Thursday, June 24, 2010

Mariana Trench in Outside Magazine

According to Outside Magazine, I am an "up-and-comer with a strong marketing instinct." Those eight words will be in every job application and every cover letter I write for the next 20 years. Thank you, Outside Magazine!

On Saturday I received my July 2010 issue of Outside Magazine. This is an issue I have been waiting for for almost a year. This is the issue that contains the story on last year's expedition to the Mariana Trench Marine National Monument.

Patrick Symmes, Outside Magazine contributing editor and the writer of this article, did a fantastic job. I thought the story was going to focus mostly on the trip we took to the monument, but he took it to the next level and interviewed Sylvia Earle and officials from the US Fish & Wildlife Service. What could have simply been a story about going to a far off place turned into a great retelling of some of the best conservation that has taken place during the last decade.

The story starts before the creation of the monument in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands and carries us through the creation of Papahanaumokuakea and the creation of Mariana Trench Marine National Monument.

I have to say, it literally hurts when the story of the monument campaign, something that took so much effort and caused so much stress, is cut down to a few paragraphs, or as in the case of MSNBC, a single sentence. One day I'll be able to let go of that; perhaps after my book is published.

The Outside Magazine website says that the magazine will be available on newsstands June 29, but I was able to find it online. I'd love to hear your reactions to the story, so please feel free to leave comments.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

FSM’s Joe Konno passes away

ALIKIR, Pohnpei (FSMIS) — Family members, friends and colleagues mourn the sudden death of Joe Konno who passed away in Guam on the night of May 24.

Konno was transiting in Guam on his way to attend a climate change conference in New Zealand. An autopsy report has been released for information to Konno’s family. However, the results have not yet been released to the public.

Konno is survived by his wife, Cely Konno, and his five children: Joseph Konno Jr., Vanessa, Jacob, Roxanne and Norma.

Konno was an acknowledged expert on environmental issues and worked tirelessly advising stakeholders regarding the impacts of climate change on our country.

After working for 10 years as the executive director and international advisor of the Chuuk Environmental Protection Agency, Konno moved with his family to Pohnpei in 2007, to work as the FSM 2nd national communication coordinator with the Office of Environment and Emergency Management.

“Joe Konno was a pillar of strength in the areas of environment in the FSM, Micronesia and Oceania. He is going to be truly missed here in Pohnpei and the region — with his big grin following an unpardoned and a genuine shot at issues; may his soul rest in peace,” said Amena Yauvoli, from the Pohnpei Office of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community.

A Mass was held on May 28 at a Catholic Church, coordinated by EEM and Micronesia Seminar. The remains of Konno will be transported to Chuuk where a final funeral service will be held.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Earth Hour in CNMI

On March 27th at 8:30pm the Division of Environmental quality is encouraging CNMI residents and businesses to turn their lights off for one hour in support of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) sponsored Earth Hour event that seeks to raise awareness and promote global action on climate change.

In 2007 the city of Sydney, Australia decided to take a stand against global climate change by turning off their lights for one hour. This was the beginning of what has become the largest world wide event calling for action on climate change: Earth Hour.

Since its beginnings in Sydney, Earth Hour has grown exponentially in its scope and world wide participation. In 2009, 4,159 cities, towns, and municipalities from 88 different countries participated in the event. 100s of millions of people turned out their lights in an effort to raise awareness and promote action on climate change. In 2010 we will add the CNMI to that voice.

Being an island nation, the CNMI will be amongst the countries most affected by climate change. Due to our low elevation, rising sea levels put out buildings, homes, and infrastructure at risk. Increasing ocean temperatures threaten the health of the coral reefs that we depend on for food, tourism, and recreation. Higher probabilities of large storms and droughts stand to greatly affect our local agriculture.

Participating in Earth Hour will help to raise local awareness about the risks and causes of climate change as well as add to the global effort to convince leaders world wide that the time for action on climate change is now.

WWF and its local DEQ partners ask for community support to help spread the word about Earth Hour and to turn lights off between 8:30pm and 9:30pm on Saturday March 27th. More information can be found at or at our local CNMI website:

Interested in volunteering to help with the Earth Hour campaign? Have any great ideas or recommendations that can add to the success of Earth Hour in the CNMI? Contact Aric Bickel at or at 664-8513.