Mālama ‘Āina: Tips for Sustainable Living in Hawaii

by | Apr 26, 2021 | At Home In Hawaii

As land of unmatched beauty, Hawaii draws millions of tourists and new residents each year. The experience of life in paradise is a dream come true, and as we enjoy the beauty of such an incredibly diverse environment, it becomes all of our responsibility to protect it.

Malama ‘aina, meaning to care for the land, is a core value of Hawaiian culture and is a concept that emphasizes the connection between the land and the people. If we care for the land, the land will care for us.

In protecting Hawaii’s environment and sharing in the aloha way of life, small steps add up! Making simple changes in your daily habits can have a big impact on the planet and preserve the beauty of our pristine islands.

Here are a few easy ways you can achieve a more sustainable lifestyle and do your part in preserving Hawaii’s beautiful wildlife for generations to come!

Reef-Safe Sunscreen

This is an often-overlooked issue when considering sustainability, but is nevertheless very important and can make a huge difference in keeping the reefs healthy. As of January 2021, sunscreens containing harmful chemicals, oxybenzone and octinoxate, have been banned from sale across the state. Take a second to read the ingredients in your sunscreen, it could help save our reefs!

Reusable Bags

The switch to reusable grocery totes and shopping bags has gained momentum across the nation over the past few years, but did you know Hawaii was one of the first states to adopt a no plastic bag policy? Be mindful of local laws and do your part in reducing the plastic trash that finds its way into our oceans by embracing reusable bags. 

Skip single-use plastics

Throughout the state of Hawaii, more and more vendors are beginning to move away from disposable plastics. In fact, in January 2021, Honolulu’s ban on single-use plastics went into effect, further highlighting Hawaii’s desire to be at the forefront of this movement. When packing for your beach or hiking adventures, consider the amount of plastic waste you’re carrying out for your lunch. With reusable water bottles, utensils and straws, you can do your part in keeping Hawaii clean. Even as you seek out your morning coffee, consider bringing along your reusable travel mug instead of the disposable paper cup offered at many coffee shops. If everyone cut back on their use of plastics, it could have a tremendous impact on the health of both terrestrial and aquatic life in Hawaii. 

Clean your shoes before hiking

Hiking is a popular activity in Hawaii, and because of this, it’s important to be mindful of how you approach these natural areas. On the way in, make sure you clean your shoes to prevent tracking in invasive species and diseases that are harmful to the environment. Wiping off your shoes is an easy way to keep these beautiful forests healthy for your next visit. 

Adventure responsibly

Adventure responsibly and leave it the way you found it. On the way out from a hike or trip to the beach, make sure to bring all of your trash with you. By doing your best to leave the area the way it was before you got there, you can have a big impact on wildlife preservation. This includes picking flowers or other natural mementos. Because so many people visit Hawaii, it takes an effort from all of us to keep natural areas intact. By doing our part to manage these areas of beauty, we can keep our islands pristine so that future generations might one day share the same experiences. 

For more sustainable living tips, check out these 15 simple ways to make your home more eco-friendly.