Monday, October 13, 2008
120 on 10/20
By CINTA M. KAIPAT
Special to the Saipan Tribune
Two years ago, the people living in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands set out to do something extraordinary. Members of the Beautify CNMI! coalition challenged themselves to recruit 1,020 volunteers to clean up our island on Oct. 20, 2006. We called this day 1020 on 10/20.
On that fateful day, not 1,020, but over 3,000 people came out to clean up litter from our roads and beaches, paint over graffiti, and plant trees. It was one of my proudest moments knowing that I was a part of it-I was part of something bigger than our community.
In the two years since that day, our people have learned the value of a beautiful, clean island. On an almost weekly basis, we see pictures of community groups, schools, and churches pitching in to do their part to keep our islands beautiful. Our community members are doing this on their own, not at the urging of the government, but because they know it is the right thing to do and because it makes our islands a better place to live and visit.
As a result of this new ethic among our residents, it is a safe bet to say that the islands of Saipan, Tinian, and Rota are now the cleanest islands in Micronesia. That is something of which we can all be proud.
In a few days, the people of the Commonwealth will again have the opportunity to be a part of something large with potentially global implications, and it happens to fall on the two-year anniversary of 1020 on 10/20.
The federal government will be holding a public workshop on the proposed Marianas Trench Marine National Monument on Oct. 20 from 5:30pm to 7:30pm. This will be an opportunity for our people to stand up and tell the federal government and the world that we support the preservation of our marine resources.
Preservation is enshrined in our Constitution. Article XIV, Section II of the CNMI Constitution protects the islands within the proposed Marianas Trench Marine National Monument for the preservation of birds, wildlife, and plants. The constitutional protections do not extend to the marine environment, however, and we now have an opportunity to fulfill the intent of our Constitution by working with the federal government to declare a monument.
I hereby challenge the people of the Commonwealth to come out in support of preservation and the Marianas Trench Marine National Monument.
I hereby declare Oct. 20, 2008, 120 on 10/20.
I call for 120 of our community members to join hands with me on 10/20 to support the Marianas Trench Marine National Monument. I challenge at least 120 of you to attend this meeting to show the federal government and the world that we support preservation.
I look forward to seeing you there in your bright orange t-shirt!
Biba Monument! Biba Preservation!
Cinta M. Kaipat, the deputy secretary of Labor, is one of the founders of Beautify CNMI.