We must never forget the inhabitants of the Pacific Islands that suffered as part of the worldwide nuclear testing programmes. Many of these islanders lost their homes and still continue to suffer the after effects in the same way as the servicemen who participated in the tests. One such organisation who are helping the islanders is Living Islands.
Living Islands is a non-political, non religious registered not-for-profit organisation of volunteers committed to creating self-sufficient Pacific Islands that will serve as an example to communities all around the world.
Founded by Kianna Angelo who was born in the Republic of Marshall Islands and was adopted and raised in America since her earliest childhood. In the last decade, Kianna has reconnected with her Marshallese heritage.
Continuing her passion for serving communities led Kianna to found the international 501(c)3 non-profit organization Living Islands in 2013 and co-founded the social justice organization COFA Alliance National Network in 2014. She continues to serve as Executive Director for Living Islands and as Board Member for CANN.
Kianna is a strong believer in international community work and a fierce supporter of the United Nations and is always working on connecting her organization with partners across the globe.
Kianna currently lives in Lake Oswego, Oregon, with her 4 children and Danish husband Jesper, that proudly supports her work every day. Kianna is committed to her life goal of making the world better through developing and building international communities and relationships.
Living Islands have programs in 5 categories: Health, Education, Clean Water, Environmental Issues and Climate Action. Their programs range from local awareness in the United States to critical needs in the Micronesian Region.
One such project was the Outrigger project. Kianna talks about Micronesian issues and the Outrigger project in this video:
Life on the Marshall Islands is inextricably bound to the ocean. Yet for decades, the nation’s ocean and beaches have been subjected to an influx of external pollution, environmental neglect and the full impact of global climate change.
A lack of adequate waste management infrastructure and awareness contributes to local pollution; ocean currents carry trash to the islands from as far away as Australia; over-fishing depletes vital sources of food and livelihoods, and warming temperatures change the very nature of the ocean on which the Marshallese community depends.
Yet even as our oceans face a seemingly insurmountable crisis, youth in the Marshall Islands and around the world are fighting back.
In 2017, with rising urgency on all sides, the United Nations convened the first ever Oceans Conference in New York. In a bold statement to world leaders, nations and organisations from around the world offered their voluntary commitments to the conference - promises of concrete action and support for the sustainable future of our oceans.
Having working closely with the Marshallese community for years, they have seen both the mounting crisis in our oceans, and the deep passion and ingenuity of our youth to address challenges.
When the call for action came from the United Nations, they began working in earnest with our partners throughout the Marshallese community to devise an effective way to incorporate youth, indigenous culture, and conservation sciences into building a sustainable future for our oceans.
Living Islands created the Junior ocean Ambassadors Camp to empower youth in the Marshall Islands and across the Pacific to be powerful advocates for the future of our oceans.
The camp will facilitate direct, hands-on experiences to immerse students in the challenges facing our oceans and foster a personal dedication to creating solutions. Hosted in Arno, Arno in the Marshall Islands, the inaugural year of the Junior Ocean Ambassadors Camp will bring 30 local students together for two weeks of training, deep learning, community-building and inspiration.
By the end of two weeks, students will be well equipped to lead the charge for ocean conservation at home and around the world.
It is easy to forget the native people of the islands in the Pacific, their lives were completely torn apart when the superpowers destroyed their islands. These beautiful tropical islands, full of wildlife, sea-life and beautiful coral reefs were irreversibly damaged.
Whilst the Nuclear Veterans Worldwide site seeks recognition and provides information for Veterans, organisations like Living Islands are desperately important for the continued development of the people of the Pacific Islands. Runit dome is slowly giving in to the Ocean as reported in a previous blog.
The work that is undertaken by this organisation is desperately needed by the Marshallese people, Kianna, Jesper and the team put in an unbelievable amount of effort at no cost. Their research programs include a historical photo library, habitation survey and marine ecology monitoring.
Living Islands are looking for support for their programs, you can help them by donating to their cause by visiting their website www.livingislands.org. The pacific islands were used and abused by the UK and US Governments with no regard for the inhabitants or the eco-systems.
If you are looking for a good cause to support who are making a difference to the planet, contact Kianna. For companies who would like to sponsor or make a corporate donation, help Living Islands make a difference.
Alan Owen, Chairman of the British Nuclear Test Veterans Association, met Kianna and Jesper whilst attending the National Association of Atomic Veterans conference in Portland, Oregon in 2018. He said:
"Kianna and Jesper are two of the most dedicated people that I have ever met, their passion for the Pacific Islands is incredible. With further financial support, their organisation could help so many more people who have been disregarded by the US and UK Governments. If anyone can help them in their projects, please contact them."
The nuclear testing programme has had an effect on the whole world and we must unite in raising awareness and helping each other as much as possible to gain recognition for the Veterans and help organisations like Living Islands to provide essential programs.