Today’s output from Blogistan Polytechnic Institute’s state-of-the-art HEMMED (High-Energy Meta Mojo Elucidation Detector) machine is a fishing story, or more accurately, a non-fishing story and the story of what may be one of the first casualties of fossil fuel induced climate change.

It starts with a gift … a gift to the world from the people of Kiribati:

In 2008,under the leadership of President Anote Tong, Kiribati made a grand gift to the world:it declared 150,000 square miles of its Phoenix Islands marine area a fully protected marine park, making it off limits to fishing and other extractive uses. This ocean wilderness is the size of California and has been designated a UN World Heritage Site. It has been described asone of the most pristine parts of our blue planet, with rich biodiversity including an abundance of healthy corals, big sharks, groupers, tuna, giant clams and other critters that have been depleted in much of the rest of the world.

The gift to us looks like this:

(Longer clip here)

I was drawn to this story because I was listening to it in my car and the narrator said that the archipelago that included Kiribati was so vast that if a map of it were placed over a map of the United States, one end would be on Seattle and the other would be on Boston but that the entire land mass would fit into the area of the city of Baltimore.


It is hard to imagine the vastness of the overall space and how isolated and tiny each of those islands must be. When I heard about the gift and the beauty of the islands, I wanted to learn more. (By the way Kiribati is pronounced KIRR-i-bas which, as you can imagine, made it very hard for my Googles to find).

The way that Kiribati could afford to make this gift is by selling reverse fishing licenses. Here are the nuts and bolts:

The Phoenix Islands Protected Area (PIPA) is a unique conservation partnership between the Republic of Kiribati and two non-governmental organizations, the New England Aquarium (NEAq) and Conservation International (CI). […] The core mechanism underlying the PIPA is a unique “reverse fishing license” financing program by which Kiribati will be reimbursed for the amount that they would have otherwise received from selling fishing licenses to foreign fishing operations in the PIPA.

In this Ted Talk marine scientist Greg Stone explains how the idea for PIPA came to be, and particularly how he helped make it economically viable for Kiribati:


Kiribati has another “claim to fame”: they are expected to be one of the first nations to disappear as the sea levels rise, some experts predict by mid-century. For those keeping track of “mid-century”, that is around 2050, well within the lifetimes of many of us on earth now.

They would really like our help to keep that from happening:


There is not a heck of a lot more to say. I hope it is not too late for them.

Happy Tuesday to everyone and fist bumps!

The BPI Campus Progressive agenda:
1. People matter more than profits.
2. The earth is our home, not our trash can.
3. We need good government for both #1 and #2.

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