Posted by Rebecca Sandvig on January 05, 2017
"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:
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:
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?
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!