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Tuesday, March 23, 2010
Here in East Hawaii, where over 90 % of Hawaii’s materials and food is imported, life takes on too much dependence on mainland lifestyle and practices.
Fortunately for myself and many of my earth minded citizens here in East Hawaii, we do make wonderful choices to live green and try to reduce our own footprint in the environment. We usually don’t get that many choices and most of those options and services are very expensive to the average consumer.
In East Hawaii, most of us rely on water catchment systems to catch rain from the roof to water our plants, take our showers and wash our laundry and all our water needs. Those that do not have catchment systems go to county water spigots to fill up large containers for their water needs. Fortunately, rainy days on the east side of the island are plentiful and provide adequate nourishment to our tropical plants and the food we can grow.
Since there is no garbage service in our area, everyone is responsible for going to recycle centers (free) to sort out the greens, the bottles, the paper materials and re-use objects for the community centers… usually by this stage, I only have less than one small garbage bag of pure garbage to dump and thats about once a week.
This is the re-use/recycling center in our local district in Keaau, they recycle clothes, furniture, paint, toys, knick-knacks and other cast offs for re-use.
We have our typical container bins for glass, paper/cardboard, plastic and another section for green waste and lumber. Everyone here sorts out directly into each container, there is no such thing as recycling curbside pick up in Hawaii Island.
Mother nature is kind to us in East Hawaii and many do grow bountiful fruits and vegetables and have some small livestock and neighbors share their abundance with family and friends.
What we cannot grow ourselves can be found at a myriad of local farmers markets producing a variety of products and delicious take out meals, everything fresh and grown locally.
I believe in composting since we have minimal soil here, and we have to build up beds above the lava rock to create fertile soil…leaves, grasses and kitchen scraps all go back to the compost pile to create fertile mulch and soil.
Electricity rates are the highest in the country in Hawaii and we do watch our consumption. I typically set my water heater only for a few hours in the morning and at night. The laundry sits on a wire to be dried by the sun and all my electrical equipment is plugged together into jacks that can be switched off. We open our window for the natural breezes and most homes actually do not even have HVAC systems for heat or cooling…at least here in East Hawaii where the temperatures are moderate year round in the 70’s to 80’s.
Gasoline is also the highest prices nationwide in the US with Unleaded typically averaging $3.50 per gallon. My rule to using the car is that I need to do at least 5 tasks of related driving activities within an area to be able to use my car. This has effectively made me consolidate trips and stop wasteful last minute errand runs. Hitch hiking is still cool here and I usually pick up some interesting travelers from around the world visiting our island and with nice stories to share.
As you can see, in our area we are only given a few choices: either pay a lot upfront for these services, import most of our goods and materials or we can be more creative and efficient with what we have. We can grow and share what nature provides. I have strived to live a simpler and better lifestyle that espouses my beliefs and my wallet thanks me for being conscious.
Thanks to Jan at thanksfor2day blog for sharing with bloggers about this special event, please do go visit the her site to see how other bloggers are making a green impact to their own environments.
Mahalo to All for caring for the aina ( land )
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