'The Obesity Epidemic in the Pacific Islands' an article by Michael Curtis, Journal of Development and Social Transformation


The Obesity Epidemic in the Pacific Islands Michael Curtis United States Department of Army Some of the highest levels of obesity in the world are found in the island populations of Oceania. Rates of obesity as high as 75% have been reported in Nauru, Samoa, American Samoa, the Cook Islands, Tonga and French Polynesia. The factors for this epidemic of obesity are a dramatic decrease in physical activity and a dependence on a Western diet. The traditional foods of the islands such as fresh fish, meat and local fruits and vegetables have been replaced by rice, sugar, flour, canned meats, canned fruits and vegetables, soft drinks and beer. The total population of the 21 island nations, territories and commonwealths in the Oceania area is just under 2 million. In a world of 6.3 billion, it is difficult for countries as small as Nauru (pop. 10,000) to compete for health care aid. Such invisibility is just one of the significant barriers that these tiny nations face as they struggle to survive in the new millennium. Progress in the health care sector is hindered by general under funding, concentration in urban areas and on end-stage diseases, and by a dearth of adequately trained personnel, especially in health services planning, management and administration. Policies are necessary to encourage a movement away from Western foods to a traditional diet low in fat and calories. Pacific Islanders are treated as second-class citizens similar to Native Americans. Moreover, Islanders are displaced persons attempting to adapt to new social and ecological environments. Furthermore, their small numbers and ethnic diversity result in political factionalism and contribute to their invisibility in the polycultural health care setting, as well as the society at large (Fitzpatrick-Nietschmann, 1983, p. 851). The Global Epidemic of Obesity According the World Health Organization (WHO), there are more than one billion overweight adults in the world. At least 300 million are considered obese. Obesity is defined as a condition in which the body contains an excess of body fat. The major health risks associated with obesity include: diabetes, cardiovascular disease, hypertension, stroke and certain types of cancers. The primary causes of obesity are usually said to be the consumption of too much fatty and sugary foods and too little physical activity. At present, the level of obesity around the world ranges from below 5% in China, Japan and certain African nations, to over 75% in urban American Samoa (WHO, 2003a). In virtually all regions around the world, increases in prevalence of obesity have been the norm. For instance, obesity has more than doubled in the United Kingdom since 1980 and the prevalence for males in Japan has doubled since 1982 (International Obesity Task Force, 2004). The people of the Pacific have some of the highest rates in the world, ranging from 43% among Fijian males to nearly 88% among Samoan females (Hughes, 2003). Oceania and Invisibility The geographic area of Oceania contains over 10,000 islands and covers an area in the Pacific Ocean of 30 million square miles, from Midway Island (in the Hawaiian chain) in the North to Pitcairn (Easter) Island in the East, Australia and New Zealand in the South and Papua New Guinea to the West. The three geographic/ethnographic areas within Oceania are Polynesia, Melanesia and Micronesia. Polynesia covers a triangular swath of the Pacific from Midway to Pitcairn to New Zealand. Melanesia includes the present countries of Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Tuvalu, New Caledonia and Fiji. Finally, Micronesia includes the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), the Republic of Palau, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Nauru, Kiribati and the U.S. territory of Guam. All of the islands of Oceania have been either colonized or “protected” since World War Two by the United States, Australia, New Zealand, France or the United Kingdom. All are still attached in some way, whether as colonies or simply populations economically dependent on aid. The island economies flounder even today, largely because of feeding programs instituted after World War Two that eliminated the need for domestic fishing and farming. Today most people work for island governments funded in large part by foreign sources (Fitzgerald, 1985). The U.S. Government Accounting Office issued a report in 1983 stating the Federated States of Micronesia and the Marshall Islands faced serious obstacles to becoming economically self-sufficient, such as inadequate planning for and maintenance of infrastructure and low savings levels. The report also noted that both governments lacked sufficient managerial and technical expertise, as well as appropriate management systems to overcome such obstacles (GAO, 1983). The economic growth potential of these countries, including their ability to generate adequate revenue to replace U.S. assistance is limited by factors such as geographic isolation, limited natural resources and the large and costly government structure that the United States established (Hezel, 1984). The total population of the 21 nations, territories and commonwealths in this area, excluding Australia, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea is just under 2 million. In a world of 6.3 billion, it is easy to see how countries as small as Nauru (pop. 10,000) - geographically isolated from the rest of the world by vast amounts of ocean, virtually devoid of natural resources, and economically dependent - are forgotten or simply ignored by the nations of the West. Such invisibility is just one of the significant barriers that these tiny nations face as they Journal of Development and Social Transformation 37 The Obesity Epidemic in the Pacific Islands struggle to ensure the health of their citizens in the new millennium. Obesity among Pacific Islanders The diseases associated with obesity have especially affected the inhabitants of the Pacific Islands, with some of the highest levels of obesity in the world found in the region. For example, the rates of overweight and obese persons have been reported to be as high as 75% in the populations of Nauru, Samoa, American Samoa, the Cook Islands, Tonga, and French Polynesia (Hughes, 2003). More prevalent in urban areas, the health problems are less common in areas that have had little contact with Western civilization (Prior in Ringrose & Zimmet, 1979). In fact, Polynesians and Micronesians that have maintained a traditional diet have diabetes rates lower than those of Western populations. For thousands of years, the inhabitants of the Pacific Islands were isolated from the rest of the world, allowing their social, cultural and economic patterns to develop untouched (Zimmet, 1979). When the Europeans began arriving in the 17th and 18th centuries, the people of the Pacific were described as “strong, muscular and mostly in good health” (Hughes, 2003). The health of these islanders was community-based and “a shared sense of well-being” permeated the collective. Food had “symbolic and economic importance” as opposed to a physiological or biological imperative. This concept was epitomized in the aristocracy of these island populations and, as a result, they were usually the largest people in the community (Hughes, 2003). Diamond offers a different slant on the history of obesity in the Pacific. He notes that ancient Pacific Islanders were highly skilled in ocean travel and “often undertook inter-island canoe voyages lasting several weeks” (2003, p. 601). Many died en route, but the most obese survived. He surmises this is why Pacific Islanders are so large today. Zimmet (1979, p.145) identifies two “disastrous waves” of diseases previously unknown to the people of the Pacific. First, there were the communicable diseases, which came as early as 1521, coinciding with Magellan’s voyage around the world. The second wave is that of the chronic non-communicable diseases, such as diabetes and hypertension that accompanied the introduction of Western habits in the culture. Everything changed after World War Two. The military, with bases in and around the Pacific Islands, “parachuted” the region into the 20th century in the span of a few years. For Western peoples, there was a gradual acclimation to the technology and scientific accomplishments of the 20th century. For Pacific Island populations, on the other hand, the process was “telescoped into a period of less than 30 years” (Zimmet, 1979, p.145). As the indigenous island populations have replaced their traditional subsistence style of living with a more modern way of life, dramatic changes have occurred. Specifically, traditional foods of past generations have been supplanted with food purchased from Western nations, such as the United States, Australia, New Zealand and Japan (Ringrose and Zimmet, 1979). The traditional foods of the islands such as fresh fish, meat, and local fruits and vegetables have been replaced by rice, sugar, flour, canned meats, canned fruits and vegetables, soft drinks and beer. The diet is high in calories and with little nutritional value (Zimmet, 1979). Many Pacific Islanders have come to depend on food imported from abroad. Consequently, commercial ventures on the islands tend to stock these high-fat, energy-dense foods. Over time, purchasing these imported goods has become a sign of social status in the community and traditional foods have decreased in importance. Even before World War Two, missionary wives and other women from the West were strongly advising the women of the Pacific on the “proper way” to feed their families. The island women were taught to “bake tarts and serve a roast beef dinner in order to keep their families healthy” (Pollock, 