In 1835, Charles Darwin
first visited the island archipelago of the Galapagos, home to the most
perfectly preserved biodiversity on the planet. It became famous as the
inspiration for his theory of evolution.
If Darwin were to
return today, he would find that the Galapagos have become a major
tourist mecca with the resulting human impact -- one aspect of evolution
he may not have anticipated.
Filmmaker Jon Bowermaster explores
the major threats to the Galapagos’ unique biodiversity, including
expanding tourism, invasive species, and illegal fishing, which is
decimating the marine preserve.
About 200,000 visitors a year now
bring in over $500 million annually. A province of Ecuador, the
islands also house over 40,000 permanent residents. Too many people are
bringing too many of their goods and species from the outside world,
threatening the future of this one-of-a-kind place. As human expansion
continues, the Galapagos is at risk of losing its most precious natural
resource - the most unique collection of endemic species anywhere in
Bowermaster provides a first-hand look at human impact
in the Galapagos and talks with a variety of people who are struggling
to balance their economic interests with the need to preserve this
unique environment -- fishermen, tourism operators, conservationists
and local residents.
The future of the Galapagos is seen by many
as a kind of barometer for the world. Will they inspire a new way of
thinking about preserving biodiversity, as they inspired Darwin’s theory
Reviews and Festivals"Highly recommended. Beautiful....Filled with breathtaking views of land, sea, and wildlife, this film could stand on its aesthetic quality alone. Add the thought-provoking concepts that human life introduces, and you have a winning program suitable for any audience."
- Library Journal
"Recommended. The film provides a balance of breathtaking scenery and disturbing footage of seals sunning on graffiti-covered rocks or Darwin's finches dead alongside a busy highway. Viewers are introduced to numerous viewpoints and issues through interviews with marine biologists, local businessmen, park rangers, government officials, farmers, and World Wildlife fund representatives. The film is appropriate for high school and college classes. Instructors could use this film as a case study for international environmental policy."
- Educational Media Reviews Online
"Galapagos Islands are in trouble due to a combination of too many visitors and pressures from increasing immigration and economic development …This short film, suitable for high school and adult audiences, does a good job of juxtaposing the impressive landscape and biodiversity that made the islands both unique and famous with the problems that have resulted."
Best Environmental Film, Vancouver Int’l Film Festival
San Francisco Ocean Film Festival
Wild & Scenic Film Festival
Blue Ocean Film Festival