Climate battles in Majuro

The winning University of the South Pacific team, Samuel Barton, Salote Uzumaki, and Chentelle Rogers, during last Thursday’s Climate Change Week debate. Rogers won the top debater award, which included a prize of an electric scooter. Photo: Wilmer Joel.

WILMER JOEL

The two colleges in the country, College of the Marshall Islands (CMI) and the University of the South Pacific (USP), ignited a heated debate last week that was filled with facts and fiery exchanges.

As a part of the Climate Change Week activities last Thursday at the Public School System the debate focused on the topic: “Infrastructure is critical for the government to deliver vital services to the public and protecting and conserving our natural resources for future generations is also vital for the survivability of the people. Therefore, should the RMI focused on infrastructure development or conservation.” The competitors for USP were Samuel Barton, Salote Uzumaki, and Chentelle Rogers across from their opponents CMI students Ronna Nakamura, Watak Lanwe, and Paulini Maitokana.

The judging panel was James Myazoe, II, from the Ministry of Works, Infrastructure, and Utilities, Dolores deBrum-Kattil from the Marshall Islands Conservation Society, and Yohan Senerath from the International Organization for Migration with Barab Edwards emceeing the event and Jo-Jikum Youth Coordinator Jobod Silk moderating the debate.

Although CMI fought a good fight with USP, USP took the win and raided the streets with their rally for Majuro residents to hear. Prizes were awarded at Friday’s closing program.
In related Climate Week News:

Excitement and gratification were the reaction of the crowds who were in attendance awaiting the winners of the essay and debate competition to be unveiled during the closing ceremony and art exhibition for Climate Change Week last Friday.

Like most of the Climate Week activities the turn out of this event was sparse and held at the Public School System Conference hall with the same secondary schools participants from Marshall Islands High School, Majuro Cooperative High, Assumption High, Life Skills Academy, the University of the South Pacific, and College of the Marshall Islands.
The event started off with the art exhibition hosted by Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner and Yoshiko Capelle displaying artworks made by the participants of the previous Jo-Jikum Youth Seminar, Jaki-ed mat collection, and a graphic novel of the Marshall Islands by Solomon Enos, among other displays.

The College of the Marshall Islands debate team during the Climate Change Week debate at the Public School System conference room: Ronna Nakamura, Watak Lanwe, and Paulini Maitokana. Photo: Wilmer Joel.

“Art matters if we make it matter,” said Jetnil-Kijiner, commenting on the importance of arts. Throughout the breaks and gaps in the program, Laddik in Alwal Band (LAB) kept the program mellow and entertaining. Before announcing the winners of the essay competition the hosts and the organizers of the Climate Week activities honored the participants with a certificate of recognition and gift certificate. The winners of the essays and their prizes:

• First Place Majuro Cooperative High School Haruka Saito: Bicycle and $100 gift certificate
• Second Place Marshall Islands High School Maryann Kiluwe: $75 gift certificate
• Third Place MIHS Wilmer Joel: $50 gift certificate.

Then the debate winners consisted of Samuel Barton, Salote Uzumaki, and Chentelle Rogers from the University of the South Pacific were awarded a $50 gift certificate each. Best debater award went to Rogers who was awarded a prize of an electric scooter.

Another highlight of the program was that even though those in attendance did not participate in the essay or debate competition, prizes were given by playing climate change trivia questions or picked by random through the sign up sheet according to their number.

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