The world’s resources are finite, and growth that is unmanaged and unsustainable will lead to a decline of the state of the environment. We need sustainable development in order 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 since the 1950s. 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 has previously supported projects focusing on the sustainability of the existing and new buildings throughout the urban areas in Galapagos. We also supported the creation of a sustainable sewage treatment plant on Isabela. Going forward the municipality of Santa Cruz is seeking to recreate a similar design for sewage water treatment in the highlands of Bella Vista. The project has been a perfect example of how we can learn from nature to apply natural, low-cost and highly effective systems that can benefit local wildlife and people. In addition, 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.