From the Pacific Islands to the Snowy Peaks of Iceland


Nov 30, 2021

The GREEN Program has finally come to a conclusion in Iceland and I am back in the United States!
Growing up in the Pacific Islands, I would have never thought I would see such a terrain covered in sleet ice, let alone lava rock all across the land.

Meet Joshua

Iceland: Renewable Energy Innovation & Sustainability
December 2019

Home Country: Federated States of Micronesia (FSM)
Pennsylvania State University Class of 2021
Earth Sciences and Policy – Climate Change Focus

Funded by:
– Vital Energy
– FSM National Government D.O.E.
– Dr. Merlynn Abello Alfonso

ck69snh3l011yxpi54ogd1ywm fa840cbc b682 4ada 9f94 7e095f03abd2

“The site of Iceland is like no other, and the receding glaciers I’ve now seen in person serve as the ultimate reminder as to why I continue to fight for our islands”

ck686qjxk0680g1i5jw87pd3h af4e1bd9 6e3c 473c b3fe 46c31896a1a5

Through the GREEN Program, 48 other students along with myself were granted premier access to the country’s most powerful renewable energy plants and were introduced to energy techniques only applied in Iceland. Aside from that, students gained the experience of a lifetime from adventures such as hiking mountain glaciers, resting in natural geo-thermal heated spas, visiting countless breath-taking waterfalls, and even super-jeeping across Iceland’s extensive snow terrain.

ck686q64g067lg1i5r89s9l10 1c6388d8 09e0 41b2 a27b 467e4fe805b4

While the program contained multitudes of benefactors, I learned just as much from my peers from all around the globe. The program was full of young, intelligent, and passionate individuals who are fighting for the environment.

It has instilled in me a holistic understanding of the complexities regarding teamwork toward combating global climate change.

There were multitudes of lessons and materials learned throughout my experience in Iceland. From a technical standpoint, Iceland effectively demonstrated key elements in regards to applying renewable energy to its maximum potential; not to mention that is was directly derived from their natural resources (geothermal & groundwater).

One method I look forward to possibly implementing back in Micronesia is sustainable carbon sequestration through the lines of running hydroelectricity. There is plenty of room for improvement on all levels in combating climate change in the Pacific, and I intend to contribute as much as I can. With that said, it is inconceivable for me to forget the impact my peers had on me.

My fellow classmates who were alongside me in Iceland reassured me that I was not alone in this war against climate change. I commemorate each of their individual efforts and undenying pursuit to foster the world’s environment. I was fortunate enough to learn and immerse myself amongst them all as their innovative ideas and incentives were shared through our collaborative Capstone Projects.

ck69tx1sw0140xpi55zja8cha 4502d92a 90fe 49a6 903b 53d18f96e73a
ck69u6q0l0132yhi54vca4c11 img 2725

My groups’ Capstone Project focused on creating a sustainable tunnel ventilation system with the crossover instillation of carbon sequestration technology. Tunnels have always been an integral piece of infrastructure, and were first found around 2160 B.C. In addition, tunnels are commonly used for utilities such as water and electricity distribution, as well as transportation.

Our idea revolved around instilling a modification within the tunnel to incorporate carbon sequestration technology. As many vehicles pass through tunnels, the ventilation system would capture, isolate, and remove harmful CO2 from the air and store it in different forms. After storing the carbon and isolating it, we could then resell waste carbon in all forms (solid, liquid, gas) to help the construction of tunnels. This can be done by adding the waste carbon into cement mixture, that way we are recycling and reusing carbon that is captured.

This idea would not have been possible to come up with if it weren’t for my ingenious teammates – Chris Douglas, Kayla Koenig, Justin Huamani, and Natalia Dzietzyk.

“The GREEN Program really instilled in me an understanding of the significance regarding diverse collaboration”

I would have never thought a Pacific Islander like myself would have any business or experiences in such a different part of the globe. For Micronesia, there’s a series of hurdles to get out of the country to purse higher education. And with climate change directly impacting our cultural identity, it’s crucial that we do all we can to preserve our indigenous ways.

Educational opportunities abroad such as The GREEN Program have helped me engage in unique learning experiences whilst expanding my overall skill set. Knowledge is power, and I can honestly say that international exposure will give you the best insight towards elevating self-cognizance and overall personal growth

ck687bw1506c8g1i5i9f87roz 13d40e8e e09e 4c8e acb4 55748f0ffb4c
ck687du7v06h7fhi5ivsz714f e25f3d6f 15b2 4564 9b86 f081448978dd
ck687cxwo06gxfhi55yjd3z6y 9ae65a95 2708 4952 a450 830ff403e65e

For this, I would like to say thank you once more. To my GREEN Guides, Hildur and Eyrún, thank you both and everyone else at The GREEN Program and Midgard Adventures. I deeply appreciate your efforts in allowing a Pacific Islander like myself to witness glaciers and the effects of climate change first-hand here in Iceland.

As a Micronesian, I say this, “In order for us youth to proceed on with receiving the torch of the next generation, we must first be given a chance to extend out our hand.”