1992, p.182). The ingredients for these meals could only be obtained from sources outside the islands, and so a situation of “dietary colonialism” resulted (Pollock, 1992, p.182). Consequently, food imports, as a proportion of total imports, has risen to around 25% for many island nations (Pollock, 1992). Further, the increasing use of modern technology and the shift from agriculture-based occupations to civil servant office work has resulted in a sharp decrease in the day-to-day physical activity of many Pacific Islanders (WHO, 2002). The significant changes connected with the transition to a cash economy have also brought great stress to the people. The desk jobs the majority of the populations occupy contrast greatly with their traditional way of life. Further, these new nations must now compete with and adapt to the new global economy and participate in the complicated politics of the world (Zimmet, 1979, p. 148). With the institution of a modern way of life, they have traded in their canoes for motorized boats and have become accustomed to using cars instead of walking (Zimmet, Seluka, et. al, 1977). Rise in Prevalence of Diabetes One of the most prevalent chronic diseases associated with obesity is diabetes. At its current rate of growth, diabetes could become one of the most common diseases and one of the most serious health problems in the world (Zimmet, Alberti, & Shaw and Zimmet in Diamond, 2003). It takes only 20 years for diabetes to become prevalent in populations that adopt a lifestyle that consists of high-calorie foods and little or no exercise (Levitt et al. and Campbell in Diamond, 2003). Diabetes was most likely a common disease in Oceania only after World War Two (West, 1974) with the introduction of Western food brought in by the United States and other Western countries. A high prevalence of diabetes in Nauru The Micronesian island nation of Nauru has been singled out for study repeatedly because diabetes is highly 38 prevalent among its inhabitants. The island is only 8 1⁄2 square miles, making Nauru the world’s smallest republic. The Nauruans were once among the richest in the world, due to royalties from phosphate mining (Diamond, 2003). Mining has decreased since 1989, reducing per capita income to less than $2,000 in 2003 (CIA World Fact Book, 2003). Similar to other populations in the Pacific, the traditional lifestyle on Nauru was based on agriculture and fishing. Although the people experienced frequent periods of drought and starvation because of poor soil on the island, early European visitors noted that “Nauruans were plump, and that they admired big, fat people and put girls on a diet to fatten them and so make them more attractive” (Diamond, 2003, p. 600). Before and during World War Two, the Japanese occupied Nauru and the people were forced into servitude. Part of the legacy of this period was an adoption of non-native eating habits. After the war, they became increasingly dependent on imported food, abandoned agriculture almost entirely and came to rely on motorized transportation as a replacement for walking. Today, the Nauruans are the “most obese and have the highest blood pressure of all peoples in the Pacific” (Diamond, 2003, p. 600). Nearly all food consumed by the Nauruans is imported from Australia, the United States and Japan (Ringrose and Zimmet, 1979). In 1975, Zimmet and Taft (1978) tested 221 Nauruan subjects over 15 years of age. They found a prevalence rate of diabetes of 34.4% (an additional 11.3% were considered borderline diabetic), with a peak prevalence of 78.6% in females 50 to 58 years. Zimmet, Arblaster and Thoma (1978) performed a follow-up study. A population of 417 Nauruans were examined and the researchers found a diabetes prevalence of 44% in those over the age of 20, over “20 times that of Caucasian populations and three times that of other urbanized Polynesian and Micronesian groups” (Zimmet, Arblaster and Thoma, 1978, p. 145). The prevalence increased with age in both males and females, with a maximum of 82.4% in males 50-59 and 75% in females over 60 (Zimmet, Arblaster and Thoma, 1978, p. 144). Subsequently, Ringrose and Zimmet conducted another follow-up study in which 77 of the 417 Nauruans were interviewed about their diet. They found that the Nauruan people had “irregular eating habits” consisting of three high-caloric meals per day, supplemented with frequent in-between meal snacking (1979, p. 1338). Few vegetables were eaten. The average caloric intake for males 20-39 exceeded 8,700 calories. Ringrose and Zimmet hypothesized that Polynesians and Micronesians (but not the Melanesians) have a “hereditary susceptibility to diabetes (i.e. a diabetic genotype) with is unmasked by the change in life-style” (Ringrose & Zimmet, 1979, pp. 1339-40). James Neel proposed the existence of certain metabolically “thrifty” genes that utilize food more efficiently, causing rapid weight gain in times of plenty, allowing the person to more easily survive periods of famine. Such a gene would be advantageous to populations that experience alternating periods of feast and famine that often occurred in Oceania due to natural disasters, changing weather patterns, and relative isolation from other islands in the vast Pacific. However, once such a population becomes sedentary and reliant on a stable, imported, high-calorie, high-fat food supply, obesity and diabetes increases in prevalence (Diamond, 2003). Economics and the choice of diet: Tonga Like the Nauruans, the people of the Polynesian country of Tonga suffer from high rates of diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease. In a study of diet and health in Tonga, Evans, Sinclair, Fusimalohi and Liava’a found that a “poor diet is not simply a health or health-related issue, it is also economic” (2001, p. 857). Respondents were asked to rate certain foods, both traditional and imported. Even though traditional foods were reported to be preferred over such foods as mutton flaps, bread and imported chicken parts, the study participants continued to eat the less desirable foods at a higher rate. The indication was that “preference has little to do with consumption patterns” (Evans et al., 2001, p. 857). The analysis indicated a “considerable sophistication and awareness” of the importance of good nutrition and a “relatively accurate perception of the nutritional value of the foods they consume.” These perceptions, however, have not reduced their appetite for imported fatty foods (Evans et al., 2001, p. 858). Despite the success of education programs in increasing awareness of what nutritional foods contribute to a healthy diet, Pacific Islanders nonetheless choose to eat foods with “dubious” nutritional value because of cost and availability. In other words, “they make economically rational, but nutritionally detrimental decisions to consume certain foods” (Evans et al., 2001, pp. 856-7). The increase of imports over the years has affected Tonga’s balance of trade so much that the trade deficit has increased from T$ 56 million in 1989 to T$ 96 million in 1999 (Evans et al., 2001). Challenges to Health Policy Implementation Big is beautiful Culturally, large physical size is considered a mark of beauty and social status in many Pacific Island countries. At the community and policy making level, there is resistance to the view that obesity is a health problem. Generally, Pacific Islanders have larger frames and more muscle than Asians and Europeans, so the challenge for the Pacific Islanders becomes understanding the difference between being big as a result of hereditary factors versus as a result of overeating. Complicating the task for health officials and policy proponents is the common attitude among Pacific Islanders that obesity traditionally has been a sign of high social position and wealth (Ringrose and Zimmet, 1979, p. 1340). Since a high value was placed on a well- fed person, a commitment was made to prepare large quantities of foods for the traditional leaders and great effort was required to feed them (Pollock, 1992). Journal of Development and Social Transformation 39 The Obesity Epidemic in the Pacific Islands Cultural identity Pacific Islanders have strong ethnic identities that incorporate a mix of traditional native island heritage with Western-influenced contemporary life-styles and beliefs. Geographic dispersion in the vast Pacific Ocean has helped to create approximately 265 languages among the two million inhabitants of these islands. Cultural identity, despite occupation and colonization over the past one hundred years by Westerners, is important to these peoples. Fitzpatrick-Nietschmann cautions, “Members of the different groups may appear similar. Their differences are important to them, and should be kept in mind by medical personnel providing them health services” (1983, p. 851). Availability of health care While most Pacific Islanders have access to health care, most do not take advantage of the services. Fitzpatrick- Nietschmann states two main reasons for this. The first has to do with cultural differences. The Western view of health is that of individual responsibility for health. The medical profession or the state does not drive the behavior of individual choice. This is a cultural imperative the Pacific Islander may not share. Second, socioeconomic barriers exist that hinder proper medical care for Island peoples (Fitzpatrick-Nietschmann, 1983, pp. 850-1). Moreover, there is not much money for rural health needs (Bloom, 1986, pp. 39-40) and a scarcity of trained health personnel. Beyond this, access to medical care in some parts of the Pacific Islands is limited as transportation from island to island is costly and time consuming (Fitzpatrick-Nietschmann, 1983). Read full article here:http://www.maxwell.syr.edu/uploadedFiles/moynihan/dst/curtis5.pdf Journal of Development and Social Transformation 41

