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Creation Myth & the Origins of Bikini Island
Adapted from Creation Myths of the World by David A. Leeming
Laura Beach; courtesy of Stefan Lins

In ancient times, when there was only water, Lowa (the uncreated) was alone. When he hummed, the islands emerged along with the reefs and sand banks. He hummed again and the plants and animals grew. Lowa made four gods for the four directions and a seagull god to constantly circle the sky. Lowa also created a man, who put the islands into a basket made from coconut leaves and set them in an order -- the Carolines to the west and the Marshall Islands in a straight line, except for Namorik, which fell out of the basket.

After Lowa placed all the islands, he threw away the basket. It became Kili Island. Only one of the islands had coconut trees at the time, the little sandy island of Bikini (from bok, meaning sand, and ni, meaning coconut).[1]

About Laura

Laura (Lora) is a village in the Marshall Islands, located in the west of Majuro atoll. At approximately 10 feet above sea level, Laura has the highest elevation of any islands in the Majuro Atoll.[2]

Republic of the Marshall Islands

Aolepān Aorōkin M̧ajeļ
Flag of the Marshall Islands; courtesy of wikimedia
Map of the Marshall Islands; courtesy of wikimedia

Capital: Majuro
Population: 67,182 (2011)
Land Area:181 sq km (69.9 sq miles)[3]
Languages: Marshallese, English
Indigenous Ethnicities: Marshallese
Greetings: Yowke

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The Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) consists of five single islands and 29 atolls, including the atolls of Bikini, Enewetak, Kwajalein, Majuro, Rongelap, and Utirik. These landmasses total 181 sq km of land spanning 11,673 sq km of lagoon waters. The terrain is characterized by low coral limestone and sand islands, and the highest point occurs on Likiep atoll (10 m).[4]

Some of the current environmental issues facing RMI residents includes: inadequate supplies of potable water and pollution of Majuro lagoon from household waste and discharges from fishing vessels. Further, RMI residents are experiencing the effects of nuclear testing on Bikini and Enewetak atolls. These atolls are vacant, and Kwajalein atoll is used as a US missile test range. Ebeye is the second largest settlement in the Marshall Islands, after the capital of Majuro, and one of the most densely populated locations in the Pacific. RMI is also party to several environmental international agreements, including: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands, and Whaling.[5]

Learn more about Environment in RMI:

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Climate & Climate Impacts

Climate in RMI is characterized as tropical—generally hot and humid, moderated by trade winds throughout the year. Average temperature is about 80oF, and the range between the coolest and the warmest months averages less than 1 degree Fahrenheit.[6]

There are two seasons: wet season is between May and November, and dry season occurs between December and April. Rainfall varies throughout RMI. Southern atolls can average up to 160 inches/year, while northern atolls average only about 20 inches/year. RMI borders the typhoon belt. Typhoons are rare; although, in the last 3 years there have been three major cyclones.[7]

Learn more about Climate & Climate Impacts in RMI:
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History & Way of Life

Learn more about History & Way of Life in RMI:

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Learn more about Education in RMI:
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Photo Gallery

Want to know how to add photos to this gallery? Please see the Photo Gallery Tutorial.

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Tell Your Climate Story

You can share a story about how climate change is affecting your community in two ways

Add a Story using Facebook

Or Create a New Wiki Page with Pictures and Links

  1. Create a new wiki page
  2. Give it a title that includes your name
  3. Tag your page as Marshall Islands story.
  4. Tell us your story (you can even include pictures and links!)
Your new page will appear in the list of Marshall Islands Climate Stories here.

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  1. ^ Leeming, D.A. (2010). Creation myths of the world: An encyclopedia (2nd ed.). Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO, LCC.
  2. ^ http://www.trussel2.com/MOD/MED2L.htm#%E1%B8%B7ora
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