previous  |  next

The New Saipan: The Four Initiatives Envision the change. Spark the change. Lead the change. Document the change.

The only way to take control of your life, raise your standard of living and move beyond merely surviving is to create your own unique product or service that you offer to increasing numbers of people in exchange for the things of value that you desire. This simple formula applies to countries as well as people. A self-sufficient economy has its own products or services of value to export to the world. Similarly, a self-sufficient individual has something of value to exchange in the global marketplace. That thing of value is based on your natural talent, skill, or interest—in other words, your passion!

As we move forward with what we’re calling the New Saipan Agenda, it bears repeating that a “new” Saipan already exists in the minds of those who have a vision of it. Any given reality in which a person finds him or herself is but one of an infinite number of realities that can be chosen from among an infinite field of possibilities. The only thing that is required to make a vision real is to make a choice, and to make a commitment to that choice. Those who are committed to their choices remain on track to create what they see in their mind’s eye. Therefore, the new Saipan that emerges, while it will be news to some, shall be nothing less than the realization of a dream held firmly in minds of others starting from today.

As I research and record the ideas that people in nations around the world are employing to create their own vision of the future, I can’t help but be overwhelmed. It becomes clear that the challenge before us is not how to survive and thrive—it’s not a scarcity of options—the real challenge is choosing what route from the abundance of options that do exist.

The plan that the New Saipan Action Tank has hatched seeks to focus on alternative fuel and energy sources as its primary components. In speaking with various individuals who share similar vision, I’ve come to learn how Brazil has almost eliminated its dependence on oil by processing ethanol from sugar cane grown within its borders; I’ve learned what Filipino taxi drivers are doing with tanks of dung-based fuel attached to their cars; and what companies in the Marshall Islands are doing with coconut oil as a direct substitute for diesel fuel. As a result, of these and other such responses, I’ve become more firmly convinced of the timeliness of our vision, strategies and plan.

What’s more, such a plan falls squarely in line with similar initiatives established by the government to reduce gas usage. In a recent State of the Union address, President Bush proposed the “Twenty in Ten” Initiative to “…ask Congress and America’s scientists, farmers, industry leaders, and entrepreneurs to join him in pursuing the goal of reducing U.S. gasoline usage by 20 percent in the next ten Years—Twenty in Ten.”

Among some of the goals of the plan (which you can find at, are goals for reducing harmful fuel emissions, increasing fuel economy standards, increasing domestic oil production in environmentally friendly ways, increasing the nation’s oil reserves, and “increasing the supply of renewable and alternative fuels.”

Further, according to the text from the “Twenty in Ten” document:

“President Bush believes our scientists, farmers, entrepreneurs, and industry leaders will continue to lead the world in developing and investing in cutting-edge technology, infrastructure, and farming methods. Advances in many fields will play an important role, such as continued improvement in crop yields, optimization of crops and cellulosic materials as fuel feedstock, and cost reduction in the production of cellulosic ethanol and other alternative fuels. The increased and expanded fuel standard creates a tremendous incentive for research, development, and private investment into alternatives to oil.”

The president’s initiative encourages the development of an Alternative Fuel Standard (AFS), which “will include sources such as corn ethanol, cellulosic ethanol, biodiesel, methanol, butanol, hydrogen, and alternative fuels.”

It’s the realization of that goal for which I believe Saipan is uniquely positioned both geographically as well as situationally.

Those alternative sources of fuel can also include wind generation. In an email I got hold of from a stateside engineer, I’ve discovered that “...the entire Northern Marianas Island chain is rated a “6” on the potential wind generation scale. That means the area could generate its own electricity with strong economic return on investment. With a little closer examination micro sites on and around the islands probably would be rated “8.” Sites rated “6” are considered high-wind regions. Sitting on an “8” would bring the cost down even further. Even in the states, generation costs in this order of magnitude is competitive with natural gas/coal/nuclear. On the island... with power being generated by imported fuel oil, prospecting for wind could be very favorable.”

Both figuratively and literally, the winds heralding a change in thought and habits are definitely blowing within this region. And all that we here in the CNMI would need to do is turn our attention, and our wind turbines, towards those winds.

With action and attention in this direction, our little island chain can be a showcase—a test case of sorts—for our own, as well as developing and advanced nations to harness natural resources, including wind power, (who said Saipan has no resources?) to aid the nation as a whole accomplish a brave new goal for a new era.

Towards that end, the New Saipan Action Tank has set the following four initiatives:


1. Alternative Energy Initiative

PURPOSE: Establish businesses and lifestyles which promote use of alternative, eco-friendly, sustainable sources of energy (wind, solar, etc.)

GOALS: set up 50 households with wind turbines/solar by Dec 2007

2. Internet Initiative

PURPOSE: Establish entrepreneurial businesses which utilize the internet to market products and services and to optimize streams of income from outside immediate geographical boundaries

GOALS: grow WeLoveSaipan blog network to 200 active bloggers;

3. Agricultural Initiative

PURPOSE: Establish sustainable farming practices based on the use of native trees, herbs and health practices which make CNMI more self-sustaining and less reliant on imports, making it more of a paradise

GOALS: establish specific number of certified organic farms on island, as well as some farms devoted to the growing of crops with a specific energy-based applications.

4.Local Service Initiative

PURPOSE: Offer easy-to-launch service business ideas which “Joe Anyman” can launch today with minimal investment; provide an incubator of sorts for such businesses.

(More specific goals as well as strategies will be detailed on the website.)

Now, lest you believe that I and the New Saipan Action Tank are the only ones thinking and heading in this direction, think again. It’s already happening:

Yesterday, a few of us of like mind met with Michael Thomas, a grant writer here on island who has already installed both a solar panel and a wind generator on his roof as a means of generating and storing power with which to reduce his dependency on electricity from “the grid,” and to tide him through any unforeseen blackouts.

Just this month, a local blogger here on Saipan negotiated a fee of $200 for the placement of ads on his/her blog.

Local farmers from the Sabulu Market are already experimenting with the planting of crops using less to zero pesticides.

Again, these are just the first of the wave of a worldwide change that is sweeping through this region. I am extremely encouraged by what I see developing, and as we continue to envision, spark, lead and document our islands’ burgeoning response to the many changes upon us, I hope you will join us in creating a reality that serves the greatest number of people, sets a new standard for business excellence within the CNMI, and encourages others worldwide to follow our example.

* * *

NOTE: The monthly Saipan blogger meetup is tonight (Wed) at 7:00pm at Java Joe’s

* * *

Until next week, remember, success is a journey, not a destination!—Walt

(Send article suggestions, entrepreneur nominations and feedback about this article to

previous  |  next