Sign the ‘Galapagos Manifesto for the defense of the oceans’

The Royal European Academy of Doctors (RAED) has presented this Monday, November 21 at the Teatro Real in Madrid the Galapagos Manifesto for the Defense of the Oceans to collect signatures and promote the protection and conservation of this Ecuadorian archipelago punished by global warming and the arrival of plastics and microplastics that are affecting the endemic species of this unique ecosystem.

The manifesto has been presented to institutions and entities, both academic and economic, social and cultural; who have shown their support for this initiative that consists of eight points: integrated water management, education, involvement of the intellectual world, natural capital, the role of philanthropic organizations, immediate local action, international commitment and compliance with laws and involvement of international institutions; concrete proposals to overcome the current situation of destruction of the environment and, especially, of the seas due to the contamination of plastics and microplastics.

The Nobel Prize Winners and Honorary Academicians of the RAED, Erwin Neher (Medicine, 1991), Aaron Ciechanover (Chemistry, 2004), Richards Roberts (Medicine, 1993) and Richard Shrock (Chemistry, 2005) have already signed the manifesto.

Sign the manifesto here

The RAED is a public law corporation of a scientific, technical and artistic nature, whose purpose is research, study, promotion and the extension of knowledge in its broadest sense. It was established in 1914 and its objective is to generate knowledge and make it available to society to offer answers to global challenges, transfer today’s knowledge to future generations and generate debate and dialogue in the different branches of Science (Social Sciences, Sciences of Health, Human Sciences, Experimental Sciences and Technological Sciences).

Alfredo Rocafortpresident of the RAED, states that “the Galapagos, the Enchanted Islands, was the place where Darwin was inspired“. “With this initiative we ask the world to be capable of figuratively taking an evolutionary leap and going from Homo Sapiens –which, given the problems we cause on the planet, we are less and less so- to become ‘Homo Galapaguensis’a term that would represent a respectful and harmonious coexistence between human beings and the natural environment”, he maintains.

“We need this to be a new process of our evolution as a species to recover a more sustainable society, more respectful of the environment, more aware of the risks we run in the face of global warming and the consequent climate crisis, in the face of overexploitation of the seas, illegal fishing or overpopulation. It is essential to move from anthropocentrism to biocentrism to act with respect for other species. We owe it to the planet and to future generations“, Add.

Anyone who wants to can sign the Galapagos Manifesto through the platform change.org. For its part, the company Huaweicompany sponsor of the Galapagos and Quito Scientific Expedition 2022With groupingwill carry out a campaign for the signing of this important document by 100,000 students from all over the world.

The Galapagos Manifesto for the Defense of the Oceans

The Galapagos Islands are World Heritage and, without a doubt, one of the most protected biodiverse places in the world, thanks to a strict conservation policy, a series of research initiatives and an enormous awareness of its inhabitants, the result of years of education, awareness and actions, aimed at an ultimate goal: to take care of this ecological treasure and allow it to continue being the great laboratory from which Charles Darwin was inspired to change the history of biology and the concept of evolution, with his work The origin of species. Since 1959, the Government of Ecuador has kept 97% of the archipelago strictly regulated and has succeeded in protecting this unique habitat from anthropogenic pressures; it is imperative that the rest of the world join in these efforts.

The seas They are, in addition to a way of cultural and economic connection throughout history, providers of food and elements that can guarantee life on Earth, as well as generators of the appearance of atmospheric phenomena that are a source of fresh water and, therefore, Therefore, they cannot be the dumping ground for our waste products.

One of the main problems that affects the islands in a special way, due to the fragility of their biodiversity, is the accumulation of plastics and microplastics in the waters that bathe them; These represent a serious danger to the survival of marine life with the consequences that this entails. Plastic pollution is perpetual, persistent and ubiquitous. It is a growing global problem, particularly for isolated islands. Despite being one of the most virgin and rigorously protected areas in the world, the Galapagos archipelago is not immune to this increasingly severe threat.

The invention of plastic has been one of the great technological contributions of humanity and has allowed significant advances on an industrial, health, domestic and social scale. Its use has become widespread in such a way that it has become an everyday item and continues to be essential in certain sectors. But today, it is also waste management a major problem, especially the microplastics that end up in the oceans and engulfed by marine fauna. The Galapagos Islands are no stranger to this problem and its marine and terrestrial fauna and flora are being severely affected, including 53 species to date; Since humans have been the cause of the problem, we also have a responsibility to find ways to mitigate that impact.

