Photo Credit: Iorita Toromon — “Our back yard under the ocean.”

The imminent danger Kiribati faces is difficult to comprehend for those who have never heard of the country but go there during a king tide, or prolonged drought, or a once in a lifetime rogue cyclone, and the difficulties it faces is obvious. Having a prolonged connection with this country has allowed me to witness and record the ecological impacts of a rapidly changing environment. With each return visit, I witness increasing amounts of changes. Some have predicted the nation would be in trouble in the not-so-distant future. …


PC CoconutWireless

Ray Tensing (caucasian) a former University of Cincinnati officer, killed a Cincinnati (non-student) unarmed African American man outside of campus limits. After several years it was found he was wearing a confederate t-shirt under his police uniform when he killed the unarmed African American father. He was awarded nearly $350,000 in compensation for unfair dismissal from the University of Cincinnati.


6 years after completing my Ph.D., COVID-19 did the impossible. It forced me back into the classroom. I will be teaching at the University of Cincinnati, but on my terms… Pro bono.

The University system in the USA is broken. It has been broken for a very long time. Over 70 percent of teaching faculty here make less than minimum wage. These individuals do not receive health insurance or retirement benefits.

25 days of 25 pushups for suicide is great and all, but can we do something to raise awareness of the higher education crisis in this country? My contribution…


I was in my second year at the University of Pittsburg’s Anthropology Ph.D. program when I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. Almost instantly, I lost my vision, ability to talk and walk. Rushed to the hospital, I was diagnosed and placed on a disease-modifying therapy within hours.

A few days later, with everything restored, I met with my Ph.D. adviser.

Well Mike, what are we going to do?

I had no idea. The diagnosis annihilated any chance of completing my original HIV/AIDS research plans in Kiribati. I first went to the Pacific Island Nation of Kiribati as a Peace Corps…


Writing someone else’s story is a privilege. Writing an asylum seeker’s story during Caronavirus is an honor.

Not many people know that on any given day there are up to 34,000 immigrants in detention facilities across the U.S. Up to 1,000 immigrants are held in detention facilities in Orange County, California alone. I know, because I was one of them.

I spent a year and two weeks inside immigration detention to be exact. I was released in 2017. I came to the US due to extreme domestic violence I experienced in my small island. I came to the U.S. in…


On 16 November 1989, Kiribati Minister of Home Affairs and Decentralization Babera Kirata addressed the general forum at the Small Island States Conference on Sea Level Rise in Malé Island. Highlighting his nation’s concern over the emerging greenhouse effect theory, he stated:

“Over the centuries, the question of a rise in sea level was never heard of. Our ancestors had lived happily for centuries on our islands, without fear that one day, our beautiful homes may be lost as a result of the deterioration in the environment. We in this present generation have inherited those small islands, and we are…


When I returned from Peace Corps service, America was a different place. It was not home any longer — not like it was before I left. Friends and family were happy to see me, but I couldn’t relate to them like before. Striking up a conversation was difficult. They talked about movies, clothes, jobs, and money. Absentmindedly, I just stared in amazement at the number of material things around me. Sleeping in a bed was difficult. I hadn’t slept on something soft for years, and I froze when temperatures dropped below 80 degrees. Water fountains. I — loved -water —…


Final approach home. (Photo Credit: Unknown)

Home.

From high above the sea, we fly.
Hours upon hours nothing but blue.
No mountains. No land.
Just the eternal abyss of oceanic territory below.

Until the captain notifies us of our final approach.
Ears pop. Eyes gaze. Fingers point.

THERE!

Our strips of pearls welcome us.
This is where our hearts will forever be…

Home.


It has been 20 years since we first met.

Since I first breathed in your salty air and waded in your warm turquoise blue waters.

Instantly, you intoxicated me.

All of me. My mind, heart, and soul.

But today I fear for you. I fear that the rest of the world will not know you.

Blinded by climate change, they will not see your beauty, your kindness, your katei (culture), worthy of everything this world has to offer and more.

A woman standing on a seawall that protects her land from the ocean. (Photo Credit Raimon Kataotao)

You see… the world hoped to solve this ecological genocide with science, laws, innovation, and money.

But money (or rather…


Republic of Kiribati Climate Change march 2016 (Photo Credit: Raimon Kataotao)

A Cincinnati public education board member approached me recently, thinking I knew something about climate change. She asked me what I would stress in developing a climate change curriculum for elementary students. I thought about it for a bit and responded; teach humanity (no surprise for anyone who knows me). With a confused look on her face, I explained that at one point we were all equal. All of us struggled to learn how to walk and talk. How to eat and read, how to share and care for others. I tried to make the point that leaving behind an…

Mike Roman

Climate activist, author, and visiting professor at the University of Cincinnati mike-roman.com

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store