I'm moving to Hawai'i beginning of October. My kane, keiki, and I are staying at an "eco-hostel" while we look for a place to call home. I wasn't raised on the 'aina but I feel I have a strong enough understanding of my culture and the issues that we face that I don't feel like a complete stranger. I've never been to the Big Island, which is where my tutu's ohana is originally from, but I look forward to reconnecting with ohana and making new connections.
The reason we chose to stay at this Eco-hostel was because it was inexpensive and it was built on a reclaimed junkyard. They use all sorts of reclaimed junk to make "eco-cabins" and I thought it would be an interesting adventure. I figured this place would probably have less impact on the 'aina than the other more expensive places that are available, but I'm aware of the negative impact that eco-tourism still has on the 'aina and therefore the people - that greenwashing is definitely in effect.
Basically the place we are staying at is high up near a crater and some lava tubes. I know there's gotta be places people just shouldn't be trampling about out there but most probably are. It seems the more sacred or secluded a place is the bigger the attraction it has on tourists. The traffic from the tourist's vehicles has got to have some sort of negative impact on the environment. And I'm wondering if this place does anything significant to contribute back to the local economy or to improve the social situations of the native communities. I'm hoping it does, but I won't hold my breath.
I've decided I want to start a blog on "Eco-tourism" and "Eco-communities", how ethical and ecological they are and how they can improve. Maybe even rate them. I thought this experience would be a good foundation to start with. If any of them prove to be destructive to either cultural or natural resources, I will document it and report it. But to whom do I report?
Anyway, I've had a strong desire to come back home and do something meaningful with my life and for the community. Once we settle in and I can afford it, one of the thing I'd like to do is take the Kahu Ku'una and Lawai'a programs at Hawaii Community College. Until then, I'll do what I can, and what I can do is watch and write.