The National Geographic Society is publishing, and to hit the stands on May 19, 2009, what appears to be a provocative and present day perspective on the Galapagos Islands, entitled “Galapagos at the Crossroads”
For millions, the Galapagos represent nature at its most unspoiled, an inviolate place famed for its rare flora and fauna. But soon today’s 30,000 human residents will surpass 50,000, a huge problem since almost all of the land is national park. Add invasive species, floods of tourists, and unresolved conflicts between Ecuadorian laws and local concerns: It’s easy to see why the Galapagos were recently added to UNESCO’s World Heritage in Danger list.
Each chapter in this provocative, perceptive book focuses on a specific person or group endeavoring either to exploit or protect the Galapagos’ natural resources—from modern-day pirates who poach endangered marine species to environmental activists who patrol protected waters to catch them red-handed. The story Bassett tells explores the inevitable clash in values between these often quirky, always dedicated individuals and their activities. Told with wit, passion, and grace, the Galapagos story serves as a microcosm for Earth itself, a perfect example of how an environment can be destroyed.
Readers interested in acquiring a copy, please visit the National Geographic Online Store (http://shop.nationalgeographic.com/product/crossell/4980.html)
The author of this blog site, Robin Slater, is currently reading this book and will present his personal comments and reviews on this book shortly.