In Hawaii, we pride ourselves with living off the grid. Being an island community, the notion is not far-fetched, yet the idea of us living independently of the mainland is one that requires a bit more imagination. Not to mention, complete denial of the fact that we are not a self-sufficient state.
As islanders, we like to romanticize our position in the world and overlook our dependence on pretty much everyone else for energy, machinery and many foods in favor of celebrating our local goods and beauty. Additionally, we rely on tourism as a major chunk of our economy. Hawaii’s abundance of stunningly beautiful raw nature, myriad species of plants, flowers birds and fish – not to mention our unique culture –give us this leverage, and a nature-focused lifestyle to boot. But our focus now should be on creating a plan to preserve our environment by turning to green initiatives. Conscious consumption and living in the form of seeking renewable energy sources, reducing our waste and growing and purchasing locally should all be a point of pride as significant as our geographic status.
Many businesses and residents are already on board. Dozens of farmers’ markets serve as an incubator for local business, supporting a network of organic farms and artisans. Most markets are moving towards becoming zero waste facilities, employing sustainable practices like compostable packaging and utensils and many Waikiki hotels such as the Modern Honolulu are on their way to becoming green certified, and there is an increasing push towards implementing renewable energy. The islands may be small, but we must do all we can to control our greenhouse gas emissions to preserve them.
As islands in the middle of the Pacific, Hawaii is particularly vulnerable to the effects of global climate changes. To protect Hawaii’s environment and reduce our impact on global warming, renewable energy sources are needed. Over 90 percent of Hawaii’s energy comes from burning imported fossil fuels, most of which is used for air or automobile travel. Since us islanders need to get off the rock every now and again, we are well-versed in understanding the need for travel, but that doesn’t mean we can get complacent about it. We ask, what can we do to reduce our impact whilst at home? A significant change would be making electrical vehicles or major ground transportation and reducing car trips altogether.
Unlike the continental U.S. states, Hawaii does not have access to fuel sources such as natural gas or large rivers to produce hydropower, but it does have the ability to harness the power of the sun, wind, ocean and geothermal power. Diversifying Hawaii’s mix of energy sources by using more locally produced renewable energy to produce electricity – especially for transportation – is the best way to help us less dependent on fossil fuels.
Small changes like biking, walking or taking public transportation yield big impacts. Besides, getting out of the car is the best way to experience Hawaii! Acting locally contributes to a cleaner, more self-sufficient Hawaii.
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Owner of An Island Life and Family Review Network. Wife, mother, and flight attendant . . . living a blessed life in Hawaii.