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I am the outcome of decisions made,  

So a few people can get well paid. 

You want your golf courses to be perfect, green and neat. 

Meanwhile I poison the shellfish you eat.

As the ocean gets hotter and hotter,

algal blooms, domoic acid ensues,

I kill off your precious sea otters.

It’s in your face, the displaced: 

Washed-up dolphins, sea turtles, and manatees.

One by one, I suffocate your vital blue seas. 

Do you need a fertilizer detective? 

You can’t seem to come together as an intelligent human collective.

I am the result of your short-term perspective.

The water is the only thing I can hear, 

The stream is whispering things in my ear, 

Telling me secrets only the plants and animals know.

Birds welcome the burbling stream

As it briefly sees this part of the world 

Before it moves on to see the rest.  

I smell the fresh water that came from an unseen spring miles upstream 

Where the Earth gives birth to the water

Spilling the young stream onto the soil.

New flowers spring up all around me, 

Welcoming spring,

Carrying scents sweeter than honey to my nose.

Bees step onto their delicate petals

Telling the flowers stories 

Of the world they can’t see.  

I taste the clean air, 

The last bitter cold of winter melts away in my mouth, 

But it stays in the frigid stream for eternity.

The stream is in front of me, as clear as crystal.

I can see the moss-covered rocks below the surface.  

The water covers them in a blanket.

A deer licks the fresh water, happy to find it unpolluted.

The dappled sunlight falls on his soft brown coat.

Water drips from his wet muzzle, back into the stream where it belongs.

My fingers slip into cold water, cold as ice, 

But I am filled with warmth 

To know water will always be a part of me.  

It licks my fingers

As if to say how happy it is to see an old friend.

I smile as I watch the stream change and shift.


Dark. Inky. Black.

So many words for the absence of light.

Light on.


Bright. Ivory. Snowy. Blinding.

Even more words for its presence.

Mud. Coral. Stone. Volcanoes. Vents. 

So much difference hidden in the shadows.

So much diversity crushed by man’s follies.


That’s what they have lied and told us it is.

Its exploration, not exploitation.

Don’t look at the rubble and dead deep.

Look at the small bonuses and barely renewable sources.

Don’t look at the important ecosystems crushed.

Look at your shiny new smartphone.


Not. Stop. Ignore. Don’t.

So many words to keep us in the dark. 

So many words to stop us from rebelling for our planet.

From standing up for our future.

From defending our basic human rights.

From slowing the death of our precious planet. 


Optimism. Solutions. Youth. Change. Hope.

Endless words for the good.

Countless words for the bad.

So many words for the future.

My favorite most enriching part of SEAL 2022 was our circle up moments on trail, because we were able to share love, and feel empowered to share with one another, learn from one another and connect more with the beautiful nature around us and our new friends from across the world.

I was so empowered I felt like I could do anything by the end.

I learned how to make a fire kit, how to make and sustain good fire for warmth and food, and how to be one with the woods, various ways to sustain our planet, new languages and cultures, leadership skills, and so much more. 

Participants at SEAL 2022 circle up to process the activities and take-aways of the 1st day on trail.

During my trip to Thailand, I along with six other Heirs from around the world took a masterclass in reef restoration taught by Reef Ecologic.

We learned about the reproductive cycle of corals as well as different ways to help boost the revival of coral reefs. I had the opportunity to take a look at different techniques that would be exceptional for use in Palau, one of these methods being coral reef nurseries. In a coral reef nursery, you have sets of coral fragments set in various positions to excel growth. Once the coral fragments have reached a certain size they are placed onto the reef and set in place to grow into large corals. Building nurseries provides a larger survival rate for the corals which, in turn, leads to a larger likeliness of all of the fragments surviving. 

With the opportunity to dive in Thailand came the saddening experience of seeing how dire the situations of other ocean-dependent countries really are, but I want to see it as a wake-up call for all countries because we all need a healthy ocean. It is our lifeline and without it we are nothing. Palau as a small nation needs to take a stand for its lifeline. As a youth as well as a citizen of Palau I want my nation to be a role model for other countries to take a stand and save our ocean.

Setting up coral reef nurseries in Palau and spreading coral growth to places where the coral population has died down would help Palau before the problem of coral decline arises.  Also, communication about ocean issues is also very important. Being able to speak to people about the problems our oceans face is the first step to ocean conservation.

Participants at Reef Restoration Masterclass in Thailand.

I felt honoured to be offered the opportunity to go, with sponsorship from H2OO, to Valdes Peninsula in Patagonia, Argentina, and to represent Heirs To Our Ocean (H2OO) there.  This was my first time representing H2OO on an excursion and I was privileged doing so alongside Rakau and the other Heirs.

It was an amazing experience and I got to do things that I have never done before like spending the day with elephant seals and Penguins. Being still for long periods of time observing what was around me was really interesting.  I enjoyed learning how to imitate the elephant seals in order to be able to move closer to them.

I enjoyed living alongside the local scientists and visiting scientists like Dr. Ingrid Visser from New Zealand and learning what they do. 

What I noticed is that we need to keep the oceans and the beaches clean.  I saw a sea lion with a plastic strap around its neck and there was nothing we could do. It would die…this is sad! 