41 Artists withdraw from 19th Biennale of Sydney due to expanding management of Manus Island and Nauru immigration detention centres

Tuesday, February 25, 2014 Statement of Withdrawal from 19th Biennale of Sydney STATEMENT OF WITHDRAWAL 26 February 2014 We are five of the 41 artists - Libia Castro, Ólafur Ólafsson, Charlie Sofo, Gabrielle de Vietri and Ahmet Öğüt - who signed a letter to the Board of the Biennale of Sydney in relation to their founding sponsor, Transfield. We make this statement in light of Transfield’s expanding management of Manus Island and Nauru immigration detention centres. We act in the wake of the death of Reza Berati from inside Manus Island detention centre on February 17. We are in urgent political circumstances with a government that is stepping up their warfare on the world’s most vulnerable people daily. We have received indications from the Board of the Biennale and Transfield that there will be no movement on their involvement in this issue. In our letter to the Board we asked for action and engagement, but we are told that the issue is too complex, and that the financial agreements are too important to re-negotiate. And so we make this statement from a critical juncture of political urgency and artistic autonomy. This is a statement of our withdrawal from the 19th Biennale of Sydney. We have revoked our works, cancelled our public events and relinquished our artists’ fees. While we have sought ways to address our strong opposition to Australia’s mandatory detention policy as participants of the Biennale, we have decided that withdrawal is our most constructive choice. We do not accept the platform that Transfield provides via the Biennale for critique. We see our participation in the Biennale as an active link in a chain of associations that leads to the abuse of human rights. For us, this is undeniable and indefensible. Our withdrawal is one action in a multiplicity of others, already enacted and soon to be carried out in and around the Biennale. We do not propose to know the exact ethical, strategic or effective action to end mandatory detention, but we act on conscience and we act with hope. We have chosen to redirect our energies into multiple forms of action: discussions, workshops, publications, exhibitions and works that will continue to fuel this debate in the public sphere. In this, we stand with our local and international communities that are calling for the closure of Australia’s offshore detention facilities. We ask for their active support in keeping this issue at the forefront of our minds, in the warmest part of our hearts, in the most urgent of discussions and in the most bold of actions, until the detention centres on Manus Island and Nauru close. We withdraw to send a message to the Biennale urging them, again, to act ethically and transparently. To send a message to Transfield that we will not add value to their brand and its inhumane enterprise. Finally, and most importantly, we withdraw to send a message to the Australian Government that we do not accept their unethical policy against asylum seekers. We ask that the Biennale of Sydney acknowledge the absence of our work from the exhibition. As the Biennale has offered to provide a platform and support for our dissent, we request that our withdrawal be registered on the Biennale website and signposted at the physical site of our projects. In the pervasive silence that the Government enforces around this issue, we will not let this action be unnoticed. We act in solidarity with all those who are working towards a better future for asylum seekers. We hope that others will join us. Libia Castro Ólafur Ólafsson Charlie Sofo Gabrielle de Vietri Ahmet Öğüt Contact: 2014workinggroup@gmail.com


