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Sustainable Hawaii

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"What do the people of Hawai‘i want for the future of our islands in the 21st century? What is the community’s will for the future of our economy, society and environment? What steps can we take now to achieve that preferred future for our children and their children?" - Hawaii 2050 Sustainability Plan

In 2005, the Hawai‘i State Legislature sought to answers these questions about the long-term future of Hawaii. In doing so, they developed local-level and state-level initiatives such as the Hawaii 2050 Sustainability Plan. This plan helps to reduce the risks associated with Hawaii’s current dependence on imported services and products. The Hawaii 2050 Sustainability plan also helps build resilience to address unavoidable impacts caused by climate change, and create new economic opportunities in Hawaii.

Goals for Hawai‘i 2050, From the Hawaiian 2050 Sustainability Plan:

Goal One:

  • A Way of Life – Living sustainably is part of our daily practice in Hawai‘i.

Goal Two:

  • The Economy – Our diversified and globally competitive economy enables us to meaningfully live, work and play in Hawai‘i.

Goal Three:

  • Environment and Natural Resources – Our natural resources are responsibly and respectfully used, replenished and preserved for future generations.

Goal Four:

  • Community and Social Well-Being – Our community is strong, healthy, vibrant and nurturing, providing safety nets for those in need.

Goal Five:

  • Kanaka Maoli and Island Values – Our Kanaka Maoli (Native Hawaiians) and island cultures and values are thriving and perpetuated.

In order to further understand these sustainability goals, it is important to understand what sustainability is, and it’s history in Hawaii.

What is Sustainability?

Sustainability is making sure that our resources provide us with enough food, water and materials to ensure that the population’s health and needs can be taken care of as well as the environment.

A sustainable Hawaii achieves the following:

  • Respects the culture, character, beauty and history of our state’s island communities.
  • Preserves and protects the natural environment from harm and pollution.
  • Strikes a balance between economic, social and community, and environmental priorities.
  • Meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

History of Sustainability in Hawaii

During the pre-immigration era of Hawaii, when the Hawaiian Kingdom was still in order, Hawaii was a fully sustainable nation that relied on Ahapuaʻa systems. An Ahapuaʻa system was the ancient Hawaiian way of dividing up land in order to thrive off of nature’s resources without interrupting the natural rhythm of the environment. The ahapuaʻa systems included everything from food and water production to the recycling of any remains; nothing was wasted and everything returned back to the land. However, with the introduction of immigration the population of Hawaii began to grow larger than what the island could supply. This led to the reliance of shipping, and we are now about 80% reliant on imported food. The issue here is that Hawaii is so far away from major shipping routes that if a shipping company decides that Hawaii is no longer a profitable market and eliminates the Islands from their shipping route, there would be a detrimental impact to Hawaii’s economy and communities.

How can you contribute to a making Hawaii sustainable?

  • Buy local. When you buy local you increase the demand for agriculture.
  • Join a club or volunteer group with a focus on sustainability. Go Ramble is proud to partner with Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii, a local nonprofit, that helps protect our beaches and educates the local community on the importance of reducing plastic consumption.
  • Reduce the amount of trash that enters the environment by refusing single use plastics, and recycling.
  • Start your own garden to become less dependent on imported foods and products.
  • Educate yourself about Native Hawaiian rights and history to have a better understanding and respect for cultural preservation and perpetuation.
  • Boycott and protest products and developments that threaten natural resources.
  • Go Green


A'ohe hana nui ka alu 'ia - It is no great task when done together. Sustainability is possible for the future of Hawaii if we all work together!

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