When the first Polynesian voyagers landed on Hawaiian shores, they arrived at a land with ecosystems shaped by intricate, interwoven cycles of nature, developed over millions of years with no human input. Early Hawaiians brought plants, animals, and technologies to sustain them and quickly found balance with the elements already here. At the peak of pre-Western contact civilization, estimates range from 250,000–1 million Hawaiians living in a stable society, their needs fulfilled by the limited resources of their environment.
In the years following Western contact in the late 1700s, new connections with the rest of the world bred new societal priorities that placed much less value on the preservation of resources than the native paradigm did. These new priorities led planning and decision making for centuries to come, resulting in ever-increasing pressure on the very natural resources that make Hawai‘i unique.
Today, a reawakened collective environmental conscience guides individual and Hawai‘i-wide efforts to mālama (care for) our home. Back in 2014, the voyaging canoe Hōkūle‘a launched a three-year voyage around the world, dedicated to connecting people across the globe and inspire an ethic of Mālama Honua, to care for our earth as Hawaiians have cared for these islands for generations.
As you journey to Maui, we look forward to bringing you more information on Maui County, as well as Hawaii’s, sustainability goals, including responsible tourism. This will include cultural, environmental and sustainability articles and photography as we look to the lessons of the past to shape the future. We so appreciate the time you spend with us here on Maui, as we all share the kuleana (responsibility) to care for our island environment and abide by the true spirit of aloha.