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 is used in medical research. Reefs also bring in billions of dollars from fishing and tourism, and protect our beaches and coastlines from storms. Reefs are disappearing at an alarming rate. The Hawaiian archipelago has suffered from several extreme coral bleaching events, caused by high ocean temperatures. 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 Obama created the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument, protecting 582,578 square miles near Hawaii. During its travels, the Polynesian Voyaging Societys Hōkūleʻa Worldwide Voyage gathered stories of hope and mālama honua of innovative ocean and environmental global solutions. Sister canoe Hikianalia 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!