CURWOOD: It's Yap time in the western Pacific. Early each March, Yap Day kicks off a festival with competition and grass skirt dancing, canoe racing, and coconut tree climbing. Yap Island is the most traditional of the four federated states of Micronesia and has a history rich in, well, riches. Yap's claim to fame is its stone money, or rai, donut-shaped currency quarried from the limestone caves of Palau, an island 200 miles south of Yap. Although they can tower up to 12 feet in diameter, the value of each stone isn't determined by its size. Instead, it's the journey that makes or breaks a stone's value. Traditionally the men of Yap would brave the ocean in dugout canoes to bring the massive stones back. The more treacherous the journey, the more valuable the stone. Today, the Yapese use more contemporary currency, but if you walk through some villages you'll see stone money lining the footpaths. But you'll need more than cunning to loot the bank. The average stone weighs several tons. And for this week that's the Living on Earth Almanac.
(Music up and under)
Living on Earth wants to hear from you!
P.O. Box 990007
Boston, MA, USA 02199
Donate to Living on Earth!
Living on Earth is an independent media program and relies entirely on contributions from listeners and institutions supporting public service. Please donate now to preserve an independent environmental voice.
Sailors For The Sea: Be the change you want to sea.
Innovating to make the world a better, more sustainable place to live. Listen to the race to 9 billion
The Grantham Foundation for the Protection of the Environment: Committed to protecting and improving the health of the global environment.
Energy Foundation: Serving the public interest by helping to build a strong, clean energy economy.
Contribute to Living on Earth and receive, as our gift to you, an archival print of one of Mark Seth Lender's extraordinary wildlife photographs. Follow the link to see Mark's current collection of photographs.
Buy a signed copy of Mark Seth Lender's book Smeagull the Seagull & support Living on Earth