Mingingo Island, Lake Victoria

Migingo is a tiny 2,000-square-metre island, about half the size of a football pitch, in Lake Victoria. Two Kenyan fishermen, Dalmas Tembo and George Kibebe, claim to have been the first inhabitants on the island. When they settled there in 1991, it was covered with weeds and infested with birds and snakes. Joseph Nsubuga, a Ugandan fisherman, says he settled on Migingo in 2004, when all he found on the island was an abandoned house. Subsequently, other fishermen — from Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania — came to the island because of its proximity to fishing grounds rich with Nile perch. An unusual claim in 2009 by some Kenyan fishermen was that since none of the Nile perch breed in Uganda (the nearest Ugandan land and nearest Ugandan freshwater is 85 kilometres away), then the fish somehow "belonged to Kenyans". The island has a population of about 131 (according to 2009 census), mostly fishermen and fish traders, who are served by four pubs, a number of brothels, and a pharmacy on the island. A rocky and rugged piece of land with little vegetation, Migingo is one of three small islands in close proximity. The much larger Usingo Island is 200 metres to the east of the small white rectangle that is Migingo, and Pyramid Island, the largest of the three, is 2 kilometres due south of Migingo and 11 kilometres north of the Tanzanian border in Lake Victoria.


Artist Jorge Manes Rubio contributes to the Nauru Project


The Amazing History of the Republic of Nauru Jorge Mañes new social design project about the island of Nauru reveals one of the saddest and most unbelievable recent histories of what could and should be paradise. This time Mañes has taken his very social approach to design to tackle the fascinating - albeit devastating - history of the little-heard-of island in the South Pacific, Nauru. The project is organized by DIMAD, Madrid’s design association and is being held at the Matadero Cultural Centre. “They asked me to do something about travelling and I immediately thought about Nauru,” Mañes says. “It is an amazing story and hardly anybody has even heard about it.” The result is part fact, part fiction, which reflects the disbelieving reactions Mañes received when trying to share the island’s facts with his family and friends. “Nobody even believed me,” he says. “They didn’t think it could possibly be true. So I have used facts and fantasy to try to encourage people to dig further and find out for themselves just what happened there.” Nauru was once upon a time a true paradise with less than 1000 inhabitants who mostly fished to survive. In the late 19th century the Germans colonized the place. After World War I it became a League of Nations mandate administered by Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom. The Japanese occupied the island during WWII and then the Americans bombed it. In 1968 Nauru finally gained its independence and became a Republic. Thanks to its rich phosphate deposits it was by then the (per capita) richest country in the world. Phosphates come from bird droppings and birds had always migrated to the island in vast numbers. “It was great that the people of Nauru were able to start running their own country and controlling their own resources,” Mañes says, “but the mining was already underway and soon corruption, bad investment decisions and no environmental vision joined forces to create the island’s fate.” Eventually all the natural resources were depleted and the population of 9 000 was left destitute and bankrupt. “It is extraordinary,” Mañes says. “They went from so rich to so poor very quickly. The lesson learned is just how important sustainability really is.” In the exhibition, Mañes presents a diorama, a book and a flag that each play with the viewer’s perception. They flit from seeing the island as a utopia to a disaster area until its fictitious future imagines a once-again paradise overtaken by birds that even have their own flag. Given a second chance the island is run in a less ambitious, more sustainable way. Below is a letter written by a former president of Nauru, Marcus Stephen. It was published in the New York Times. Nauru, 18 July 2011 I forgive you if you have never heard of my country. At just 8 square miles, about a third of the size of Manhattan, and located in the southern Pacific Ocean, Nauru appears as merely a pinpoint on most maps — if it is not missing entirely in a vast expanse of blue. But make no mistake; we are a sovereign nation, with our own language, customs and history dating back 3,000 years. Nauru is worth a quick Internet search, I assure you, for not only will you discover a fascinating country that is often overlooked, you will find an indispensible cautionary tale about life in a place with hard ecological limits. Phosphate mining, first by foreign companies and later our own, cleared the lush tropical rainforest that once covered our island’s interior, scarring the land and leaving only a thin strip of coastline for us to live on. The legacy of exploitation left us with few economic alternatives and one of the highest unemployment rates in the world, and led previous governments to make unwise investments that ultimately squandered our country’s savings. I forgive you if you have never heard of Nauru but you will not forgive yourselves if you ignore our story. (Flag design together with Gianluca Tesauro) www.seethisway.com http://www.seethisway.com/seethisway/Nauru.html

Peter Hansen contributes an unpublished excerpt from his book 'The Nauruan' to the Nauru Project



Imagine living your first forty years in the twentyone square kilometers of Nauru only to live the next twenty years travelling through the remaining countries of the world. That is what happens to Kinza Kun,the main character in 'The Nauruan' by Swedish author Peter Hansen. Is the world big enough for this Kinza Kun, Elvis Presley, the Pope, a Nepalese goddess and a mysterious man dressed only in white clothes? What happens if you collide with the Wailing Wall? Why should you not eat croissants in Turkey? And how on earth could Kinza float like a butterfly up from a car in Burundi? The Nauruan, a book still looking for a publisher or a sponsor, naturally includes frequent episodes from Nauru. When exploring the world Kinza recalls his homeland and keeps in contact with a friend back home. One day the friend no longer answers the phone…

"En svart noddy seglade högt över havet. Stillahavsön under dess vingar hade tilldelats sina rikedomar av havet och himlen. Avfall som levererats från fåglar, skurar och vågstänk hade förvandlats till fosfat. Det hade utvunnits, exporterats och använts för att få andra länder att gro. I samma veva underminerade Nauru sig självt och riskerade att sjunka i det stigande havets kaos. Samma kaos som hade skapat ön var på väg att förgöra den. Kokosnötter kunde fortfarande exporteras i viss skala men var blott provisoriska livbojar. Kinza Kun kisade i solen. På marken intill honom stod en vattentät ryggsäck. I den fanns kläder, hygienartiklar, en svart bok och en världsatlas som varit en fyrtioårspresent tre veckor tidigare. Inpackade i atlasen låg hans första pass och ett par visumhandlingar. Fem meter framför honom stod en skylt som varnade för att lösspringande kreatur som befann sig på flygremsan vid fel tidpunkt skulle skjutas. Kinza visste att hans lilla ö inte var hela världen. Tiden var kommen att se sig om. Han såg upp på den himmel mot vilken han snart skulle lyfta."

