Local2030 Conservation Corps learns environmental justice in summit
The Guam Green Growth (G3) Local2030 Conservation Corps actively participated in the two-day “Making Waves: For Peace and Climate Justice Summit,” gaining profound insights into environmental justice issues.
The event, held at the Sinajana Community Center, was a collaborative effort between the Micronesia Climate Change Alliance and Our Commonwealth 670. In partnership with the Tishman Environment and Design Center at The New School, the summit aimed to unite regional and global leaders in environmental justice movements. Their goal was to address concerns affecting island communities and brainstorm potential solutions.
Jonathan Mitsur, a member of the G3 Local2030 Conservation Corps, attended the summit and found it deeply impactful. One presentation, delivered by Joseph Certeza, G3 Project Coordinator, resonated strongly with Mitsur.
In his presentation, Certeza emphasized the significance of indigenous languages and the urgent need to practice and preserve them for future generations.
Mitsur was moved by the summit. He noted, “I liked the passion. There was a lot of emotion during the event, and it shows that this group can actually grow because there are a lot of people who want to do these things but cannot really express themselves as openly or freely.”
When questioned about his concerns regarding the preservation of language and culture on his home island of Yap, Mitsur expressed alarm after encountering new generations of Yapese individuals with limited language understanding or the inability to speak it at all. “Getting to hear from [Local2030 Corps]—their experiences, struggles, and the things they have had to overcome—brings a lot of concerns to my home island.”
He added, “Growing up, I was taught my own language, customs, and traditions, but as I got older and moved away from home, I noticed that the Western way of living is becoming a barrier, hindering the younger generation from learning.”
In addition to his active participation, Mitsur volunteered as an usher and timekeeper for the event’s first day. Reflecting on the experience, he remarked, “I would say that everything went smoothly. Everyone was working together to keep the event running and on time.”
Regarding his final thoughts on the summit, Mitsur shared, “Never take anything for granted. Even though Yap is still conservative in its culture, you never know what the future holds. The summit itself taught me that if we work together and engage in activities that help preserve and document our culture for the next generation, that would be the best thing to do.”