How the ‘green revolution’ will hurt Pacific Islander civilizations


Much of the world has been touting the need to “go green” when it comes to energy production and how we harness, distribute and consume energy. Individuals, families, businesses, and governments have been focused on how to move forward looking for ways to live that produce and emit less overall pollution and carbon into the Earth’s atmosphere. Communities throughout the world continue to discuss ways in which they can help contribute toward more effective environmental stewardship. 

Global warming has driven the world’s desire to go green when it comes to energy production and consumption. Global warming is a result of emissions produced by major industrialized countries such as the United States, China, India, Brazil, and Germany. 

One key assumption about the global warming debate is that the planet’s demise is mainly focused on things at or above sea level. Peoples of and from Pacific Island civilizations are forced recipients of industrial nation mayhem, not the producers of this mayhem. 

Pacific Islander civilizations remain intrinsically tied to the ocean at the water line, below the water line, and down to the seafloor and we have been for millennia.  

Pacific Islanders have contributed the least toward global warming and the overall warming of the oceans. Our Deep Blue continental civilizations have contributed the least to ocean acidification. Yet as a collective, Pacific Islander civilizations continue to suffer the most when it comes to how our isles are damaged from rising sea levels and warming sea temperatures. 

The green energy propositions
The green energy proposition espoused by first nation industrial superpowers such as the United States remains incomplete and illusive. Clean green energy depends in part on finding, extracting, and consuming rare earth minerals and materials in order to produce the componentry that go toward manufacturing and powering new technologies such as electric cars to help reverse carbon emissions production. Much of the world’s rare metals are found on land, yet the destruction and political concerns associated with extracting land-based rare metals is prohibitive and complicated. 

A central source location for necessary raw materials and rare minerals required for car batteries for example, is found on the seafloor of our Deep Blue Pacific Ocean continent. 

Regions throughout our Deep Blue Pacific Ocean continent have been identified as zones to be mined for minerals by the amorphous International Seabed Authority with ties to the United Nations. A variety of rich nations, poor nations, and select for-profit firms are reported to be given exclusive rights to mine our Pacific Ocean floor within identified sub-zones that are sectioned off by country. 

Our Deep Blue Pacific Ocean continent has millions of tons of seabed-located metallic nodules that contain metals such as cobalt, copper, battery grade nickel, manganese, lithium, and yttrium. Close to 2 million miles of seabed in our Deep Blue Pacific Ocean continent contain these metallic nodules. 

Our Pacific Islander civilizations are not benefitting from the decisions made by this International Seabed Authority. Trillions of dollars, not billions, are at stake over the next several decades because of the future energy needs of millions of people across the planet.  

Questions to ask
How many times have outside parties interested in mining our seafloor near our Mariana Islands or Micronesia approached and asked permission of our Chamorro people to mine the ocean’s bottom? How many times have outside for-profit parties and first-world nations, interested in mining near Pacific Islander civilizations in Micronesia, approached us and asked permission to mine the seafloor for rare raw materials? If the answers are “never,” then we might be able to conclude that our Deep Blue Pacific Ocean continent is being exploited. 

Living oceans disappearing
The sea creatures and ocean life that live on these modules will disappear if seafloor mining begins. Marine life living throughout mining areas will be devastated from seafloor scarring that constitute one of several long-term destructive consequences of exploiting the Deep Blue Pacific Ocean seafloor. The underwater plumes that will be produced from excavation will damage, disrupt, and destroy fragile ecosystems due to seafloor sediment traveling miles in all directions. Ancient coral formations existing in our Deep Blue Pacific Ocean continent seafloor and these resources will be destroyed. 

There is much work to do to better understand the nature of seafloor mining and its implications for Deep Blue Pacific Islander civilizations such as ours. Now is the time to start. 

Rick Arriola Perez | Author
Rick Arriola Perez is a U.S. military veteran who has worked for the U.S. Department of Defense, the Bank of Hawaii, and the government of Guam. He holds several degrees including ones from UCLA and the U.S. Naval War College in Newport, R.I. Rick is passionate about national security and foreign affairs in the Pacific Asia region and runs a blogsite called Guam Affairs at For more information, contact Perez at

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