"A black noddy sailed far above the ocean. The Pacific island under its wings had been awarded its wealth by the ocean and the sky. Litter delivered from birds, showers and waves had transformed itself to phosphate. It had been mined, exported and used to make other countries flourish. Meanwhile Nauru undermined itself and increased the risk of going under in the rising chaos of the ocean. The chaos that once created the island was about to destroy it. Coconuts could still be exported at a certain amount but they were merely temporary lifebuoys. Kinza Kun peered in the sunshine. Next to him was a waterproof rucksack. It contained clothes, a toiletry bag, a black book and an atlas that had been a gift for Kinza´s fortieth birthday three weeks earlier. Inside the atlas was Kinza´s first passport and a couple of visa documents. Five meters ahead of him there was a sign telling loose cattle that they would be shot if running around on the airstrip at a bad time. Kinza knew that his little island was not the whole of the world. The time had come to explore. He looked up at the sky towards which he was about to lift."

The author´s email: ph78@mail.com


Carrying the nation's hopes: Meet the weightlifter who is the ONLY Olympics athlete from his tiny country

The entire nation of Nauru measures a minuscule 8.1 square miles, the excited 9,000 population is hoping to win the title

ONLY 9,000 people live in the Republic of Nauru, a tiny Pacific island where bingo night in a rundown hall is the biggest social extravaganza of the week. But while the entire nation measures a minuscule 8.1 square miles, the excited population is hoping to win a massive title at the Olympics. When it comes to having the hopes of your compatriots on your shoulders, weightlifter Itte Detenamo really raises the bar. Itte, 25, will be Nauru’s only competitor at the Games. And it’s the only one-man team. The one advantage of being all on his own is that there has been no debate about who carries the flag at the opening ceremony. So there will be no mistaking Itte when he takes that proud walk at the Olympic Stadium on July 27. Then again, at 5ft 9in and almost 25 stone, he would stand out from the crowd anyway. And he’s not just coming to make up the numbers. He has already smashed the Commonwealth record in his weight category and is being tipped for an Olympic medal. It would make him the biggest hero in the history of the world’s smallest island nation, which is situated in the middle of the Pacific around 2,500 miles north east of Australia. Speaking from his training base in New Caledonia, in the South Pacific, Itte said: “My preparation is going well and I am really looking forward to London. “I have never been to England, only Paris, but I have heard so much about it. It is a beautiful country and I want to go sightseeing after the Games. “It is funny being a one-man team. There is a lot of pressure because I am carrying the hopes of all the people back home. “I have eight sisters and one brother, and they will be watching with my mum, Viola, listening on radio and following the competition via email. They will want to know everything. “My dad, Vinson, is president of the Commonwealth Weightlifting Association so I hope he will be there in London with me. "He is the reason I got into weightlifting. I have been working all through the years for the Olympics. "I know I have to get it right on that one day, and that is what I set out to do. “I am from one of the smallest islands on the planet against the strongest men in the world. "But I believe I can do well. You have to say to yourself ‘anything is possible’.” Nauru gained independence in 1968 but after being hugely wealthy in the 1970s – thanks to the island’s natural resource, phosphate – the economy collapsed in the 90s. There is now 90% unemployment and the highest concentration of obese people in the world. But Itte is bringing pride back to the nation. His legendary coach, Paul Coffa, said: “Itte is an ­incredible young man. "He is up against some of the biggest nations in weightlifting, Iran, Russia and China with its billion-strong population, and yet he is ranked seventh in the world from an island with less than 10,000 people. "Iran wants to have the strongest man in the world because that is important to their culture. “They are investing millions to win the gold in the super heavyweight. “But the Pacific nations’ record is an incredible story. Their build, with strong shoulders and legs, means they have tremendous potential in weightlifting and rugby. "Itte was just eight stone when he started at nine years old. Now he is the strongest man in the Commonwealth.” Itte got involved in the sport through his older sister and dad Vinson, Nauru’s former finance minister. Ex-President Marcus Stephen is the nation’s most successful ever athlete, a weightlifter who competed at the Atlanta Olympics in 1996 and Sydney in 2000. He won seven gold and five silver medals at Commonwealth Games. His success meant weightlifting become Nauru’s favourite sport. When Itte was 10, his dad took him to a gym to get tips from the former president. Now, Itte trains for six hours a day. And with the help of fiancée Christiane, 24, who is a civil servant, he follows a special diet rich in carbohydrates. The hard work has clearly paid off. He competed at the Olympics in Athens in 2004 and Beijing in 2008. And he has won bronze and silver medals at the Commonwealth Games. Two years ago he rubbed shoulders with Hollywood heavyweights Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone at an event in the US. Itte is now ready to write the script at the Olympics this summer so he can take a medal and a gigantic smile back to the tiny island of Nauru.