I would like to know more about Ngati Kuri’s (my tribes) connection to seals as they are our symbol animal. I also what to know more about my local iwi/ tribes thoughts and views on our environment so I can share this knowledge with others when I travel.

My personal goal is to grow in confidence in my ability to write and speak in front of others so that I can share my ideas and learn more from those around me. (as my first language is not English)  

I would like to say thank you to H2OO for giving me this experience and I look forward to continuing to grow in this space into the future.

Heirs work with researchers on Valdes Peninsula in Patagonia, Argentina.

The Policy Advocacy Retreat was so much fun and an incredible experience.

I loved every second of it and everyone was very understanding and supportive.

This was so awesome, I learned so much about building strong arguments to take to lawmakers so that we youth can make change in our communities and nationally.

Living in Guam has made opportunities like this rare as we do not have a voting member of Congress and live thousands of miles away from the U.S. Capitol so I am so grateful for the chance to be an advocate and learn how to speak to lawmakers across the nation.

Participants at H2OO’s Policy Advocacy Retreat 2021.

I am so grateful to have been given the opportunity of traveling to Thailand to learn coral restoration techniques with my fellow Heirs and other people who care about our ocean. Overall it was a really great experience. Throughout Reef Ecologic’s course, I learned many new things that we could do in Palau and how to help preserve coral reefs around the world. 

I was so happy that we were able to first learn in the classroom and then be given the opportunity to actually do the work in the ocean. We learned different techniques on how to properly plant corals to help restore a reef.  We also learned to collect coral data including their health, their sizes, and how they are doing in their environment.  I learned that it’s really easy to do and that we could do this anywhere, but the only thing that’s preventing us to is the lack of resources. 

I think the best restoration technique that we could use in Palau would be the tray technique because we can easily install and maintain them and also monitor how the corals are doing, and we have the locations to do it. Overall I’m really thankful for this once-in-a-lifetime experience that was given to me, and no doubt I will forever cherish this memorable experience. And I will do everything that I can to help educate other people about all that I learned in this course and to help restore our beautiful ocean not just for us but also for future generations to enjoy.

Carlos in Thailand for Reef Ecologic’s Coral Restoration Masterclass.

The journey to Koh Tao, Thailand, this summer was very exciting, and inspirational and has motivated me, even more, to take action to protect our oceans and corals.

Through this hands-on class, I was able to understand that there are many ways to protect the oceans and that there’s always hope when it comes to drastic effects of climate change to our small islands. As I was doing this work, I felt relieved and comforted. 

Having this opportunity in Thailand — training, observing, practicing new techniques, and working with professionals — has expanded my knowledge about the ocean and the importance of protecting it.

I’m most thankful to Heirs To Our Ocean for providing me with this opportunity. 

Uldekel at the coral restoration class in Thailand.

The Hill Days organized by the U.S. Youth Advisory Committee for the UN Ocean Decade (U.S. YAC for UNOD) for World Ocean Day was my first time having the opportunity to travel to the U.S. Capitol to speak face-to-face with lawmakers and advocate for the issues I care about.

It was a life-changing experience for me! I connected immediately with the young activists who came together for the event and made many lasting connections both in and out of the U.S. YAC for UNOD.

After this experience I am confident our generation can truly make a difference.

Christine and Bridgette on meeting with lawmaker at World Oceans Day Hill Days 2022 organized by the U.S. Youth Advisory Council for the UN Ocean Decade 2nd Cohort policy committee.

I grew up on the coast of Northern California and have seen firsthand how contaminated water harms the health of humans and wild ecosystems.

As a member of H2OO’s RAISE initiative – Regenerative Agriculture and Indigenous Systems for our Environment – I learned so much and was presented with numerous opportunities to take concrete steps and action including engaging with communities directly that are affected by conventional degenerative agricultural practices.

By changing our industrial agricultural practices to traditional decolonized practices, we take a significant step toward ensuring everyone on this planet has access to clean water.

Members of H2OO’s RAISE Initiative at a local farmers market.

When I first arrived at Bioneers, I saw many young people that care about the environment. On the last day, there was a workshop that I particularly enjoyed. It was a small group, so I did not feel shy talking to them. We talked about climate change and plastic pollution and how we felt about it. Everyone had similar feelings. Some of us live in a small town, where there is nature everywhere, but some lived in the city and were not that lucky.

I met a third-grade girl who spoke better than some adults I have heard present. She helped me remember that there is faith in the youth. She made me realize that YES, we are here and our voices need to be heard. And YES this is our planet, our mother, and we need to take care of her.

My favorite part of Bioneers was when a woman was reading the apology she always wanted to hear from her Dad, the man who sexually abused her for ten years. Her story made me tear up. I thought her speech was not going to get better, but it did. She apologized to Mother Earth, and her words stuck with me. “I am sorry, the bees that are dying…” and just like her I am sorry that we humans have made the Earth a place where ecosystems are dying, a place where the air is limited because of us because many people value money more than their children’s future.

I loved the experience at Bioneers and hope to come back in the future. 

It was truly a self-reflecting experience.

Participants at Bioneers Conference 2019.