The Galapagos Islands
On March 4, 2018, my classmates and I were en route to the most pristine location on the planet: the Galapagos Islands. Upon traveling to this Garden of Eden, I was posed with a question that would resonate with me throughout the entirety of the trip and long after. Should people travel to the Galapagos? I wish the answer to this was plain black and white, but the world is a little bit more vibrant than that. In short – to answer this ‘yes’ or ‘no’ question – yes, people should travel to the Galapagos. However, I refuse to categorize this question as a closed one because, since the moment it was posed, it has left my mind open, pondering as to whether or not the benefits from my journey outweighed its obstruction to the health of the islands.
The primary reason why I have decided to allow people onto the islands – naturally having assumed the role of its gatekeeper – is due to the fact that it has already had its fair share of destruction from its past visitors. I believe it is now the duty of today’s people to salvage what is left and nurture the islands back to their optimal conditions as best as possible. This leads me to enforce limitations as to who shall visit the islands.
One of the many fascinating activities on this global excursion included visiting The Galapagos Science Center on San Cristobal Island. This was where my group and I met Juan Pablo, a research coordinator at the center. It was through his lecture where we became aware of micro-plastics and how the accumulation of trash and loss of marine life is in large part due to plastic in general. In addition to visiting the science center, we were welcomed onto a farm in the highlands. Giovanni, the primary farmer and owner, humbled us through his passion and determination to raise farm animals with respect and cultivate endangered plant species. It is people like Juan Pablo and Giovanni who should travel to the Galapagos, simply to do their share of nurturing and maintaining the health of the islands and the diverse species they house. Those who possess curiosity and want to practice charitability should travel to the Galapagos with the intention of expanding that curiosity and exercising that charitability. Gallivanting for leisure just won’t do.
Steve Irwin could not have summed up my experience to the Galapagos any better when he stating this quote, “If we can teach people about wildlife, they will be touched because humans want to save things that they love.” After Galapagos, as I carry on through this larger journey called life, I am more cognizant of my wasteful behavior that must change if I want to do my share of saving the world. Ultimately, we should protect a planet we love.
Credit: Images by Alexandra Lombardo, licensed under CC BY NC 4.0