Local conservation amid a global problem

Greetings from Denver, Colorado! I unfortunately had to return home from my study abroad experience earlier than expected. However, I still have many insights regarding Ecuadorian environmental attitudes that I am eager to share.  Throughout my time in San Cristóbal, Galápagos, I was struck by the abundance of signs, murals, and benches that implored me to help conserve the island. I believe these visual reminders reflect how aware Galapagueños are of conservation efforts. They recognize that they live in a …

Development, tourism, and conservation: A conversation with my host father

  This week, I sat down with my host father in the Galápagos, Luis, to get his perspective on the issues facing the islands. Luis was born in San Cristóbal about fifty years ago and has lived here his entire life. Based on what I have observed and learned so far, I was most interested in exploring his attitudes toward development, tourism, and conservation, as these are the most fraught issues among the local population.  This interview has been translated …

The Consumer Choice of Guilt

At times, environmentalists scrutinize themselves to the point of burdensome guilt.  We were standing in the middle of EcoEgo, a store in Copenhagen, huddled between hemp long sleeves and Maggie’s organic socks. The Green LLC packed into this eco-preneur’s shop in an attempt to identify an environmental place within consumer culture. We listened to the owner passionately describe the high caliber of socially and environmentally sustainable products. Not only was the entire store furnished and built from reused, recycled materials, …

What I got wrong about Ecuadorian environmental attitudes

  I came to Ecuador eager to explore the country’s relationship to extraction and conservation. So far, what I have found is far from what I expected. Over the past seven weeks, I have come to appreciate the nuances of Ecuadorian environmental attitudes in two very distinct locations: Quito and San Cristóbal, Galápagos. I suppose it was hubris that led me to believe that I could understand the Ecuadorian relationship to the environment from afar. I assumed that people in …