The ʻāina consist of the land, the sea, the sky and all creatures in it. However, the ʻāina is much more than soil, water, and air - it is a living entity. The ʻāina sustains kānaka and it is sustained by kānaka and culture. There is a symbiotic relationship between kānaka and ʻāina; they are inseparably connected and interdependent upon one another. When we take care of the ʻāina the ʻāina will take care of us.
We understand that ʻāina has mana, spirit, and intrinsic value beyond its economic value. We also understand that some ʻāina needs special attention and protection because of its sacred nature. The ʻāina is our kūpuna and ʻohana and we have the kuleana to protect and steward the ʻāina in a manner that is respectful and pono (balanced). Pono stewardship of the ʻāina will optimize benefits to kānaka while ensuring sustainability and viability of the ʻāina today and for future generations.
He Hawaiʻi au, I am Hawaiʻi. In the Hawaiian context, there is no separation between person and place, this means, without Hawaiʻi (the ʻāina) we do not exist, and without kānaka (the people), Hawaiʻi will not exist.
Hawai‘i’s natural beauty, geographic location and idyllic weather, rich host culture and aloha spirit makes it one of the most desirable places to visit and live in the world. However, its isolation, popularity, and other factors puts the environment at risk.
Population growth, growing visitor industry, invasive species, global warming, rising ocean levels, eroding beaches, marine debris from around the world, urban expansion, and many other factors all pose challenges to Hawai‘i’s beautiful yet fragile eco-system. Past abuses of our ʻāina have caused damage, including soil and groundwater contamination that still needs to be addressed. Addressing and planning for residual impacts of the past, current issues, and anticipated issues of the future are an extremely complex challenge that we must all take responsibility for. A challenge that grows more critical with time.
For example, although we live in the middle of an ocean of abundance, we are currently importing 60% of our seafood. Hawai‘i’s coastal fishing grounds are depleted or in critical condition due to collapsed reef systems, pollution, physical damage from human interference, and overfishing.
We must mālama the ʻāina and plan, prepare, pull and work together as individuals, businesses, nonprofits, communities, and county, state, and federal governments.
State Leadership - The state must develop a comprehensive Mālama ʻĀina Plan that includes input from all stake holders. In addition, the plan must be culturally competent and based on the fundamental recognition and understanding that kānaka (man) and ʻāina (environment) are interdependent and inseparably connected.
Education - The people must learn and understand the relationship between kānaka and ʻāina along with the importance of mālama ʻāina as an ideology and practical application. In learning, they will grow to appreciate and develop a love for the ʻāina. This education should be supplemented with hands-on application such as school and community gardens, as well as working visits to ongoing agricultural and environmental sites, especially those with Hawaiian cultural significance, practice, and values.
Our Kuleana - It is all our kuleana to be pono stewards of the ʻāina. Any Mālama ʻĀina Plan must take a holistic approach; what impacts the land impacts the water and air, and vice versa. To be successful, such a plan needs input and support from all stakeholders and interested parties including, but not limited to, concerned individuals, communities, environmental groups, non-profits, businesses, and government entities.
Implement traditional Hawaiian land management practices along with modern day best practices.
More comprehensive recycle programs.
We must stop the desecration of sacred places.
More and stronger laws to protect the environment and punish individuals and business that pollute and damage the ʻāina.
Reestablish and protect coral reefs from physical damage, pollution, and coral bleaching.
We must stop the desecration of iwi (bones of our kūpuna) in the ʻāina. We are of the ʻāina and we ultimately return to the ʻāina, this cycle should not be disturbed.
Promote and support sustainable seafood and land food production.
We must stop disrespecting the ʻāina and all military bombing of the ʻāina
Continued support and commitment to Hawai‘i’s Clean Energy Initiative (established in 2008) to reduce Hawai‘i’s dependence of fossil fuels; Hawai‘i’s Plastic Bag Ban to save sea life; Hawai‘i’s Sunscreen Ban, to keep chemicals out of the ocean; and Hawai‘i’s commitment to be carbon neutral by 2045.