"Kiribati is among the world's poorest countries. It has few natural resources other than fish and copra, the dried meat of coconut. It does however have of some of the world's most pristine coral reefs and healthiest fish stocks, which have now become the basis of its contribution to the well-being of the planet: the Phoenix Islands Protected Area (PIPA), which at 408,250 square kilometers is the largest marine World Heritage site.
PIPA is part of President Tong's bigger, more ambitious initiative, the Pacific Oceanscape—38.5 million square kilometers (24 million square miles) of ocean, an area larger than the land territories of the United States, Canada and Mexico combined. Over the past two years, President Tong has brought together 16 Pacific Ocean nations to develop the initiative, which seeks to maintain ocean health by improving management of fisheries, protecting and conserving biodiversity, furthering scientific understanding of the marine ecosystem, and reducing the negative impacts of human activities.
President Tong's efforts in the face of incredible adversity has earned him considerable respect in the conservation world. Dr. Greg Stone, Chief Ocean Scientist and Senior Vice President for Marine Conservation at Conservation International, likens him to the "Teddy Roosevelt of Oceans," in that President Tong is doing for oceans what the 26th president did for land conservation in the United States around the turn of the 20th century."
"We must get away from the idea that one person, one action cannot make a difference. One million is 1+1+1 and so on. Every person and every action is important. The Pacific is one ocean. What you throw in the sea in California will end up on our shores. So we need to work together." - President Anote Tong
I wish there were more people like him in our country.