Thousands of vacationers visit the Hawaiian islands every year. The damage they do is remarkable. A large number of people visiting beaches, mountains, parks, trails, campgrounds, and other Hawaiian destinations leave litter, seeds of invasive species, soil damage, and pollution.
Thankfully, Hawaiians have a way to deal with the damage caused by tourism: Voluntourism–as described on the new site Volunteer on Vacation in Hawaii:
- The Hawaiian concept of Laulima translates to “many hands.” Laulima is how we carry the canoe to the water, how we clean old nets off the beach, how we clear the grass and replant the native forest, how we pass rocks one hand to the other to repair the fish ponds. These activities give us the opportunity to meet new people, use our skills, learn new ones, and to have fun while giving back to the islands we love.
Cherie Attix started this Hawaiian voluntourism site recently after she realized that many of her guests were looking for ways to give back to the islands. As an added incentive, Cherie offers anyone who volunteers for one of the organizations on the site a 5% discount on their stay at her historic and organic Maui Bed and Breakfast in the upcountry Maui town of Makawao. She also donates another 5% to the cause for which one volunteers.
Hawaii volunteer opportunities include clearing trails, removing invasive plant species, planting native species, counting fish species while snorkeling, and cleaning up garbage. While helping out with these chores, one can learn a lot about Hawaiian ecology, history, biology, and more! The volunteer groups are headed by knowledgeable locals who are happy to educate the volunteers. These volunteer days are like free guided tours of areas of Hawaii that most tourists never get a chance to see!
Even if you can’t volunteer on vacation, or even if you can’t make it to Hawaii, there are still options for helping the Hawaiian environment. Hawaii has many organic farms that struggle to make ends meet. These farmers are doing the right thing by working in concert with the natural environment of Hawaii, creating sustainable agriculture systems that actually help the environment. One such operation is the Kona Comfort Coffee farm on the Big Island, near the Hawaiian sanctuary town of Hononaunau. Even if you’re not going to visit, you can help preserve the natural balance of their mountainside farm by purchasing their organic Kona coffee.
For more information about ecologically sound Hawaii vacations, visit this large site full of Hawaii vacations information–especially ways one can help preserve the natural beauty of the Hawaiian Islands even if you can’t afford to visit.