Kalangahn! (thank you in Pohnpeian)

Text and images provided by Joshua J. Pangelinan
Connect with Joshua on LinkedIn

Read Another Article

Honoring Kate Slattery & Highlighting the Shine On Scholarship for Women’s History Month

In honor of Women’s History Month, The GREEN Program is happy to highlight Kate Slattery – a mechanical engineer and photovoltaic designer for SolarCity who challenged herself and others to work toward a global mission of renewable energy and sustainability. We are honored to work with Kate’s family and GivePower to share Kate’s story and provide the Shine On Scholarship to TGP students in memory of Kate. 

read more

How an Online Sustainability Program Helped Jaedyn Medrano Become an Intersectional Sustainability Advocate

This blog features the virtual Nepal Ethics of Sustainable Development Alum, Jaedyn Medrano who says, “this program taught me how to think about a project holistically, and it has guided me along the path to being a better cultured and inclusive young professional.” She is set to graduate with a double major in Renewable Natural Resources & Ecological Restorations in December of 2022.

read more

Defending Reproductive Rights in the Battle for Climate Justice

Reproductive Justice is Climate Justice. The GREEN Program stands to defend the reproductive rights of all women and people who give birth to access safe reproductive health care. We must do more to educate others and understand the interconnection between Reproductive Justice and the Climate Crisis. It’s important to draw the connections between climate change, pollution, and reproductive rights.

read more

An International Graduate Student Embraces Nepali Culture by Studying Abroad through Shine On Scholarship

On one hand, I believe that every student should be given a chance to study abroad at least once in their life, because it teaches us things that textbooks cannot: adaptability, resilience, curiosity, empathy, just to name a few. Whether good or bad, bursting our bubble and learning about our world will inspire us and open our minds. On the other hand, the people we interact with benefit from the diversity, because all of us bring unique perspectives to the table. Perhaps we share an idea that no one has thought of but could be key to solving a problem; we fuel the aspirations of someone who is facing similar difficulties; or help take down stereotypes.  

read more

Remembering Juneteenth and the Fight for Environmental Justice

n June 19, 1865, Major General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston, TX, and announced the end of the Civil War and the end of slavery. It is on this day every year since that we celebrate “Juneteenth” as the end of slavery in the United States. It is a day that we celebrate ancestors and leaders who fought to be liberated. We celebrate their power, resiliency, and tenacity. 

read more

LGBTQ+ Leaders and Organizations in Sustainability to Know About this Pride Month

The GREEN Program loves to celebrate love, and there is no better way to do that this month than by recognizing a few LGBTQ+ leaders and organizations that are making a difference not just in their own communities but for our planet altogether. Read below to learn more about some people and spaces that are working together to promote a better world that focuses on inclusion and equality.

read more

Meet 8 AAPI Leaders in Sustainability: Across the Globe and At Home

The month of May is known to many as the end of classes and the start of Summer, but May is also known as Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. Our team at TGP wanted to take a moment to recognize the contributions and influence of AAPI Americans throughout history, culture, and achievements both on a global scale, and from those who are a bit close to home. We also encourage you to learn more about AAPI Heritage Month and get involved through additional resources.

read more

From a Start Up to a Sustainability Study Abroad Program: How Patrick Applied his Passion for Renewable Energy in Iceland

When Fall 2021 rolled around and I saw the TGP scholarship opportunity, I thought I’d apply not expecting much. When I found out that I actually got it, I was like “I guess I’m actually doing this!”. I was a little nervous and anxious but also so excited for the opportunity! I was also grateful that the enrollment process was very smooth for me with no significant challenges along the way.

read more

Boston University Student Gains a Unique Perspective for Renewable Energy & Sustainability by Studying Abroad in Iceland

Global experiences have definitely shaped me into the person I am today through increased cultural awareness and sensitivity. Getting to really know a great group of diverse individuals from all over the world has not only shaped my perspective on current world issues, but has also allowed me to take a glance at certain topics from another angle and point of view.

read more

A Construction Science Major Turns Lessons into Opportunity after a Sustainability Study Abroad Program 

AJ Ewing spent his past Winter Break a little bit differently than most students, by studying abroad on our GREEN Nepal program. As a Construction Science major, AJ notes that he was nervous coming into the study abroad program having no prior experience in sustainability or electrical/solar grids, but he was excited and eager to learn. As soon as he arrived, all his nerves were gone as he was welcomed by our team and ready to dive in. Now, he can honestly say that when he thinks of The GREEN Program, he thinks of “family away from home.”

read more

How a Geologist Made His Sustainability Dream in Iceland a Reality through a Study Abroad Scholarship

As someone who is in a field with a limited representation of ethnic minorities, TGP created a neutral ground where there was a range of diversity on different levels. My GREEN Program experience in Iceland wasn’t just about the adventures and cultural immersion, but about the education too. I thoroughly enjoyed the lectures because I saw how passionate the different lecturers were about their work and research which is truly inspiring. As a geologist, learning more about the wonder that is Iceland in Iceland was definitely a dream come true.

read more

Get to Know GREENie: Maryam Aida Tidjani

Maryam Aida Tidjani got to experience a brand new kind of GREEN Program during the hard times the world was facing, a 100% Virtual and Online experience. Initially planning on traveling to Peru in 2021, the global pandemic continued to shift things around and we had to pivot all travel programs to Online experiences.

read more

Subscribe to The GREEN Program newsletter & updates

Skip to content