Molokai Represented at World Wilderness Congress
By Maile Naehu
Recently my husband Hano and I were invited to be delegates at the 10th World Wilderness Congress, or “Wild 10.” As we prepared for a presentation on Ocean Resource Management emphasizing fishponds, we had no idea what was in store of us in Salamanca, Spain.
On Oct. 1, we left our humble home to embark on a day and a half journey to Europe where the oldest university on the planet calls home. We arrived to a primarily Spanish speaking land until we met up with the other thousand or so delegates from around the globe. From every corner of the world, students, government policy-making officials, cultural practitioners, scientists and philanthropists gathered to share and learn about each other’s efforts to “make the world a wilder place.” This is their slogan in hopes that the wilderness will always have a last one half of the inhabitance of the land, sky and sea.
What I came to realize during the week there was that we must think globally and act locally. We must decipher between responsibility and rights. We must remember that the Creator prepared the counties of this earth so that we can survive. Most importantly, while Hano concluded his presentation, he said something that I never heard before but it just made so much sense and was incredibly life changing. He told everyone in the room, “If you don’t know how to care for your mama, the land, just turn your hands into the soil and you will remember. If you were never taught the lessons of your ancestors, just turn your hands into the earth and you will remember.”
I had to reflect on my role and responsibility that I’ve taken to malama `aina. In this era, we are often more concerned with our rights rather than our responsibilities. What rights can we claim if we haven’t been responsible stewards and caretakers first? After seeing and learning about the struggles with water, animals, plants, ocean and people on all continents except Antarctica, I was completely humbled. Delegates came from as far as the Arctic Circle, Australian Outback, India, Namibia, The Amazon Rainforest, various tribes from the Americas, and for the first time ever, Hawaii.
Upon arriving home, I was full of hope and love for this island so rich in resources and possibly an example to the world. We must think globally and act locally. We must protect our natural resources. We must turn our hands to the soil and remember. Now is the time.
For more information about the World Wilderness Congress and what was discussed, you can visit Wild10.com.