How People Of The Pacific Are Navigating Us To A Better Future

hokulea close up

Over the past 40 years, I’ve spent a lot of time on the wooden deck of a sailing canoe. The experience, which has brought our crew around the world to diverse and beautiful places, has been a wake up call like no other.

Forty years ago, the ability to navigate the world’s oceans without instruments was nearly extinct in my home of Hawaiʻi. The rest of Hawaiian knowledge, culture and tradition was very close to being lost forever, too.

Together with a diverse group of individuals, we formed the Polynesian Voyaging Society, and found one of earth’s last traditional navigators, Mau Piailug, living in Micronesia. Through him, the voyaging traditions that helped our ancestors find Hawaiʻi helped our generation discover our place in the world again.

Through these ancient wayfinding traditions, the ocean became our way to reconnect with and build a global family.

Over the decades, our voyaging canoe, the Hōkūleʻa, has sailed more than 150,000 nautical miles. As everything around us changed, and the life of the ocean and health of our planet began to diminish, we sought to reconnect with the elements and with each other.

The Hōkūleʻa’s small crew is at sea for weeks at a time, completely open to the elements and navigating without any modern instruments. At sea, all we have is each other; water and food are limited and our lives depend on respecting each other and understanding the natural world.

The lessons learned at sea are invaluable to us as we try to navigate through Island Earth’s many environmental crises.

The limits of our land and oceans are now clearer than ever before, and our generation has to steward our gifts very carefully. Taking our cues from nature is more relevant now than we could have ever imagined, and our current —> Read More