It is obvious that we will not be able to resolve this situation in the short term. It is also evident that increased efforts are needed to address the education of the new generations and that, as a result, more and more of the world’s youth are seriously committed to combating this threat and actively participating in the search for solutions. Achieving that goal will require efforts at all levels and in all spheres.

Since it was here, in these Enchanted Islands, where Darwin was inspired, it is from where we launched this manifesto to ask the world to be able to take -figuratively- an evolutionary leap and go from Homo sapiens -that given the problems we cause on the planet, we are less and less so- to become Homo galapagensis, a term that would represent a respectful and harmonious coexistence between human beings and the natural environment. We need this to be a new process in our evolution as a species to recover a more sustainable society, more respectful of the environment, more aware of the risks we run in the face of global warming and the consequent climate crisis, in the face of overexploitation of the seas, illegal fishing or overpopulation. It is essential to move from anthropocentrism to biocentrism to act with respect for other species. We owe it to the planet and to future generations.

For all these reasons, we, the group made up of Nobel Prize winners, academics, artists and members of civil society, who have traveled to the Galapagos Islands to learn about these problems and reflect on their possible solutions, after analyzing and detecting various situations that affect the islands and, therefore, to a greater or lesser extent our habitat,

We declare:

  1. There is a need for a comprehensive management of drinking water in populationsespecially that of the islands, which forms a substantial part of the geodiversity of an area, which must have the capacity to manage their resources, with emphasis on solving the problems that affect less developed countries, making use of technologies that they already exist to help mitigate a problem that clearly compromises our survival.
  2. Education is the cornerstone to preserve our biological wealth. It is essential to maximize educational programs at all levels of the population, with special dedication to countries with fewer resources, through international aid, and the technological and communication tools at our disposal, using strategies that have given such good results in the past for other social awareness campaigns, including the consideration of the universal use of the Internet as a fundamental human right for free access to culture and training, without these depending on economic variables.
  3. It is essential that, from the world of culture, science, humanities, new technologies or the various arts, a special effort be dedicated to valuing the problem of plastic in the oceanswhich is universal, and that its languages ​​serve to efficiently sensitize the new generations about the need for substantial changes in certain life practices that collaborate day by day in the destruction of our environment.
  4. The natural capital represented by the seas and oceans must be protected with the utmost rigor through international treaties. We especially urge the United Nations, non-EU European countries, the countries that make up the Ibero-American space, multilateral organizations and very singularly the European Union -due to the powers conferred on it by the Treaty of Lisbon- to put all their efforts in the negotiations that are already underway and can crystallize, in a short time, in an international treaty that is an effective instrument of protection and control, since the time we have for solutions is running out at the same rate as the resources that we are consuming
  5. It is essential that philanthropic organizations, governments and international institutions immediately promote all kinds of initiatives that stimulate the innate creativity of human beings, to seek effective and viable solutions for the preservation of the seas and oceans, and that these solutions include technological tools that allow us to clean our seas -which represent 70% of the surface of our planet – and we have ocean currents that bring life and not garbage to our shores. For this, prevention is the key. The most effective way to reduce the effects of plastic pollution and its impact on human and animal health is to prevent it from reaching the ocean. The use of science is essential to find effective solutions.
  6. It is more necessary than ever that “glocal” effortsthat is, immediate local action with global repercussions, similar to those that have been adopted in the Galapagos Islands to mitigate the effects of these pollutants and waste in the ocean that gradually have an impact on the preservation of biodiversity, since they This will ensure that our descendants can transmit to theirs a planet that is more alive, blue and sustainable than the one our generation inherited and which, without a doubt, was made worse by their actions.
  7. It is essential that there is a international commitment, in the form of a treatywith all the necessary legal instruments, for the compliance with existing environmental protection lawsand those that can be set in motion by detecting these problems that we point out here. It is essential that a global commission be created to mitigate the effects of plastic pollution in the oceans.
  8. For this reason, we suggest that the European Union establish a special office for the preservation of the seas and sources of drinking waterwhich will be the one that channels, supervises and coordinates the efforts that must be made in the present and in the future, in order to straighten a course that for the moment is going directly to a storm whose consequences can seriously compromise our future and that of the future generations.

Signed at the University of San Francisco de Quito, Ecuador, on September 5, 2022.

We would love to give thanks to the author of this post for this awesome material

Sign the ‘Galapagos Manifesto for the defense of the oceans’