devolved into “I-It” relational exchanges. How often do we really meet one another heart to heart?

Let me suggest a possible daily spiritual exercise somewhat different from holding another in the Light to foster and deepen “I-Thou” relational experiences. Choose someone special in your life. Meditate on that person, their feelings and ideas, their life experiences and stories. Let the fullness of that person dwell in your heart more and more day by day. After some time you may find your relationship expressing itself increasingly in the “I-Thou” mode. Love will grow and where love grows, the world changes for the better.


La Relación de “Yo-Tu”

escrito por Tim Lietzke

La respuesta de muchos del mundo ante la crisis global de los refugiados refleja la tendencia de tratar a otros como objetos, que Martin Buber llamó una relación de “Yo-Eso” como distinguida de una relación de “Yo-Tu”. Esto aplica no sólo a relaciones humanas, también a las relaciones con otras formas de vida, con objetos inanimados y con experiencias.Tal vez un ejemplo puede clarificar la distinción. Cuando uno escuche una bella obra musical, mientras la música fluya a través de y sobre si mismo y se quede con la música, uno está en una relación de “Yo-Tu” con la música. Pero tan pronto como tome un paso mental atrás, por ejemplo, para criticar o analizar la música o la ejecución, uno ha caído en una relación de “Yo-Eso”. Este no es decir que las relaciones de “Yo-Eso” son malas o necesariamente inferiores. A veces son necesarias. Sin embargo, podemos preguntar a nosotros mismos si con demasiada frecuencia aún las relaciones con amigos y familia han llegado a ser intercambios de “Yo-Eso”. ¿Cada cuánto nos encontramos realmente corazón a corazón?

Déjeme sugerir un ejercicio espiritual para promover y profundizar experiencias de “Yo-Tu”. Mi sugerencia es algo diferente de tener a alguien en la Luz. Escoja a alguien especial en su vida. Medite en esa persona, su sentimientos e ideas, su experiencias de vida e historia. Deje que la plenitud de esa persona permanece en su corazón más y más día tras día. Después de algun tiempo puede descubrir que su relación se expresa cada vez más en el modo de “Yo-Tu”. El amor crecerá y donde el amor crece, el mundo mejora.

Actions You Can Take After the Womens March

by Harriet Joslin

After the Women’s march some of us met for a huddle. It was really nice to be with like-minded and committed people. One of the things we decided to do was to check out various sources of information about what is happening in US politics and how we can respond. The idea was to hone them down to send out to our Monteverde friends.

We have checked out a number of organizations which we think are doing a great job. Each of them has a slightly different slant and you can choose which ones you think will provide information most pertinent to your interests. Some of them give very specific information about what is happening and exactly what you can do to respond so they make it really easy to participate. They even help you identify your representatives and senators and how to phone or write to them. If you have Skype (or some other computer based telephone service) you can call for just a few cents.
FCNL (Friends Committee on National Legislation)
ACLU (texts only, but you can follow them on Facebook)

For more information you can call (2645 7043) or email (

Peace, Harriet

Seguimiento de la marcha de la mujer

escrito por Harriet Joslin

Después de la marcha de la Mujer algunos de nosotros nos reunimos para un “huddle.” Fue muy agradable estar con gente de ideas afines y comprometida. Una de las cosas que decidimos hacer fue ver varias fuentes de información sobre lo que está sucediendo en la política de Estados Unidos y cómo podemos responder. La idea era ayudarlos a enviar a nuestros amigos de Monteverde.

Hemos revisado varias organizaciones que creemos están haciendo un gran trabajo. Cada uno de ellos tiene una inclinación ligeramente diferente y usted puede elegir cuáles cree que proporcionará la información más pertinente a sus intereses. Algunos de ellos dan información muy específica sobre lo que está sucediendo y exactamente lo que puede hacer para responder, por lo que hacen muy fácil participar. Incluso le ayudan a identificar a sus representantes y senadores y cómo telefonear o escribir a ellos. Si tiene Skype (o algún otro servicio telefónico basado en computadora) puede llamar por sólo unos pocos centavos.
FCNL (Friends Committee on National Legislation)
ACLU (texts only, but you can follow them on Facebook)

Para más información puede llamar al (2645 7043) o por correo electrónico (

Paz, Harriet

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