AUTHOR The Ecoventura Team
AUTHOR The Ecoventura Team
April 22nd is always a day we here at Ecoventura look forward to – Earth Day.
Often referred to as the birth of the modern environmental movement, the original Earth Day was set up by a conservation-minded US Senator and a young activist and held on 22 April 1970. The idea for Earth Day was inspired by the energy of anti-war protesters and sought to build on the emerging public consciousness surrounding air and water pollution – a huge oil spill in Santa Barbara, California, had taken place the year before – and quickly grew beyond its original premise of a series of campus teach-ins for students.
In fact, by the time of the first Earth Day itself, it is estimated that 20 million Americans took to the streets, parks and other public spaces of the USA to protest against the environmental impacts of 150 years of industrial environment. This represented an astounding 10% of the country’s total population at the time, and to this day is considered the largest single-day protest in human history! What’s more, the event was supported by a host of faith groups and other organisations, broad political support including from both major parties, and a wide range of labour and business groups. A multitude of powerful environmental legislation quickly followed, and various regulatory bodies were established – all designed to protect people and animals from environmental degradation and pollution of the land, sea and air.
Everyone accounted for, everyone accountable
From humble beginnings, the movement had fast established itself as a social and political phenomenon that had captured the imagination of vast swathes of American society, and would quickly go on to expand across the world.
Today, Earth Day is celebrated by more than a billion people in over 190 countries throughout the planet, with thousands of events and campaigns held by activists and volunteers in every corner of the globe. It is, by some distance, the largest civic observance in the world.
Each year, Earth Day has a theme to galvanise supporters and encourage participation. This year’s theme is “Invest in our Planet“, which focuses on engaging governments, institutions, businesses and individuals to do their part and recognising that everyone is responsible for the wellbeing of the world. In the words of Earth Day, “everyone accounted for, everyone accountable”.
Closer to home
Here in the Galapagos, we at Ecoventura have always been conscious of our own responsibility to protect and conserve the beautiful ecosystem that we are lucky enough to call home. Our marine and land-based ecosystems are under more pressure than ever, with overfishing, plastic pollution and invasive species particular problems in the Islands.
For many years we have supported a range of conservation organisations in their efforts to protect the local species above and below the waves. Just recently we partnered up once again with ECOS to help nurture and train the next generation of conservationists, and our support for the Charles Darwin Foundation and other groups reaches back for years.
With Earth Day 2023 fast approaching, we decided to kick things off a little early this year with a beach clean-up held on the 17 April.
Willing guests – all volunteers, we might add – were dropped off by zodiac at Darwin Bay on Genovesa Island to do their bit, collecting plastic and other waste from this stunning beach. Armed with eco-friendly biodegradable bags, guests spent a happy hour or so walking the beach in the soft Galapagos sunshine, looking for rubbish and enjoying the splending views, accompanied only by a few curious sealions. Thankfully, plastic pollution on the beaches in the Galapagos is not common – the majority of the islands are not inhabited, and residents and visitors alike tend to be acutely aware of the unspoilt beauty of the archipelago and mean to keep it that way.
Nevertheless, we can all do our bit, so the beach clean went ahead as planned, and some rubbish was indeed collected and stored to be recycled at the end of the voyage at our very own processing plant.
Raise a glass for Earth Day
Back on board after a worthwhile spell clearing Galapagos beaches, passengers were rewarded with Earth Day cocktails.
These eye-catching drinks went down exceedingly well with our passenger-conservationists. Our bartender’s own invention, the delightfully refreshing, gin-based cocktails, making use of various local, sustainably harvested fruits and vegetables, were just what was needed to unwind after an invigorating day; a gin detox cocktail, popular despite the oxymoron.
One of our fabulously knowledgeable guides spoke a few words about the Earth Day movement to provide some more colour and context to the day’s activities, and a toast was raised to the planet and ongoing conservation efforts both in the Galapagos Islands and beyond.
We encourage everyone to do their part, big or small, to mark what is arguably the most important day in the calendar. This year more than any, we must recognise we are all responsible for the well-being of the planet, and any contribution, however inconsequential it may seem, can help. And of course, if there were ever any need to justify enjoying a gin detox cocktail, this is it!
See the Earth day website for further details on how to get involved.