story and images by Azariah Usoali’i Mathew Maiava
As a territory of the United States, American Samoa is trying to place solar power plants (or micro grids) into our communities and our lives. Due to the large extent of carbon dioxide emissions, we are aware of the numerous environmental issues that burning fossil fuels have caused, from coral bleaching to global warming to climate change.
Our island of Ta’u Manu’a now saves almost 110,000 gallons of diesel since we converted to a solar power plant. We can safely say that we will be saving more money and that 2.5 million pounds of carbon dioxide will not be released into the air. Our island is now 98% green because of this decision made by our current governor, Lolo Moliga, who is also an alumni from Manu ’a High School. We are now playing a role in saving our world. We, as a community, have a vision that our territory will one day become 100% energy green.
A WorldTeach volunteer (Margret McGovern, age 23) who received a B.A in History and Literature from Harvard University said,
“Within 100 or more years, I see American Samoa becoming more independent, self sustaining and will be self reliant instead of relying on the many western culture contributions.”
She hopes that our territory will be capable of creating our own autonomy, which will open people minds to more conservation efforts. Knowing that our territory has very few hybrid or electric cars, in many years to come, we should have more that roam our islands reducing the amount of carbon monoxide and exhaustion fumes.
Another teacher at Manu’a High School (Leticia Nascimento, age 29) who received a B.A in Food science at Rutgers University in NJ mentioned, “Ta’u Manu’a is heavily dependent on Tutuila for resources. So, having this project will help this island excel in the future. Not only that, but hopefully it will be the first for many to come.” Understanding that our island does not have its own economic system, our possible challenges are to have our crops and other goods transported out to the world.
BY ACCOMPLISHING MANY OF THESE GOALS AND ASPIRATIONS, WE MAY EVEN BRING A LOT MORE ATTENTION TO OUR ISLAND, WHICH MAY EVEN ATTRACT CURIOSITY AND TOURISM.
Living here in Ta’u Manu’a, I can say that this new solar project has helped our community become more aware of our surroundings and the many conflicts that we are facing. Since our island is now 98% energy efficient, we can save 110,000 gallons of diesel and 2.5 million pounds of CO2 each year. Fortunately, we are playing a good role in our world to stop air pollution and many other hazardous environmental practices. Hopefully, we will have more valuable projects here in American Samoa to attract tourists and build our islands into something better than what it is now.