Sustainable development is defined as ‘human development that meets the needs of the present, without compromising the ability for future generation to meet their own needs. It is a type of development that takes in to account the actions the developments may negatively have on the environment and actively tries to minimise the impacts.’ The world’s resources are finite, and growth that is unmanaged and unsustainable will lead to a decline of the state of the environment. Sustainable development aims to achieve social and economic progress in ways that will not exhaust the earth’s natural resources.
In the Galapagos Islands
Galapagos has seen a rapid increase in population over the last 60 years. In the late 1950s, the population was less than 2,000 people. Today it is close to 30,000, and is expected to continue rising. The pressure that this influx of human activity has placed on Galapagos is immense. As the Islands are fairly new in terms of human habitation, the general urban infrastructure is fragile and underdeveloped. Waste management is of utmost importance. Currently, attention is directed towards recycling and composting bio-degradable waste produced by both tourists and the local population.
In recent years, many families have migrated to Galapagos from mainland Ecuador to find work. When migrants do not find work directly in the tourism sector, they often acquire jobs that indirectly provide for tourism, such as transport, fishing and construction. All of these areas can be incredibly damaging towards the natural habitat if they are not regulated properly. The authorities in the Islands have increased the restrictions on developments over the past few years on all five inhabited islands; Baltra, Floreana, Isabela, San Cristobal and Santa Cruz. The Galapagos National Park has also limited the amount of fish caught in the archipelago and the location in which they are caught.
Supporting sustainable development
GCT currently has previously supported projects focusing on the sustainability of the existing and new buildings throughout the urban areas in Galapagos. Through past and future projects, GCT hopes to help improve the sustainability of new and existing buildings in Galapagos by developing and utilising best-practice codes and procedures and bettering the lives of the local people for future generations. Additionally, by working with key stakeholders in the tourism industry we aim to promote responsible tourism in Galapagos as a global model for sustainable ecotourism, developing lessons for other areas in the world.