APR 04, 2017 11:38 AM PDT

Discovering the most populous place in the world

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While this video is narrated in Spanish, here you have the best footage of the most densely populated place in the world. Santa Cruz del Islote, a small island off the Caribbean coast of Colombia, covers only one hectare of land - and yet 700 people inhabit this tiny sliver of land. About an hour from Cartagena in a rapid launch, the people who live on this tiny paradise (just look at those clear blue waters!) live in peace, but lack fresh water, which must be shipped in from mainland. Supplies, including fresh water, medicines, and toys, are often donated to the residents of the island from the national army, who visit the island every so often to provide mobile medical clinics.

However despite the lack of sanitation and fresh water, the neighborly vibe of the community makes the difference. "If you don't have food," says one older woman in the video, "your neighbor will feed you. You can go to any kitchen and they will give you food." There is virtually no violence or crime on the island and people live in harmony with each other, sharing the little they have. The key to sharing so much in such a small space, says one man, is respect.

That respect comes in terms of not only the other humans, but the environment where they live. During my trip to the island I learned how climate change is affecting the livelihoods of people firsthand. Many people depend on fishing to provide food for their families and the previously expansive reef systems surrounding the island used to inhabit more than enough fish and shellfish to catch. But fish are hard to find these days, people told me. Additionally, people worry that sea level rise with completely flood their small island. Here people are very aware of how their actions affect their environment, a lesson we could all learn.
About the Author
  • Kathryn is a curious world-traveller interested in the intersection between nature, culture, history, and people. She has worked for environmental education non-profits and is a Spanish/English interpreter.
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