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Climate change is the greatest moral challenge of the 21st century.  It must not be relegated to academic exercises, economic paradigms, or scientific pursuits of inquiry without placing our shared humanity first.

 
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Mike Roman
Ph.D. MPH MA

Climate activist, author, and lecturer his love for Kiribati stems from his Peace Corps Service 2000-2002. Returning to graduate school after service, his academic career revolves around Kiribati. Earning an MA in Applied Medical Anthropology from Oregon State University, he worked with UNAIDS and the Kiribati Ministry of Health’s HIV/AIDS task force to reduce the social stigma of PLWHA in 2005. Over decades of involvement with the nation, he has witnessed prolonged droughts, consequential king tide displacement, and unprecedented cyclonic activity, taking note of all the changes, he furthered his studies by focusing on the impacts of climate change on human populations in Kiribati. Earning a Ph.D. in Cultural Anthropology and an MPH in Behavioral and Communication Health Sciences in 2014 he continues to work in humanizing climate change from the frontlines. After Cyclone Pam struck in 2015, he and other Kiribati RPCVs started a US-based non-profit organization dedicated to providing disaster relief and relocation efforts. That same year, he and Raimon Kataotao started social media campaigns to educate the world about Kiribati. With nearly 200,000 followers from around the world, the platform has led to everything from pod-casting opportunities to print media, to movie development projects. Current projects include the collaborative non-fiction narrative, "American Asylee" – a true story about a Kiribati asylee and "When there was no money" - a twenty-year autobiographical account of climate activism from the front-lines of climate change (blog).

 

Media

To educate others about the nation of Kiribati (Kee-ree-bus), and other low-lying coral atoll nations around the world; I have worked within and outside of academia to present lectures, front-line truths, and narratives from individuals living on the front-lines of climate change. I am currently looking to expand this work by collaborating with other individuals and institutions who have similar humanitarian interests.

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Humans of Kiribati

Inhabiting the atolls of the central Pacific for more than 2,000 years, I-Kiribati are proud people with time tested traditions and values. Climate change threatens their next 2,000 years. Using the modern-day canoe (social media) we share their front-line realities, happiness, love, joy, and concern for the future of our planet.

Talks

I work within and outside of academia to educate a global audience about Kiribati and other low-lying coral atoll nations. Humanizing climate change from the front-lines sobers audiences to the climate crisis we have been in for the past three decades. I continuously seek collaborations with other individuals and institutions who have similar humanitarian interests.

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When There Was No Money

A true coming of age story about a young man sent to Kiribati in 2000 as a Peace Corps volunteer. His experience, recorded through weekly journal entries, reveals the ups and downs of service, the beautiful nature of I-Kiribati people, the societal importance of communal living and a life uncentered on money.

Kiribati Keepers

In March of 2015 following the aftermath of Cyclone Pam and increasingly invasive king tides, 88 former Peace Corps volunteers that had served in Kiribati united their voices and signed a letter addressed to Kiribati President Anote Tong and U.N. Ambassador Mwakurita Baaro.  This letter expressed our sincere intentions to support Kiribati in any way their need for disaster relief and long term planning and advocacy align with our capacity to support.


Kiribati Keepers, a U.S. based 501 (c) 3 non-profit developed to provide disaster relief and contribute to relocation efforts of citizens currently living on islands soon to be deemed uninhabitable.

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Video credit: Raimon Kataotao

 

125 Muntz Hall   The University of Cincinnati   9555 Plainfield Road   Cincinnati, Ohio   45236   michael.roman@uc.edu

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©2020 by Michael Roman