The Challenge: (1) Develop a new preservation strategy for the Galapagos that builds on the current management plan for the Galapagos National Park and Galapagos Marine Reserve by designating the two as a “World Scientific Preserve” that would be managed by an international commission and funded by a multinational trust, (2) Design and deploy a network of environmental sensors to support a comprehensive program of ecosystem monitoring on the island and surrounding waters, and (3) To design an idealized “village” for permanent residents and visitors that would ensure the lowest possible human impact on island ecosystems.
Background: The Galapagos Islands are one of the most amazing and unique ecological resources on the planet. Made famous by the works of Charles Darwin and his theory of evolution, the archipelago has the potential to be a living ecological laboratory where scientists can study the interaction of species in a complete environmental system. This potential, and the ecosystem itself, is threatened by a number of human impacts, including overfishing, oil spills, development, agriculture, pollution, global warming, and excessive tourism. It is the mission of this project to come up with a complete plan to address these environmental issues, while at the same time balancing the needs of inhabitants, the nation of Ecuador, and those who would wish to visit the beautiful islands.