I am joining Raxa Collective from the Galapagos Islands with the objective of sharing my daily life, project initiatives and global perspectives from this small piece of land that happens to be one of the few places on Earth where sustainable development is still a feasible concept to implement.
But how did I arrive to the Evolution Paradise where Charles Darwin spent important days during his voyage of the Beagle? After getting my B.Sc. in Ecology and Natural Resources Management from Universidad San Francisco de Quito I decided to take a sabbatical year from university studies and became a naturalist guide in the Galapagos. Islanders say that when you drink water from Pelican Bay (a small Bay in Santa Cruz Islands), you will never leave the Islands again. And guess what?….. It happened to me with the exception that I left the Islands for several years before deciding that this is the place where I want to spend the rest of my life. I am lucky enough to be one of the Ecuadorians that have legal permanent residency in the Islands so I was able to act on that decision. But that is a completely different topic that will be the subject of one of my next dispatches.
During these years of absence from the Islands I got married with my best friend –whom I met at the Galapagos Islands- and we went to Costa Rica to finish our education. I got an M.B.A. with the objective of understanding how the “real world” worked. By “real” I mean the “green” world that is not described by scientific names of trees and animals but is managed and directed by the color of money. During these Costa Rica years I studied, worked and was in contact with the country’s blooming ecotourism/tourism industry.
When I returned to my country of origin –Ecuador- my natural niche was working as a bridge that linked environment with banking, economic and financial initiatives. I have now devoted more than ten years to the design, implementation and evaluation of Environmental Funds in Ecuador and several countries in Latin America and the Caribbean. These eco funds help finance environmental projects with the support of the international donor community and local financial mechanisms that recognize the value of nature and try to internalize it as a cost of the economy.
That very same nature has been great and generous with me. Its wisdom helped me to reorganize my priorities and a life that could have ended as a typical multilateral and bilateral oriented career in Washington or New York turned around and pointed to the middle of the Pacific. And from here, 1,000 miles from continental South America I am going to share the incredibly rich experience of living on this tiny point of the world.