Target: United States President Barack Obama
Goal: Prevent the U.S. military from using Pagan Island as target practice.
Pagan Island is a ten-mile-long island located in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands and it may also be the next bombing target of the United States. The Pentagon’s administration has expressed interest in leasing the island for live-fire amphibious practice. The Los Angeles Times also reports that target practice includes “guns-blazing war games on Pagan at least 16 weeks a year.” Marines would be firing mortars as well as dropping bombs using drones and fighter jets. Behind this idea is President Obama’s hopes to “rebalance” the Pacific. Furthermore, China is supposedly investing in amphibious invasion tactics and so the United States needs to be prepared.
Pagan Island is an independent government in political union with the United States. It is home to a diverse group of wildlife including an endangered fruit bat and endemic species only found on that island. Michael Hadfield, a biologist at the University of Hawaii at Manoa writes that Pagan Island is a “biological treasure house.” The island is also home to the Chamorro people who have roots going back to the 1300s. Although the military considers Pagan to be uninhabited since locals were evacuated in 1981 when a large volcano erupted, hundreds have plans to return and many families still consider the island to be home. The island is even still occupied by about a dozen people.
Bombing Pagan Island could cause extensive damage to the ecosystem and inhibit locals from returning to their homes. Sign this petition to support sustainable practices for the environment and a healthy home for the locals who hope to return to the island the way they left it.
Dear President Barack Obama,
I am writing this letter to you to ask that you reconsider plans to use Pagan Island in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands for the military to use as target practice. As one of the most biologically and geologically diverse islands in the archipelago, inundating the island with bombs, mortars, and gun shells could harm the island’s endangered and endemic species.
The mayor of the Northern Islands of the Commonwealth, Jerome Aldan, said that operations could turn the island into a “wasteland.” The island’s rich topsoil will most likely be disturbed which could lead to an increase in fires, erosion, and subsequent destruction of its coral reefs. While the United States military considers Pagan Island to be uninhabited, around a dozen people still live there. Additionally, many locals who were evacuated from the island in 1981 due to a volcano erupting hope to return to the island soon.
Bombing and target practice should not have more value than local peoples’ wishes to return to the island or the endangered animals that will not be able to survive in a toxic and damaged environment. I urge you to do the ethical and morally responsible thing and stop the United States military from using the island as target practice because it would cause so much damage both to the environment and the people who hope to return to it.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: radionz