Source: www.mirror.co.uk

The Nauru Project is part of Hosted In Athens 22-29 May online

Hosted in Athens has invited groups of artists and collectives of different background and nationalities to present their activity in various buildings in the centerof Athens through a series of events and exhibitions. The project intends to articulate and organize its potentials in the area of the historical centerof Athens and to involve public and private venues that can host its program in the means of hospitality. The project seeks to advocate the local art scene and to introduce the work of international artists to the broader Athenian public. To provide the conditions for dialogue and collaboration between groups, communities and individuals and to establish connections between the cities involved emphasizing on the essence of networking and collectivity. The participatory groups will be able to display their joint collaborations, shows and events in the context of a broader perspective that includes artists, curators, institutions and host venues. The aim of the project is to underpin the importance of collaboration, the individual participation and the exchange between different art scenes and to indicate new ways of working that embrace the values of exchange and hospitality. Hosted In Athens is organized by Daily Lazy Projects /////////////////////////////////////////////////// Programme Hosted in Athens - Venues open on Tuesday 22 May 18.00 23 May-29 May from 18.30 to 21.30 Tuesday 22 May (opening) 20.30 at Epaskt, Tholou & Panos 19A performance directed by Claudia C. Linder, performer Nora Jacobs (Expograph Presents: Down to the Core [did the bird tell the white horse to go into the haunted garden?] ) 22.30 party at TEMPORARY SPACE ELAIONAS forthcoming SOUZY TROS, Markoni 8 (Elaionas metro station) Wednesday 23 May 19.00 at Theater Embros, Riga Palamidou 2 Presentation of the group Omada Filopappou 20.00 at 3 137, Mavromihali 137, Neapoli The project space 3 137 presents the show 2+2= 5 by Foteini Chandra & Konstantinos Pettas Thursday 24 May 19.00 at Theater Embros, Riga Palamidou 2 Under Construction presents NLP(Neuro-Linguistic Programming) Friday 25 May 20.00 at 3 137 Mavromihali 137, Neapoli 3 137 presents FIRST COME FIRST SERVED Monday 28 May 20.00 at Theater Embros, Riga Palamidou 2 Presentation of the group Provo Principles //////////////////////////////////////// Host venues OpenShowStudio, Ag. Eleousis 14 & Protogenous Six Dogs, Avramiotou 6-8 Epaskt (The Association of Graduates of Athens School of Fine Art), Tholou & Panos 19A SKOUZE3, Skouze 3 TEMPORARY SPACE ELAIONAS forthcoming SOUZY TROS, Markoni 8, Elaionas metro station The Association of Greek Archaeologists, Ermou 136 Theater Embros, Riga Palamidou 2 3 137 Mavromihali 137, Neapoli //////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// Participants BEST-OFF/Vlorë, Blightman Bofiliou/Berlin, Daily Lazy Projects, Athens, Expograph/Vienna, Front Views/Berlin, GRUPPE UNO WIEN/Vienna, Les Editions Horror Vacui/Paris, Lykakis Karamanolis/Athens, MUD OFFICE/Paris, Nauru Project/Online, Niemandsland/Vienna, P O S T/Athens, SKOUZE3/Athens, Spazi Docili/Florence, collective,Trace/London, Under Construction/Athens, XYZ/Bratislava, Versaweiss/Athens, 3 137/Athens /////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// Parallel events The project space 3 137 presents the show 2+2= 5 by Foteini Chandra & Konstantinos Pettas, Mavromihali 137, Neapoli, Athens, opening Wednesday 23 May, 20.00 Presentation of the group Omada Filopappou at Theater Embros, Wednesday 23 May 19.00, Riga Palamidou 2 Presentation of the group Provo Principles at Theater Embros, Monday 28 May 20.00, Riga Palamidou 2 ///////////////////////////////////////////////////////// Media Partners: FlashArt SK/CZ, Art Act Magazine, elculture, GrandMagazine, ArtAZ, LIFO, Create an Accident, SOUTH, ARTaujourdhui, artplaces, interartive, DailyLazyBlog, Connecting Cultures, artnews, Visual Arts in Greece, radiobubble With the support of: Austrian Embassy of Athens, Athenian Brewery, Dougos Winery, Athens - Attica Hotel Association, bm:uk, Andreas Melas & Helena Papadopoulos, Athens Atrium Hotels, Novotel Hotels, Electra Hotels, Yes! Hotels Group







































Dan Coopey
Industrial Landscape, 2012

Fly Away Simulation Images


Nauru Island Scenery


Fantasy Island Pennsylvania Scenery


Ni'ihau-The Forbidden Island Scenery

Sea-threatened Kiribati mulls moving people to Fiji











The low-lying Pacific island nation of Kiribati is considering buying land in Fiji to resettle its population which is threatened by rising sea levels. Kiribati's President Anote Tong says he is involved in talks with the Fijian government to purchase land on Vanua Levu - Fiji's second largest island. Mr Tong says this is the last resort to save more than 100,000 islanders. Some of Kiribati's 32 coral atolls - which straddle the equator - are already disappearing beneath the ocean. None of the atolls rises more than a few metres above the sea level. Mr Tong says that climate change is a daily battle for Kiribati - but admits that it is one that his country would ultimately lose. However, relocating the entire population to Fiji - more than 2,000km (1,300 miles) away - would be a monumental challenge, the BBC's Phil Mercer in Sydney reports. Kiribati's officials hope that many people would also be allowed to settle in other countries in the vast region, including Australia and New Zealand. Previously, Mr Tong suggested constructing man-made islands resembling oil rigs for people to live on.

BBC © 2012

The Island of Dr Moreau























H.G. Wells - Author
Margaret Atwood - Introduction by
Steve Maclean - Notes by
Patrick Parrinder - Editor

Adrift in a dinghy, Edward Prendick, the single survivor from the good ship Lady Vain, is rescued by a vessel carrying a profoundly unusual cargo - a menagerie of savage animals. Tended to recovery by their keeper Montgomery, who gives him dark medicine that tastes of blood, Prendick soon finds himself stranded upon an uncharted island in the Pacific with his rescuer and the beasts. Here, he meets Montgomery's master, the sinister Dr. Moreau - a brilliant scientist whose notorious experiments in vivisection have caused him to abandon the civilised world. It soon becomes clear he has been developing these experiments - with truly horrific results.

© 1995 - 2011 Penguin Books Ltd

January 31st - Nauru National Day


Nauru celebrates its national pavilion day at the World Expo in Shanghai 2010.

Manila, Philippines – Nauru celebrates its National Day today. Located in the Western Pacific Ocean, Nauru is an oval-shaped island which is located 42 kilometers south of the equator. The island is the world’s smallest island nation, just 21 square kilometers. The nearest country to Nauru is Kiribati, whose Ocean Island is 350 kilometers to the east. The island was initially named “Pleasant Island” by English visitors in the 18th century. The present inhabitants of Nauru are of mixed Polynesian, Micronesian, and Melanesian races. About four-fifths of the people are Christians. Nauruans and English are the main languages.
During the first half of the 20th century, Nauru was a “rentier state,” a term to describe those states whose national revenues are mostly derived from renting indigenous resources to external clients. These Nauruan resources came from phosphate reserves. As early as 1907, Nauru was a major exporter of phosphate. However, in the 1980s, the phosphate deposits ran out after numerous years of mining.
Nauru is a member of various regional and international organizations. These include the United Nations, Pacific Islands Forum, the South Pacific Regional Environmental Program, Commonwealth of Nations, and the South Pacific Applied Geoscience Commission.
Commercial and agricultural exchanges have been active between the Philippines and Nauru. The linguistic, religious, and ethnic affinities between our two peoples are responsible for the close bilateral relations.
We greet the people and government of Nauru led by H.E., President Sprent Dabwido, on the occasion of its National Day. We wish them the best and success in all their endeavors. MABUHAY!

