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I had no idea that sustainable tourism would really amount to such a profound and important topic. So much has been made of global warming and the melting of the polar ice caps, ozone layer pollution and the ozone hole over the Antarctic, the depletion of the rain forests, and many other abuses to our environment because of the emission of harmful greenhouse gases, irresponsible logging, and other acts that we know are wrong but do anyway. Not so much has been said about sustainable tourism.
But tourism isn’t an act that is wrong in itself, especially if one takes nothing but pictures and leaves nothing but memories. It never occurred to me that there was such a place as the Galapagos Islands where the very presence of throngs of people is in itself destructive. Acts so innocent as walking off the beaten path, or drinking water and eating fish, if done by enough people at the same time and with great frequency, already compromises the sustainability of the place. This is because off-path grounds may be the site of rare plants or the nesting or feeding place of unique species of rare animals, and mass consumption of drinking water and fish compels added importation of drinking water – more chances for the transfer of pollutants – and encourages overfishing that may reduce aquatic life to unsustainable levels.
For me, the Galapagos in many ways is a miniature version of our planet earth. The species existing in it could not survive anywhere else; so, too, could we not survive outside our planet, at least as far as we know now. Any species lost in the Galapagos is lost forever, such as in our planet; thus, we need to preserve the Islands, just as we need to preserve the planet, enough to sustain life.
Actually, I do believe that the beauties of the Galapagos need not be denied to people, and that lasting damage could be avoided, if only small groups of people visit the island at a time, as previously
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