The people of Ecuador are working diligently to keep the Galapagos Islands alive and well. Tourism has increased appreciably which is both good and bad. The money they bring in is essential to run the programs needed for conservation and management of the park but they also add to the problem of over impacting the environment. Posted signage and cautionary warnings from guides help visitors realize that their cooperation is needed. For example, no one is allowed to bring foodstuff onto the unoccupied islands and one is requested to stay on the pathways set out by the Park.
Immigration from Ecuador has been limited and those who do live there are committed to working on sustainability. First of all, they reformed their education system to teach and prepare the locals to become dedicated to the protection and survival of their islands. Only locals are allowed to fish the waters and more land has been developed for agriculture. People live on only 5 of the 19 islands of the Galápagos: Baltra, Floreana, Isabela, San Cristobal and Santa Cruz.
Environmental science are words used by many of the locals and they are proud to introduce one to the ways the visitors can assist them. Waste management, recycling and limited use of automobiles, didn’t see anything other than the white pick-ups on Santa Cruz that are also used as taxis, are a few of the ways! As in other countries around the world, one is not allowed to put toilet paper into the toilet so you can imagine my surprise in the Quito airport where a sign was posted in the closed-door of the bathroom stall saying “Put paper in the toilet”!
The Charles Darwin Research Station is a necessary part of this process. One of their main concerns is to control invasive species. It is especially difficult with the onslaught of so many tourists who inevitably bring in something not wanted. Donations are encouraged to keep their work going.