There is something special about this place. The love the people hold for each other and for the land they live on is astounding to watch. The effort placed into conservation of the world around them is unrivaled by other cultures I have experienced, especially America. I think this is what makes this country special. There is no competition with the land and its inhabitants. Rather, there is a collective effort to live in harmony with the native flora and fauna. For example, visiting the sanctuary with the college students was an eye-opening experience. Sitting with my buddy, Josh, and talking about the things he has done throughout his school career to protect and live with the land was mind blowing. The experience that I was having for the first time was almost a regular occurrence for those that live here. They don’t sit around and wait for the land to die just to replace it with concrete jungle. Instead, they take action to save the land that they grew up on and have been taught to protect. To learn more about it, I asked Josh what things he has done that were like what we were doing. He said that his school, in practically every year, has conservation trips like this. For example, the senior class has a conservation trip of their own before they graduate and go on to university. I genuinely think this is so cool. These kids are being taught that the land that they live on should not be taken for granted. It is not just something they should take, but rather something that should have a symbiotic relationship with those that use its resources. They learn that, when you take care of the land and give it support, in the same ways it supports human life, it will thrive that much more. It’s like a chain. When one link in the chain is weak, the entire chain will fail. These people are learning that humans aren’t the entirety of the chain. Instead, the land, animals, and plants around them also make up vital parts that build a strong whole. This idea that the land is as much a part of us as we are a part of it, is a notion that should be carried throughout the world. This belief could be the very key that turns the tide in the climate change crisis that could one day save this planet we call home. Without a significant idealistic change, no widespread progress will ever be made. Ultimately, I don’t think I came to New Zealand with the hope that i would learn how to save the planet. And yet, I think that the little islands with the funny accents, thrill ride hotspots, and the little kiwi birds may very well hold the key that could change the world.