Editor’s Note: In celebration of World Ocean’s Day today, Planet Change is sharing the first episode of an occasional video series produced by a one-man crew telling stories of people and conservation, as well as climate change, in island communities.
What happens when one man, armed with only with a hand-held video camera and his best instincts, ventures into the heart of Micronesian island culture?
To find out, click above to check out the pilot episode of Into the Islands with Dan Ho, a fun web series that documents the Micronesia Challenge, a conservation initiative by governments, funding partners and The Nature Conservancy to preserve the natural resources crucial to the survival of Pacific traditions, cultures and livelihoods.
The series, co-produced by The Micronesia Challenge, the Nature Conservancy and Dan Ho Kumpania, is truly, a one-man production. Dan Ho, a native of Guam, serves not only as the series’ host, but as cameraman and editor.
“I felt that since the subject matter was conservation, that it was a no-brainer for me to design a production that was conscious of its own carbon footprint,” says Dan. “Production teams use a lot of airline fuel, food, gas, paper, back-and-forth – you know – stuff! It seemed a little disingenuous to use a resource-inhaling production to tell a conservation story. If it doesn’t fit in my backpack, it doesn’t come along.”
The Micronesia Challenge is a shared commitment to conserve at least 30% of the near-shore marine resources and 20% of the terrestrial resources across Micronesia.
“It’s a huge, ambitious mission that can be very abstract to a wide audience,” Dan explains. “Into the Islands helps to distill the work of the Challenge into an engaging, easily viewed web series … We even have a cooking segment in each episode.”
Video storytelling is becoming a useful tool for rural communities to share their stories and challenges with the world. In addition to the series itself, the Micronesia Challenge web site features a unique Video Storytelling Academy in which Dan offers some insight into the production of Into the Islands.
“It’s a little bit of behind-the-scenes, a lot of shortcuts and wisdom that might be interesting to individuals and organizations who wish to document their activities in a narrative video form,” says Dan.
Author of two books and host of Discovery Channel’s The Dan Ho Show on FitTV and Discovery Health, Dan Ho has been an on-camera contributor for the Hallmark Channel, Canadian television and PBS. He recently founded the Micronesian Image Institute which is dedicated to preserving the Micronesian legacy through media.
In this first compilation of several stories (view the pilot episode above), Dan gets his marching orders, goes fishing with locals on Palau, explores the philosophy of one net fisherman, and even shares a recipe for cooking up a parrot fish on the bone (to preserve the flavor and nutrients) in his Micronesian outdoor kitchen.
Stay tuned to Planet Change for future installments of Into the Islands, exploring marine monitoring, primordial forests and the effects of sea level rise on island communities.
Lisa Hayden is a blogger and writer for The Nature Conservancy
Photo by Jez O’Hare (The Rock Islands in the Republic of Palau).
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