Copyright © 2012 Tempo – News in a Flash. All rights reserved.

The Nauru Project Workshop @ Frown Tails, ReMap KM 3

Workshop
Saturday 24/9/2011
www.nauruproject.blogspot.com
RSVP to info@frowntails.com






















The Nauru Project is an on-going artists' collaboration based on the South Pacific island of Nauru, the world's smallest island nation. The project involves exchanging information on the history of the island and other related subjects as well as the creation of artworks as a result of this pool of findings.
The workshop will focus on examining online findings relating to Nauru and its history in relation to colonialism and the West as well as other links and information relevant to island themes, self-declared micro-nations, experimental states, artists’ residencies and projects on islands as well as fictional islands and non-territorial internet states.
Maria Georgoula will present the project’s collaborators, ongoing research, artistic function and its relationship to the internet while participants of the workshop will then be invited to trace their individual online path around above subjects while using the blog as a basis and while being guided by the artist. The purpose of the project will be exploring the material provided, creating new links and enriching it by contributing their own findings and sharing their own approach to the above themes with the rest of the group in the form of discussion and presentations.

Recycled Island



P.O.Box 11087, 3004EB Rotterdam, Netherlands
Recycled island is a proposal to make a new floating island, from the existing plastic waste that is floating in our Oceans.




Recycled island is a research project on the potential of realizing a habitable floating island in the Pacific Ocean made from all the plastic waste that is momentarily floating around in the ocean.

The proposal has three main aims; Cleaning our oceans from a gigantic amount of plastic waste; Creating new land; And constructing a sustainable habitat. Recycled island seeks the possibilities to recycle the plastic waste on the spot and to recycle it into a floating entity. The constructive and marine technical aspects take part in the project of creating a sea worthy island.

The main characteristics of the island are summarized:
1. Realized from the plastic waste in our Oceans. This will clean our Oceans intensely and it will change the character of the plastic waste from garbage to building material. The gathering of the plastic waste will become a lot more attractive.
2. The island is habitable, where it will have its value as land capturing and is a potential habitat for a part of the rising amount of climate refugees.
3. The habitable area is designed as an urban setting. Nowadays already half of the World population lives in urban conditions, which has a huge impact on nature. The realization of mixed-use environments is our hope for the future.
4. The island is constructed as a green living environment, from the point of view of a natural habitat. The use of compost toilets in creating fertile ground is an example in this.
5. It is a self sufficient habitat, which is not (or hardly) depending from other countries and finds its own resources to survive. The settlement has its own energy and food sources.
6. The island is ecologic and not polluting or affecting the world negatively. Natural and non polluting sources are used to let the island exist in harmony with nature.
7. The size of the floating city is considerable in relation to the huge amount of plastic waste in the Ocean. The largest concentration of plastic has a footprint the size of France and Spain together. Starting point is to create an island with the coverage of 10.000Km2. This is about the size of the island Hawaii.
8. The location is the North Pacific Gyre, where at this moment the biggest concentration of plastic waste is discovered. This is geographically a beautiful spot North-East to Hawaii. By recycling and constructing directly on the spot with the biggest concentration of plastic waste, long transports are avoided. Because of the floating character the position could eventually be altered.

The Nauru Project @ Frown Tails ReMap 3


Το Nauru Project είναι ένα συνεχές, διαδικτυακό, συνεργασιακό project με θέμα το νησί Ναουρού, το υπο-πτώχευση μικρότερο νησί-κράτος στον κόσμο. Με βάση το blog (www.nauruproject.blogspot.com), το project περιλαμβάνει την ερασιτεχνική συλλογή και ανταλλαγή ποικίλων πληροφοριών γύρω απο το νησί Nαουρού, καθώς και την παραγωγή καλλιτεχνικού έργου με βάση τα σχετικά ευρήματα.
Φιλοξενούμενοι της ομάδας Frown Tails, οι συντελεστές του Nauru Project θα επιχειρήσουν τη δραματοποίηση διαδικτυακών πληροφοριών που υπάρχουν στο blog, μέσω ατομικών tutorials.

Workshop
Σάββατο 24/9
To workshop επικεντρώνεται στην ανταλλαγή συνειρμών και τη συλλογή ευρημάτων. Mε αφετηρία το νησί του Nauru, oι συμμετέχοντες καλούνται να προσθέσουν στο project το προσωπικό τους διαδικτυακό μονοπάτι. RSVP to info@frowntails.com

Performance
Πέμπτη 29/9, Παρασκευή 30/9
Performers: Πολυξένη Σάββα & Θανάσης Πετρόπουλος
Από τις 17.00- 20.00 παρουσιάζονται προσωπικά tutorials. RSVP to info@frowntails.com
Open Performance: 20.30






Η Μαρία έχει συμμετάσχει σε ομαδικές εκθέσεις όπως: ‘I Do’, Six Dogs Project Space, Αθήνα, ‘Trace’, Sanhe Museum, Χανγκζού, Κίνα, ‘Meteor’, New Court Gallery, Ντάρμπισαϊρ, ‘Giatrakou 28’, ReMap KM 2, Αθήνα, ‘The Culture Industry: Folklore & Clichés’, VOX, Αθήνα, ‘VANM’, Slade Research Centre, Λονδίνο, ‘Urchin Eater’, Yinka Shonibare/Guest Projects, Λονδίνο, ‘Illumination’, Service Point Building, Μάντσεστερ, ‘Calypso’, Videotheque, Sala Rekalde, Μπιλμπάο, ‘Taenu’, Tactile Bosch, Κάρντιφ και ‘The Works of Others’, Whitechapel Library, Λονδίνο. Το 2010, η Γεωργούλα πήρε μέρος στα residencies ‘Kardamili Project’ στην Μάνη και ‘Utopia Project’ στο Ρέθυμνο, ενώ τον Μάρτιο του 2011 το βρετανικό περιοδικό ArtReview την συμπεριέλαβε στο ετήσιο αφιέρωμα ‘ArtReview Future Greats 2011’

