One of the great things about Hawai‘i life is our year-round, near perfect and oh-so-consistent climate. Coupled that with rich, volcanic soil and ample rainfall and we have a year-round growing season. Our climate (and micro-climates) lend us several key advantages. We can condition our indoor air with tradewinds instead of machines, saving on energy costs. With wet and dry microclimates, elevation, and different soil types, we can produce different types of food in the islands, too. Inclement weather doesn’t keep us from walking or riding our bike, instead of driving. Plus, we don’t need to spend money on snow tires, clothes for four seasons, or central heating in winter.
All of this means that we can live a more eco-friendly, sustainable lifestyle here in the islands, especially compared to other places. However, you can still make your daily life more sustainable through small but conscious lifestyle changes. We can all contribute in small ways to reduce our carbon footprint, in order to preserve the beauty of our islands and of our planet for future generations to enjoy. With the cost of fuel and shipping, not to mention the effect of fossil fuels on our environment, keeping it local is just one way to live more sustainably in these remote islands. Here are a few more small and large ways you can live a more sustainable life here in Hawaii.
When you’re grocery shopping, check out the local farmers’ markets. Almost every major town in Hawaii has at least one market a few days a week. From Hilo to Hanalei, and everywhere in between, you can find local markets serving up delicious, fresh, local fare grown right here in Hawaii. If you mostly shop in-store, seek out the produce from local farms, and the locally made products over imported items.
Support Green Businesses
Many local companies are taking strides to be more eco-friendly – by using biodegradable (or less) packaging, for example, or by having company-wide recycling programs. If you have the choice, buy eco-friendly, local products to support their values as well as the local economy.
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
Because it’s important! It’s a time-honored way to save waste. Our landfills are filling up quickly and there may come a day where we’ll have nowhere to put our waste. Remember that Hawaii’s Deposit Beverage Container program also pays $.05 for you to turn in your bottles. Use your blue box to recycle glass, plastic, and paper. Buy in bulk at the grocery store for items not available at the market and save on packaging. Dried spices, granola, nuts, and flour are available in the bulk aisle, for example. When you need new furniture or even small utensils, visit antique shops, thrift stores, garage sales or check online for bargains and great used items. Instead of buying new furniture that uses fuel to be shipped here, you can often find great stuff for less.
Before you throw out old furniture, clothing, sports gear, or books, consider donating it to your local Goodwill or similar charity. We have a homeless crisis here in Hawaii and even those with roofs over their heads often struggle to make ends meet with the high cost of living here. One person’s trash is another person’s treasure, so please take the time to make a donation to help some of our kama‘aina in need.