Warning that we are dangerously close to breaking the limit of how we should use oceans, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today reunited with a Polynesian voyaging canoe crew who are using traditional methods to circumvent the world and highlight the importance of protecting our bodies of water.
“Your voyage was a testament to the power of island people. You showed the resilience of island culture – and the timeless value of island wisdom,” the Secretary-General told the Hokule’a Worldwide Voyage on a rainy morning in New York.
The journey, which started in Hawaii this May, is known as Malama Honua, meaning “to care for our island earth.” Organized by the Polynesian Voyaging Society, the crew is planning to cover 47,000 nautical miles, 85 ports and 26 countries, by the time the canoe docks in June 2017.
Mr. Ban met with the crew in the Samoan capital of Apia in September 2014, during the Third Small Island Developing State Conference. He boarded the canoe, along with senior UN officials and President of Palau, Tommy Remengesau Jr., and gave the crew a message in a bottle that read: “I am inspired by its global mission. As you tour the globe, I will work and rally more leaders to our common cause of ushering in a more sustainable future and a life of dignity for all.”
The bottle was returned to Mr. Ban today, along with ocean protection declarations collected from people around the world. Below, watch highlights of today’s event at Gantry Plaza State Park in Long Island City.
Credit: United Nations