Friday, March 16, 2012

Mr. Cameron Getting Seasick

I dedicate this post to Tom (last name withheld).  I ran into Tom this week and he asked me why I haven't been blogging.  It feels great to know that I still have readers out there.  So this one's for Tom.  And by the way, I write on behalf of myself and not as a representative of any organization.

I'm in the Guam airport waiting for my flight to my next destination. It is windy, windy, windy. The island is abuzz because James Cameron is on island in preparations to dive to Challenger Deep, the deepest point in the world's ocean. I don't think Mr. Cameron will be attempting his dive this week, however. It is really windy and the ocean is choppy. He's a few months early if he wanted the best weather, but I'm sure the ocean will calm down eventually.

So what should Mr. Cameron do while he waits for nice weather?

I have an idea! He should go to Saipan, gateway to the Mariana Trench Marine National Monument!

But seriously, I've been contemplating an Open Letter to James Cameron (I'm sure he'd read it!). National Geographic has been putting together excellent videos on the upcoming dive, but Youtube videos on Guam take about 15 minutes to load, even longer on Saipan, and are near impossible to watch on the outer islands. In an ironic twist that seems to happen a lot in this part of the world, people in developed countries have a better idea of what's going on here than the people actually living down the street from the harbor.

That bums me out.  Mr. Cameron is not just diving to the bottom of the trench, he's diving into the Mariana Trench Marine National Monument.  His expedition has the opportunity to bring attention not only to the area, to these islands and our surrounding ocean, but also to the plight of our marine protected areas, and our efforts to take care of our ocean.

Mr. Cameron and his Rolex sponsors have rubbed shoulders with Delegate Sablan in Washington, DC, so he has done something to reach out to us, but I wish we could get him to come to Saipan to meet the people that made the monument a reality.  So many people put their livelihoods and their good reputation on the line for the monument, and many of the supporters were pounded -- and continue to be pounded --with undeserved criticism.  Why, in just the last week, one of my "fans" sent a nasty email about me to leaders throughout Micronesia.  One day I'll probably use his letter as proof that I did something good, but in the now it is giving more grey hair.

One of the hopes and expectations was for research and exploration to come to our shores.  And while it is super exciting to see the renewed interest in the monument, it is disappointing that the people on Saipan are not a part of the adventure.

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