Hānau ka ʻuku koʻakoʻa, hanau kana, he ʻākoʻakoʻa puka
(A coral insect was born, from which was born perforated coral)
Queen Liliuʻokalani, 1897, excerpt from The Kumulipo
(The Hawaiian Creation Chant)
Oceans are the lungs of the Earth. They produce 50 – 80% of our oxygen and consume 25% of our carbon dioxide. The most biodiverse marine ecosystems, coral reefs are home to 25 % of our ocean’s creatures, from tiny algae to great white sharks. Coral reefs bring in billions of dollars from fishing and tourism, and protect our beaches and coastlines from storms. But coral reefs are disappearing at an alarming rate. The Hawaiian Archipelago has suffered from several extreme coral bleaching events, caused by high ocean temperatures. Even if climate change were to stop today, scientists expect 90% of coral will die by 2050. If climate change doesn’t stop today, all of coral could go extinct. The ocean is dying–and with it much of our world’s food supply.
What can we do? President George W. Bush helped create the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument, and President Barack Obama expanded it, protecting 582,578 square miles near Hawaii.
During their travels the Polynesian Voyaging Society’s Hōkūleʻa Worldwide Voyage gathered stories of hope to Mālama Honua through innovative ocean and environmentally sustainable global solutions. Polynesian Voyaging Society’s sister canoe, Hikianalia, also uses science and sustainable technologies to share stories with students of all ages. Dive into ocean conservation, and sign up for a beach cleanup or a honu (turtle) watch. Be sure and slather on reef-safe sunscreen!