Development Crossing

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and Sustainability

The Oct 5, 2009 issue of the New York Times had a long article on the migration of Ecuadorians from the mainland to the islands. (http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/05/world/americas/05galapagos.html?_...). The human population has doubled to 30,000 in the last decade largely to work in the burgeoning tourist industry. The growth has become a threat to the environment and the government has expelled 1,000 poor, unskilled Ecuadorians. The immigrants aren't happy about this. The article quotes one: "We are being told that a tortoise for a rich foreigner to photograp is worth more than an Ecuadorian citizen." Of course if the tortoises and the other unique species disappeared the rich tourists would no longer come and those Ecuadorians would be out of jobs.

At least one of the companies that run cruises to the islands, Metropolitan Touring, is making efforts to educate the school children on the island in the conservation ethic. Besides giving classes, they take children on the cruises to let them see parts of the archipelago that many would never see otherwise. Hopefully this would imbue the up-coming generation with a sense of stewardship for a world treasure that they should be proud of.

What do the members of this group see as the resolution of the conflict between poor unskilled Ecuadorians trying to feed themselves and their families and the fragile environment that is being destroyed by the growing human population?

Ron Ratney

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