San Cristobal (Galapagos Islands) is susceptible to the extreme consequences of global climate change. Possible impacts include sea level rise and land loss, coral bleaching, loss of biodiversity and also a hit to the tourist based economy of the islands. In order to move the debate beyond the extent of anthropogenic interference, we examined the likely reality on the island in the year 2100 based upon the best peer-reviewed science.
For closer a examination on this issue, our class reached out to locals to gain first hand knowledge of previous environmental and economic changes so that we may compare what we learned in class about future projections of climate change in the Galapagos Archipelago and the small community of Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, San Cristóbal. According to our interviews and class lectures, some loss of biodiversity has already occurred within the already stressed ecosystems due to overfishing, tourism and invasive species. Without a progressive change, future losses may be accelerated by the increasing impact of climate change. Further stresses on the complex and invaluable ecosystem of the Galapagos Islands could be devastating and irreversible.
Given the small populations located in the Galapagos Islands, our study will offer only modest reductions of global greenhouse gases. Nevertheless, it is crucial that we take a closer look at the vulnerability and resilience of the Galapagos ecosystems and also the ability to adapt within the local communities. Addressing the needs of the Galapagos Islands through a comprehensive study on both the health of the local communities and the health of the ecosystems will promote greater awareness of global climate change issues on all fronts.
INTERVIEWS WITH ELDERS
Abby was born on April 28th, 2015, during the class led by Tom Mullikin on Global Climate Change at the Universidad San Francisco de Quito, Galapagos Islands campus. Project Abby was then created to examine the likely reality on the island throughout the lifetime of Abby. Project Abby 2100 therefore documents climate projections throughout the young child's lifetime. These projections were made using the best available climate models and are summarized in a 20-page technical summary where Tom Mullikin's students detail the threats to San Cristobal and the associated mitigatory techniques and how these impacts will alter the life of Abby throughout her lifetime.