"I went sailing on a bright yellow outrigger canoe in the Marshall Islands in
March. On board were Alson Kelen, founder of Waan Aelõñ in Majel
of the Marshall Islands), and a group of youngsters taking part in a climate
Alson’s NGO is a hive of activity. Sailing ships, some finished and some under
construction, surround an A-frame building right between the government-owned
Marshall Islands Resort and the Ministry of Education on Majuro Atoll. Alson
acquired the land decades ago from the country’s first president, Amata Kabua,
for a symbolic dollar.
As we sailed, he told us his organisation’s work is about “empowering the young
men and women of the Marshall Islands, endowing them with the skillset
essential to bring them into the global society”. It’s keeping the traditions
of shipbuilding and wayfaring alive, while offering fossil-fuel-free transport
between the country’s islands.
As home to the world’s third-largest ship registry, the Marshall Islands is a
key player in global shipping, while rising sea levels threaten its low-lying
islands. This puts the country in a unique position in negotiations on new
shipping emission targets.
Although WAM’s yellow outriggers might not make a dent in greenhouse gas
emissions from the world’s cargo ships, these little vessels are a local
counterpoint to the Pacific state’s climate diplomacy."
*** Xanni ***
Chief Scientist, Xanadu
Partner, Glass Wings
Manager, Serious Cybernetics