Into the Islands with Dan Ho: Carved Stones and Rising Seas on Yap

Written by Lisa Hayden on . Posted in Learn

Editor’s Note: Planet Change continues our Into the Islands series today as Dan Ho, traveling only with a hand-held video camera, continues to gather stories of people, climate change and conservation throughout the Pacific Islands of Micronesia.

Click on the brief video above and come along with Dan Ho to the island of Yap during typhoon season, where he walks tree-covered paths bordered with volcanic stones that criss-cross the island.

In this episode, Dan meets Jonathan Gorong, a 20-year-old Yap resident, who has spent Saturdays working with dozens of other men to build a cultural center showcasing the traditional stone-working skills of his community. On Yap, huge, flat volcanic rocks with holes carved in the middle are used as money, even if a stone just sits in the village and never changes hands.

From Jonathan, who aspires to be a marine biologist, Dan learns about some of the threats to Yap’s cultural traditions as rising sea levels as a result of global warming begin to leave their mark on the island.

During very high tides, some of the taro patches on the coast are now inundated, and the seeds of sea grasses are washed onto parking lots. During Dan’s visit, even the work of conservation had to make accommodations for the rough weather: the floating surveillance station that monitors Yap’s Marine Protected Area or MPA, had to be towed into a sheltered bay for protection.

And from Dan, Jonathan learns how to blog. You can read about his experiences as an intern with the Young Champions of Micronesia.

Visit Planet Change to watch more of Dan Ho’s island video adventures.

Lisa Hayden is a blogger and writer for The Nature Conservancy.   

Photo by Flickr user ctsnow (Meeting house and large stone money on the island of Yap, Micronesia. Used under a Creative Commons license).


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Planet Change is a Nature Conservancy blog site designed to share stories about actions the Conservancy and others around the world are taking to fight carbon pollution and the impacts of climate change, and to help people feel the connections between climate change and their daily lives and understand actions they can take.

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