When I traveled to the Galápagos Islands in November, I had a slightly different mission than most visitors. Sure, I was psyched to see the islands’ famed giant tortoises, birds and marine life up close, but I was also curious to learn about the 30,000 human residents of the Galápagos. Although they often go unmentioned in tales of this unique place, these people are important characters in its history, for better and worse.
In CI’s small office in Puerto Ayora, the largest of the four towns on the islands, CI Galápagos Program Director Reyna Oleas explained that in many ways, the Galápagos Islands are a microcosm of the world at large — grappling with many of the same environmental issues faced elsewhere, but also acting as a laboratory for potential solutions.
After spending 10 days on and around the islands, I saw exactly what she meant. While the Galápagos Islands face plenty of challenges, there’s no denying that without the natural treasures the islands hold, the local economy would cease to exist. Continue reading