Heidi Strawn
March 24, 2010

A Heliconia in Monteverde
Photo by Cherie Langlois

Beautiful flower called Heliconia in Monteverde

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For just a moment, I’d like to invite you to step away from your farm, and come with me to the Monteverde Cloud Forest in Costa Rica, a fantastical place filled with such an infinite variety of plants and animals it makes my lush Washington home look like a wasteland by comparison. 

Indeed, when my family and I visited there in March 2006, I felt like Dorothy must have felt when she landed in Oz. 

Imagine a living green cathedral of exotic vegetation and towering trees adorned with vines, bromeliads, and flitting, secretive birds of every color—all enveloped in mist.  Imagine rainbow-carapaced beetles, dazzling blue morpho butterflies, and marching lines of leaf-cutter ants.  Imagine deep purple hummingbirds the size of sparrows buzzing your head by day and fruit-eating bats silently winging past your ear by night.

There’s simply no other place like it on earth.

The landscape of Monteverde was mind-blowing
Photo by Cherie Langlois

Walking on a bridge in Monteverde.

After four action-packed days of zip-lining, trail-riding, and exploring the misty cloud forest, we said good-bye to Monteverde on an organized night walk. 

It was an amazing two hours of little discoveries—tiny frogs and anoles, moths whose eyes shone like stars, sleeping birds—but also very strange: a cloud forest night completely devoid of clouds. 

In fact, scientists report that Monteverde’s mist-free days have increased during recent decades, its dampening and life-giving cloud cover shifting upwards.  Thanks to global climate change, profound biological changes are taking place there (as they are elsewhere)—species shifting their ranges, species vanishing.

I’ll be thinking of Monteverde, not to mention the rest of our planet and its inhabitants (my family and farm included), when I join millions of other people around the world in a symbolic call to action on climate change by dousing our lights for Earth Hour 2010 starting at 8:30 p.m. this coming Saturday, March 27.

Care to join us? 

If you’re still confused or skeptical about the realities of global climate change and its impacts, consider checking out the EPA’s easy-to-understand FAQ.

For the NOAA’s answer to why this winter’s eastern Snowmaggedon doesn’t disprove climate change (and a helpful definition of “weather” vs. “climate”), go here.  You can learn more about Earth Hour 2010 on their website.

Now, back to our farms.

~  Cherie

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