Thursday, September 14, 2023

IMOA: Fostering Collaboration For Climate Security

IMOA (Imagine Pacific Original Article)

Fostering Collaboration: Matson and PREL's Crucial Role in Establishing the KASL Climate Security Research Station

BY Dr. Gregg Nakano, Ed.D, MALD, MGeo


We overcame significant logistical challenges to build the first KASL (1) Climate Security Research Station on Ebadon, a small island on the other side of the Kwajalein Atoll system.

What you may not know is the critical role that Matson and PREL played in that success. 
PREL has been working on a four-track education program to help Pacific Island youth based on: 

1-college prep, 

2-vocational skills, 

3-military prep, and 

4-traditional knowledge. 

Since 2017, PREL CEO Paul Hadik has supported the development of Pacific Allies, an experiential service learning program that helps students, cadets and midshipmen understand the climate impact on national security by transforming Kwajalein Atoll into a living sustainability laboratory.
With the support of PREL, Mayor Kabua, KALGOV, Dr. Eric Rasmussen, ONR and all of you - the Pacific Allies effort has slowly grown into KASL (Kwajalein Atoll Sustainability Laboratory), which was officially launched this Summer. 

Only one hiccup... 

Because all of this is done organically and out of hide, our outcomes are always "potluck" and only accomplished through trust, goodwill and sweat equity.

This Spring, as we prepared to build the Irene Paul KASL Climate Security Research Station, we were at a loss, because while the cost of the building materials was only around $8,000, the cost of the shipping would exceed $10,000. 

CEO Paul Hadik reached out to Matson Senior Vice President Vic Angoco to explain the purpose of KASL and how KALGOV was building a whole-of-society approach to strengthen climate security throughout the Pacific.

SVP Angoco immediately reached out to SVP Ku'uhaku Park, Director Government, Community Relations and Matson Giving. 

Working together with Dan Kenney, the KASL Climate Security Research Station designer and Gay Mathews, the Director of Philanthropy for Applied Hope, the non-profit partner to Infinitum Humanitarian Systems (IHS), Matson generously donated their expertise, networks and services to get our building materials from the mainland USA to Ebeye City on Kwajalein. 

As the Marshallese say - Jepilpilin ke ejukaan -
"Accomplishment through Joint Effort." 

Thanks to all of you for your blood, sweat, and tears in bringing KASL into existence. 

Special thanks to Matson for picking up the cost of transporting our equipment and construction materials - which provided us the tools to start.

Editors Note: This article celebrates the successful establishment of the KASL Climate Security Research Station on Ebadon, a small island within the Kwajalein Atoll system and the evolution of the Pacific Allies initiative, supported by PREL, Mayor Kabua, KALGOV, Dr. Eric Rasmussen, ONR, and collaborators, culminated in the launch of KASL. Dr. Nakano is a driving force behind many developmental and climate resiliency efforts in Kwajalein. He is a graduate of the United States Naval Academy, a USMC Veteran, and Alumni of the University of Hawaii-Manoa.


(1) Rasmussen, E., Nakano, G., Kabua, S., & Hatoum, A. (2022). Climate-Focused Field Research within the Kwajalein Atoll Sustainability Laboratory.

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