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May 24, 2016 @ 9:37 pm

Ep. 241 “Environmental Leadership and Island Sustainability in Micronesia”

Ep. 241 “Environmental Leadership and Island Sustainability in Micronesia” (hosted by Dr.  Vivian Dames and produced by Tom Maxedon  with assistance from Alan Grossman) airs 4/22/16. 

In recognition of Earth Day (April 22), this episode features three leaders in Micronesia who are widely recognized for their commitment to protection of the environment which is essential to the sustainability of our islands and of the cultural identities of our diverse indigenous peoples.   

Program guest in the first half of this episode is Tommy Remengesau Jr., President of the Republic of Palau, who was interviewed March 4 while in Guam to present the keynote address at the 6th Micronesian Non-Profit Congress hosted by Payu’ta, Inc. (“Our Umbrella”, in Chamorro).  

Remengesau is the eighth president of the Republic of Palau and the first Palauan to be elected president three times. He is running for re-election in November 2016.  In 2007, Time magazine named him one of the heroes of the environment for initiatives such as the Micronesian Challenge. In 2014, the United Nations Environmental Programme, awarded him with its top accolade -- The Champion of the Earth award for his leadership in strengthening Palau’s economic resilience through national initiatives to protect its biodiversity.  Also in 2014, the environmental organization, Rare, presented Remengesau with its first Inspiring Conservation Award. President Remengesau is now spearheading an historic effort to establish a marine sanctuary covering 80% of Palau’s territorial waters, providing even greater protection for Palau’s environment while further enhancing Palau’s tourism revenues. 

This first segment concludes with the audio track of a video entitled “Modern Day Uab” (GEF /Pacific IWRM Project/Roll’em Productions, Palau/Secretariat of the Pacific Community) which is about a Palauan legend that mirrors what is happening today globally and in the Pacific Island region and the steps that Palau is taking to conserve natural resources for future generations. 

In the second half we feature the welcome address of Dr. Robert Underwood followed by the keynote speech of Tony deBrum at the seventh regional conference on island sustainability co-hosted by the University of Guam (UOG) and the University of Alaska- Fairbanks that was held April 11-15 on Guam.  

Dr. Underwood, UOG President and former Guam Delegate, established the Center for Island Sustainability (CIS) in 2009 which is becoming a focal institute for adapting and modeling sustainable technologies that meet the needs of island communities.  Dr. Underwood also seeks to promote change by “leading change” through an array of Go Green initiatives on the UOG campus.  

Tony de Brum  has dedicated a lifetime of public service in pursuit of an independent, secure and sustainable Marshall Islands and has courageously advanced his people’s vision of a world free of nuclear weapons.  As the former Foreign Minister, he and his legal team took the unprecedented step of filing lawsuits against all nine nuclear weapons states in the International Court of Justice in 2014, seeking to hold them to account for their failure to abide by the provisions of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and customary international law.  For this work, they have been nominated for the 2016 Nobel Peace Prize. Also, as architect of the Majuro Declaration for Climate Leadership, adopted in September 2013, de Brum has also been instrumental in securing the commitment of Pacific Island States to adopt concrete measures to combat climate change.

This episode concludes with the poem “Tell Them” composed and performed by Marshall Islander Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner at the opening ceremony of the United Nations Climate Summit in New York City in 2014 and at the Paris Climate Change Summit in 2015. 

[For related episodes, see Ep. 203 (10/10/14) “Marshallese Poet Speaks To World Leaders at U.N. Climate Summit” and Ep. 233 (1/5/16)  “From the Front Line on Climate Change - Micronesia”.]  

Special thanks to Jonas Macapinlac and Michelle Conerly, UOG Office of Integrated Marketing and Communication, for providing these selected audio recordings from the 2016 Island Sustainability Conference .    

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