Trashing the Galapagos

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Ever since I was a little girl, I have longed to see the Galapagos. My parents lived in Ecuador before I was born and to this day will not shut up about their visits to these magical islands full of amazing creatures. Embarrassing fact: both my mother and father still call me variations of the nickname ¨boopie¨ after the blue footed booby, a bird they once  saw there.

Over the next few days, my sister and I will finally get to see what all the fuss is about when we visit the islands with our mom. In preparation for this trip of a lifetime, I have done very little research. After wandering around Guayaquil all day, though, I got to thinking about—what else—trash and recycling. The boardwalk in this city is shockingly developed, lined with perfectly manicured patches of tropical vegetation and freshly painted playsets for children. There are police and trash bins every few hundred feet and even large paper, plastic and glass recycling bins at the major entrances (photos forthcoming). Not at all what I´d expected.

Then again, at the nearby iguana park, tourists wander unregulated, posing with, poking and feeding junk food to the lizards and littering indiscriminantly.

Anyway, on the eve of my Galapagos adventure, I find myself camped out in the hotel business center (charging the various devices I seem incapable of traveling without and) searching the terms ¨trash¨ and ¨galapagos¨.

Isabela Island, photo via SuperVegan

Isabela Island, photo via SuperVegan

So far, the two most interesting results mirror my high and low reactions to solid waste disposal in Guayaquil this afternoon: a write up on Treehugger last year heralding an innovative recycling venture and several blog postings from a self-described Galapagos-based vegan priate criticizing the government of Ecuador for doing little to regulate illegal dumping and animal smuggling. I will let you know what I see for myself in a few days. Hasta pronto, compañeros.

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