History Of Earth Day In Hawaii
Share With Others The Importance Of Eco-Friendly Vacations
Earth Day Events in Maui
Twenty years after the first Earth Day the event went global. Two hundred million people were mobilized in 141 countries which put the environment and its preservation on the world stage. Today it is estimated more than 1 billion people participate in Earth Day events each year making it the largest civic observance in the world! If you’re in Maui during Earth Day come to check out these two festivals as they are located close by to one another in Kahului.
Past and Present Come Together
For visitors, Maui is an amazing place to visit any time of year, but we like to remember that for the ancient Hawaiians every day was Earth Day. They held nature and the preservation of it in high regards as their survival depended on it!
Our modern technology has allowed us to discover more and more ways to study, learn and help preserve our environment. Just as the ancient Hawaiians were open to new and innovative ways to live it is important that we respect the Hawaiian culture and all that it has to offer. Please consider asking yourself this question (whether traveling to Hawaii or any other part of the world) “What is this culture doing better than my own culture”? You may return home with the best souvenir of all – a larger perspective!
Hawaii’s Ancient Land Management System
The Hawaiian concept of land and ocean management starts with the land. Throughout Polynesia the demi-god Maui is attributed to many supernatural feats. He is said to have snared the sun to slow its progress across the sky making the days longer. Legends also tell of Maui pulling the land up (the Hawaiian Islands) from the ocean with a fish hook. Interestingly the Hawaiian creation story is based on the aina (land) whereas in most of Polynesia the creation stories are more closely linked to the sea. It makes Hawaii unique even among the closely related southern islands of the Marquesas and Tahiti which Hawaii settlers migrated from some 1000 years ago.
Aina is a term for homeland and identifies Hawaii as a food producer. The word is compounded from the verb ai – to eat, with the substantive suffix na, which makes it a noun. Therefore the word aina then means “that which feeds.” It’s possible the first settlers who arrived over 1000 years ago had little or nothing to plant. For generations, the small, slowly growing population established themselves along shorelines near streams that supplied water. Through the course of native settlement, voyaging canoes left and returned from the homeland with plants and animals with which to sustain the population. Today these are known as “canoe plants” and include kalo (taro) sweet potato, breadfruit, banana, and sugarcane. Though no one knows for sure why travel between the southern islands and Hawaii ceased around 1300 AD, we do know their arts, crafts, tools, skills and population advanced beyond those of their homelands.
Archaeological evidence suggests Maui had a vibrant population by the mid-1500s and Hawaiian scholars at the turn of the century recounted the chants and stories of the great Maui chief Pi’ilani. During his reign he commissioned the building of the King’s Trail which circumnavigates the entire island, thus uniting the scattered villages and peoples of Maui. It was by this time the Ahupua’a system of land management was developed which divided the land into pie-shaped districts running from the mountains to the sea. Kalo (taro) was grown in terraced gardens along streams which in turn provided nutrients to the fish ponds built in the ocean at the mouth of these streams. It was an ingenious system that allowed the population to increase to an estimated 1 million Hawaiians living throughout the island chain.
Ecotourism in Maui
Hawaii is leading the way when it comes to green business and eco tourism as compared to much of the U.S. In fact, there are too many to list here so we’ll break it down to a few of our favorites included in the Hawaii Eco-Tourism Board’s certified tours and businesses.
The Hawaii Ecotourism Association was launched in 1995 and has grown to include a certification program which now has over a dozen ecotour operators who have qualified. Below are two of Maui’s most popular certified ecotours on land and sea. Check out the other certified tour operators and resorts HERE
Eco Vacation Tips
A Hui Ho!
So there you have it! We hope your Earth Day is as beautiful as your next Maui vacation! If you’re wondering what else there is to do in Maui check out our blog…there is a little something for everyone in there who is visiting our amazing island!