In just a few weeks, the historic Hawaiian voyaging canoes, Hōkūle‘a and Hikianalia, will set sail from Hawai‘i on their 47,000-nautical-mile voyage around the world. The next time these canoes will return home will be in 2017! During the next 37 months, communities from all over the world–many of whom may have never heard about the voyaging culture of the Pacific–will be able to see the canoes, walk upon the decks, and engage in meaningful cultural exchanges with the crew members.
One particular set of stories that will be shared throughout this voyage is about the conservation efforts being conducted for major bodies of water around the world. Specifically, the Polynesian Voyaging Society will be working closely with dedicated staff at the UNESCO Marine World Heritage Programme to highlight the pristine beauty of the Marine World Heritage Sites, otherwise known as the “crown jewels of our oceans.”
The mission of UNESCO’s Marine World Heritage Programme is “to establish effective conservation of existing and potential marine areas of Outstanding Universal Value to make sure they will be maintained and thrive for generations to come.” This is directly in line with the values of the Worldwide Voyage so to honor the work that UNESCO is doing in this field, Hokule’a will be stopping at many of the Marine World Heritage Sites over the next three years (see map below).
Over the course of the voyage, we will be producing stories, photos, and video footage of the conservation efforts going on in these large ocean sites as well as in communities around the world. These “Learning Journeys” will serve to showcase people and organizations doing their part to mālama honua, or “care for Island Earth.”
In the end, regardless of where you’re from, 3 out of your next 4 breaths come from the ocean. So we MUST make it our responsibility–our kuleana–to preserve that which sustains us.