Lizard Replaces Queen on Coin, and Other Wonderful News

It’s 11:23 A.M. I’m down to the dregs of my 5th cup of coffee, and I am wired. Intellectually I know that excess coffee leads to crippling anxiety and poor sleep, but there’s an intemperate devil on my shoulder whispering “Whatever! You’ll sleep when you’re dead, and you’re never gonna die!”

So, with brain, skin, and shoes all too tight, here we go.

Work: Research interning at IUCN Oceania’s Pacific Centre for Environmental Governance. Topic: Deep-sea mining in the Pacific Islands. I’m collaborating with Taimil Taylor, policy analyst and general badass:


Taimil Taylor

Taimil is originally from Papua New Guinea. She graduated Harvard Law and worked as a criminal lawyer in some of the more remote places of Australia, such as the bulk of Australia:


Her mother is Dame Meg Taylor:


Dame Meg Taylor

Dame Meg Taylor is, like her daughter, a general badass. She is the current Secretary General for the Pacific Islands Forum, and she was made a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire by the Queen Herself!

And speaking of the Queen. Her image is being replaced by a lizard on some Fijian currency:


Like looking into a mirror!

Back to business. Taimil and I are writing a synthesis report, a sort of “state of the debate” over deep-sea mining in the Pacific Islands. Deep-sea mining activities are most advanced in Papua New Guinea, with mineral extraction from a seafloor massive sulphide deposit at 1,600 meters depth in the Bismark Sea set to begin in 2018. What happens there may well set the regional, if not global, tone for deep-sea minerals exploitation.

Work is stimulating and engaging; I sit, read, think, write, and meet with experts about things that fascinate me for seven hours a day, or 20.8% of my time. I squander a solid 33% of my time on sleep, which, despite the coffee, I’m still getting way more of than I was in May (I wasn’t sleeping very much nor very well back then for some reason). The other 46.2% of my time is spent on buses painted cheerful colors (and the pollutingest darn things you ever saw!), eating (I’m chronically hungry), and in bars (Fiji parties until 5 am: I am, unequivocally, too old for that ****. Though it slay me, yet will I order another beer).

Additionally, Shaun and I made a visit to some beautiful, buxom bull sharks:

What a lady!

were told to stop rocking the carriage on Suva’s most thrilling Ferris wheel:


There’s a screw loose!

and collected starfruit snacks fresh from a tree:



Wrapping up: I’ve got two months left for this project. I should light a fire under me; we need to have our paper in draft form soon so that it gets the necessary review before the Leader’s Talanoa (discussion) we’re convening. We’re inviting ministers and other leaders from around the region to come to Suva to have a chat about ways forward regarding deep-sea mining. Check back in a month (late July) for updates.



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