by Betsy Herbert, Earth Matters
published in the Santa Cruz Sentinel 07/14/2016
I extensively planned my year-long trip around the world, but considering today’s quickly changing environmental and political conditions, I still expected — and got — the unexpected. A few examples:
On April 30, 2015, I abruptly left beautiful Jasper National Park, heading for the nearest international airport — in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. After a death in my family I needed to fly back to California.
In month 10 of my yearlong trip around the world, I flew from Quito, Ecuador, 600 miles west to the tiny Pacific island of Baltra in the Galápagos Islands. From Baltra, I took a spectacular cruise on a 75-foot catamaran, exploring six of the islands.
On this eight-day voyage, I was thrilled by the unique natural beauty of this volcanic archipelago. I also learned about some egregious human impacts that have taken a big toll here and the extraordinary efforts underway to reverse them.
The Galápagos, of course, are famed as the site of Charles Darwin’s epic 1835 journey on Captain Robert Fitzroy’s HMS Beagle. The strange wildlife endemic to this place — most notably Galapágos finches and giant tortoises — started Darwin’s wheels turning about natural selection and led to his eventual publication of “The Origin of Species.” Read More