Ocean Protection for Climate Resilience: re-balancing the scales for the Galapagos Marine Reserve.

The global ocean and the species that live there play a major role in the fight against climate change. As mentioned in our previous blog, GCT is using our platform at COP26 in Glasgow to highlight that ocean protection is key for climate resilience – unsustainable fishing and plastic pollution are exacerbating climate change impacts in Galapagos. We are calling for action from grassroots to governments to tackle the greatest threats to the Galapagos Marine Reserve by transforming pledges into collective action.

Please find out more about climate change and blue carbon in our previous blogs.

What is GCT doing to increase resilience in Galapagos in the climate emergency?

GCT is taking a holistic approach to protecting the wildlife and communities in the Galapagos Islands from the threats of climate change, overfishing and pollution. By raising funds and awareness in the UK, we support and deliver projects in Galapagos that respond to key threats facing the Islands. These projects focus on restoring natural habitats such as the ocean, protecting threatened species and driving sustainable solutions, including our plastics work to make Galapagos plastic-pollution free once again.

We support projects that will provide sustainable and nature-based solutions and alternative livelihood options to ensure resilience against these growing threats, thereby conserving the unique species found in and around the Galapagos Marine Reserve.

We use robust scientific data to underpin our knowledge about how marine life and local communities will be affected by climate change. We develop solutions to major threats with our partners targeting economic, political and behavioural interventions. For example, we are funding scientists to gather the evidence base for improved marine protection around Galapagos, including identifying the critically important Swimway between Galapagos and Cocos island, Costa Rica, and support for the expansion of the Galapagos Marine Reserve.

Galapagos resident, policy expert, and passionate climate action advocate Lucía Norris explains what climate actions the Galapagos community are taking.
Climate strike in Galapagos © Daniel Unda, CDF.

We believe in diversity, equality and inclusion at every stage of conservation, from grassroots organisations to governments. We encourage local voices through our grassroots projects and we are working with the Galapagos community to meet the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals by 2030 through our partnership with Co-Galapagos. We ensure a fairer representation of views by amplifying diverse voices and facilitating better solutions to meet local needs.

Galapagos resident, policy expert, and passionate climate action advocate Lucía Norris explains what worries her most about climate change in Galapagos from a community perspective.

Ultimately, the more fish we leave in the sea, the healthier are our ocean ecosystems and planet. Oceans absorb carbon more effectively than any other habitat. They contain 16 x more carbon than the terrestrial habitat. To protect marine biodiversity and ocean health, we must extend marine protected areas and ensure adequate resources and capacity to enforce protections. Overfishing must stop. Ending illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing is vital to improving the sustainability and resilience of artisanal fisheries that communities depend on. We’re supporting a more sustainable, climate-resilient tourism model for the Islands, including certification for responsible fishing activities.

Galapagos green turtle tangled in discarded fishing gear © Jonathan Green
Galapagos green turtle tangled in discarded fishing gear © Jonathan Green

Our consumption of plastics, which entangles and harms marine species, must be reduced whilst moving towards a circular economy to minimise the use of oil and carbon emissions along the supply chain. We must introduce and enforce littering legislation within the Galapagos Marine Reserve and into the high seas. Through our Plastic Pollution Free Galapagos programme, we are building capacity in the Islands by funding the training of Galapagos National Park rangers to use drones better to develop our understanding of the sources of plastics

We must ensure all community voices are heard. Grassroots climate actions for mitigation and adaptation must be recognised and supported, such as observing sustainable fishery principles and adopting more sustainable living approaches. We must globally harmonise our shared values and sustainable behaviours to achieve climate resilience.

Galapagos resident, policy expert, and passionate climate action advocate Lucía Norris tells us what we need to do to build resilience against the effects of climate change in Galapagos.

What can I do?

Take action today to protect the ocean around Galapagos and beyond. Make your climate pledge today, share with us what worries you most about climate change in Galapagos and join the conversation on social media using #GalapagosClimateAction.