Nauru Project, Maria Georgoula

The Nauru Project is an ongoing artists' collaboration based on the collection of information regarding the South Pacific island of Nauru, the world's smallest island nation.
The contributors of the Nauru Project will attempt to dramatise the multiple information of Nauru Project’s blog, via individual’s tutorials given to public and an open performance.
Workshop
Saturday 24/9
This workshop focuses the collection of digital findings related to Nauru island. The participants are invited to create their personal internet path.RSVP to info@frowntails.com
Performance
Thursday 29/9,Friday 30/9
Performers: Polixeni Savva & Thanasis Petropoulos
Book your personal slot from 17.00- 20.00 at info@frowntails.com
Open Performance: 20.30


Maria's selected group exhibitions include; ‘I Do’ at Six Dogs Project Space, Athens, ‘Trace’ at Sanhe Museum, China, ‘Meteor’ at New Court Gallery, Derbyshire, ‘Giatrakou 28’at ReMap KM 2, Athens, ‘The Culture Industry: Folklore & Clichés’ at VOX, Athens, ‘VANM’ at Slade Research Centre, London, ‘Urchin Eater’at Yinka Shonibare/Guest Projects, London, ‘Illumination’ at Service Point Building, Manchester, ‘Calypso’ at Videotheque, Sala Rekalde, Bilbao, ‘Taenu’ at Tactile Bosch, Cardiff and ‘The Works of Others’ at the Whitechapel Library, among others. During 2010, Georgoula took part in the ‘Kardamili Project’ residency in south Peloponnese and the ‘Utopia Project’ residency in Crete. In March 2011, Georgoula was included in ‘ArtReview Future Greats 2011’ the annual feature by the British magazine.

Nauruan Matt Alaeddine sets the world record for the Fattest Contorsionist

EDMONTON, Canada -- With the ability to press his soles to his cheeks, turn himself into a human dart board, and dislocate his shoulders to escape from a straitjacket and his over 400 pounds, Matt Alaeddine, 30, sets the world record for the Fattest contorsionist.

Photo: The World's Fattest Contorsionist, Matt Alaeddine shows one of his moves. Despite his mountainous size Matt Alaeddine can press the soles of his feet to his cheeks and do the 'sumo' splits. (enlarge photo)

The Guinness world record for the
fattest nation was set by the island state of Nauru, where the average BMI is 35.
Guinness World Records also recognized theworld record for the most balls bounce juggled: 11, by Tim Nolan (USA) at the Old Dominion University Fieldhouse in Norfolk, Virginia, United States. The 30-year-old from Edmonton, Canada, has been twisting himself into odd positions for some ten years. He started as a street performer at the Edmonton Fringe Festival. I've always had a fair amount of flexibility that I work on. But I have to work on it and stretch,' he told the Edmonton Journal.
Mr Alaeddine's weight fluctuates between 400lb (28stone) and 450lbs (32stone) depending on the 'candy associated season'. 'Obesity! It's working for me,' he joked. He is part of the Jim Rose Circus that features extreme, often masochistic acts from sword swallowing to genital lifts. Alaeddine is one of three Edmontonians in the American troupe of pain-loving freaks. The roster also includes his friends Ryan Stock and Amber Lynn Walker of the Discovery Channel's Guinea Pig fame. When performing his contortions, Alaeddine stuffs his rolling hillsides into a gold nylon suit labelled "one size fits all" that he bought from the women's section of a hipster-friendly clothing store. 'You go to work every day sitting at a desk,' he told the Journal reporter. 'It's not for me. I mean, some people, they just want to get out there and climb and mountain...I'm not going to climb a mountain. Comedy is my mountain. Contortion is my mountain.'

Source:
www.worldrecordsacademy.org

The Empire of Atlantium


















The Empire of Atlantium is a unique parallel sovereign state based in New South Wales, Australia.
Atlantium recognises that the days of nation-states founded on fixed geographical locations or majority ethnic identities are numbered, as global mobility, cultural evolution, and the growth of electronic communication networks render the assumptions that underlie and provide justification for their existence increasingly obsolete.

In an age where people increasingly are unified by common interests and purposes across - rather than within - traditional national boundaries Atlantium offers an alternative to the discriminatory historic practice of assigning nationality to individuals on the basis of accidents of birth or circumstance.

Atlantium has a heritage that spans three decades. What began as a local political statement by three Sydney teenagers on 3rd Decimus, 10500 (27th November, 1981) has since evolved into the world's foremost non-territorial global sovereignty movement and state entity, with a diverse, rapidly growing population living in some ninety countries.

Atlantium is predicated on a belief in the inevitability and the desirability of eventual global social, economic and political union, and it operates as a secular, pluralistic, liberal, social democratic republican monarchy. We encourage the active participation of Citizens in the public life of the Empire, and invite anyone with the desire and motivation to forge their own destiny as a true citizen of the world to consider joining us.


George II
Imperator et Primvs Inter Pares
Sovereign Head of State

Nauru

Lilypad City - BBC News


It has pretty much become universally accepted that global warming is having an effect on global ocean levels. The effects of sea level rise are potentially devastating with millions of coastal and island inhabitants at risk of being displaced. For example, it is predicted that within 60 years the island nation of Kiribati, home to 90,000 people will be completely submerged beneath the sea.

In response to this potential devestation, engineers and scientists are attempting to come up with ways to support a growing population on less land. One of the more interesting proposals is known as “Lilypad.” Lilypad is a floating Ecopolis for climate change refugees.

Designed to house up to 50,000 people Lilypad travels the ocean currents from the equator to the poles following marine streams. Lilypad is a prototype of an auto-sufficient amphibious city. The city will feature green technologies such as solar, wind, tidal and biomass energy production. The double skin exterior of the city will be constructed of polyester fibres covered by a layer of titanium dioxide which reacts with UV rays to enable the absorbtion of atmospheric pollution.

No word on whether or if this type of floating city will ever be developed, but its sad that we have to consider developing these projects in order to preserve human survival.

For more information visit Vincent Callebaut Architects
http://www.vincent.callebaut.org/