“Can we have chocolate for breakfast” asked young students at the Polynesian Voyaging Society (PVS) Learning Center? Miki Tomita, Director of Educational Programs at the PVS Learning Center, calmly tells the students to put the chocolate away and continue with their activities. Miki is one of the many voyaging crew members working to prepare these young children for the future of voyaging. We asked Miki to share with us the symbolism of voyaging and sustainability. What sustainability issue would you want to solve in your lifetime? If we invest time, energy, resources and love into education, then instead of solving one problem we can solve them all. Our children can help us to solve what we have not been able to in our generation. The most inspirational thing about this voyage is that education is the primary driver. We get to explore and uncover what people all around the world are doing to help educate the next generation to make the world a better place. Can you share what the Worldwide Voyage entails? The PVS Hawaiian voyaging canoes, Hōkūleʻa and Hikianalia, are on a five year, 60,000 nautical mile voyage to discover how local communities around the world are navigating toward a sustainable future. The Hawaiian name for this voyage, Mālama Honua, means “to care for our Earth.” Living on an island chain teaches us that our natural world is a gift with limits and that we must carefully steward this gift if we are to survive together. What are the goals of the Worldwide Voyage? One of the goals is continuing the traditions way finding, practicing Hawaiian values like mālama honua and aloha everywhere around the world. Here in Hawaii we strive to live, breathe, and practice aloha everyday. Some know that they want to do something to care for our environment and resources, but haven’t found the pathway. Some people don’t yet fully understand their actions cause negative impacts. Nainoa Thompson, President of PVS and master navigator, believes the goal of the worldwide voyage is to help people find the inspiration to turn that aloha towards our planet; to launch 10,000 voyages for a healthier planet. How do navigators prepare and get selected for a voyage? PVS has over 400 volunteers who were identified as eligible to train as crew for the Worldwide Voyage. Whether you start as an apprentice to a navigator or volunteer, you might get asked to go on a short sail and then build your experience form there. Captains and other leaders select from the pool of navigators based on voyage needs and local knowledge, while also ensuring different communities are represented. One might feel fear, exhilaration, doubt or all three. Knowing that someone else on the crew or someone thousands of years before you may have stood on the deck, felt these same emotions and pushed through is profoundly transformational. You feel a connection with the people who were cultivating and practicing the spirit of voyaging for thousands of years. You feel a sense of “ohana” or family. When you’re steering the canoe, it’s just as important to “back sight,” or turn around and look back. We follow the stars -- we look for signs in the environment that surrounds us. We have to physically turn around and look back to see the path that we’ve sailed. We can’t see ahead very well, but can see behind very well. We are sailing in the wake of the ancestors. The future is attempting to live in the wake of the ancestors.