JALUIT ATOLL: The Jaluit Atoll Local Government, an atoll in the Marshal Islands has a very urgent appeal on social media right now, to build a walap, or traditional open ocean canoe for their small community.
“Today there is no Walap (ocean-going canoe), in Jaluit. A walap is needed and it will have a great impact on improving livelihoods on the islands and 100% will revitalize the walap building knowledge. Just a little bit of help and this will be reality,” said Dustin LoMoki Langidrik , an environmentalist and one of the locals helping with the campaign.
In December, Langidrik shared photos, stories and footage of the daily lives of the people of Jaluit who depend on the ocean for their livelihoods.
“For these islands, most especially in Jittok-en (Northeastern islands in Jaluit Atoll), and neighboring islets, daily livelihood is entirely sustained by their canoes.In Jaluit Atoll there are more than 50 canoe sailers and more than 30 individuals with experience in canoe building and sailing including young boys and 8 master canoe builders, those that have built 5 – 20 traditionally standardized canoes. There are more than 20 tipñōl (mid-sized canoes 22ft – 26ft). These canoes are the lifeline for the people on the islands. The resilience is already there! To enhance the communities’ resilience to the impacts of the changing climate, the best option is to enable the people enable themselves,” he wrote.
Due to the costs of building a walap, Langidrik said which would amount to over USD$20,000.00, the atoll has depended on smaller vessels for their fishing and transportation needs. In Jaluit Atoll there are over 50 canoe sailors, over 30 individuals with experience in canoe building and sailing including young boys and 8 master canoe builders. According to Langdrik they have built up to 20 traditionally standardized canoes known as tipñōl (mid-sized canoes 22ft – 26ft).
“These canoes are the lifeline for the people on the islands. The resilience is already there! To enhance the communities’ resilience to the impacts of the changing climate, the best option is to enable the people enable themselves. We can start by enhancing this existing sustainable way of life and help them build more canoes. The bigger the better. It doesn’t get any more sustainable than this. These canoes emit Zero Carbon emission and they are the best practice in environmental terms,” he said.
He said that the master canoe builders/sailors are set on building a traditional walap (open ocean voyaging canoe) that can assist the remote communities in Jaluit Atoll with the much needed sea transportion not just to cater for transport needs within Jaluit Atoll but to travel to Majuro (RMI Capital), other sub-centers including Ebeye, Kwajlein Atoll and other islands.
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