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.
Bassett presents a perspective as readable as it is sensible. 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.