Environmental issues are important to Cape Verde. Over 500,000 people live in this archipelago in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. Historic issues of regular droughts and the periodic risk of hunger have brought these issues to the fore in this small island country. In a country that is not wealthy in terms of natural resources and which relies very largely on tourism, the implementation of environmentally conscious schemes is a challenge that the Cape Verdeans could be excused for ignoring. However, common sense has prevailed and the need to address historic issues has prompted the country to embrace a sustainable approach.
Cape Verde is currently aiming to obtain half of its energy requirements from renewable sources, which is an exciting prospect and one that many other countries would do well to emulate. The country is already producing 25% of its electricity from wind turbines that are located on the four largest of the 10 islands. In addition, there are solar panel installations, which means that already approximately 33% of the country’s energy comes from these renewable sources. Cape Verde’s ambition is to not only to obtain all of its energy requirements from renewables, but to produce a surplus that could then be exported to other countries in West Africa.
The wildlife found in these islands is subject of protection and conservation. Possibly most notably the turtles that make their nests and lay their eggs in the sand dunes found on most of the 10 islands. In the past, turtles were hunted and slaughtered. The five species of turtle found in the waters around the islands are still endangered. There are various projects in Cape Verde, whose aim is to protect these gentle creatures.
The ‘Ethical Traveller’, which is a Earth Island Institute project, devises lists of ten countries in the Developing World that they consider to be the most ethical holiday destinations. Cape Verde is a notable example in this list; The Earth Island Institute has recently chosen Cape Verde as the Most Ethical and Forward-Thinking Country in the Developing World, and it ranks second in the Reporters Without Borders World Press Freedom Index 2016.