April 2, 2019
A Thought Leader Series Piece
By Nainoa Thompson
“Nainoa, you have no idea how beautiful your Island Earth is until you see it from space. But we are changing it. It’s going to change us. And we’re not prepared for the change.”
Conversations with one of my best friends and teachers, the late Hawaii-born astronaut Lacy Veach, would often end up this way. He would then say, “You can’t protect what you don’t understand, what you don’t care about.”
To understand the Earth, Lacy urged me to sail around the world on the Hōkūleʻa, a deep-sea voyaging canoe, as the ancient Polynesians did: using as wayfinding tools the stars, the winds, the waves and other cues from nature. No modern instruments. No GPS.