Sunrise over Maunakea. By Leilehua Yuen

Ke Kaiapuni o Hawaiʻi – The Environment of Hawaiʻi

Hawaiʻi is the most isolated landmass on Earth, and therefore has the most at-risk environment. We have, sadly, earned the title of “Endangered Species Capital of the World.”

While we cannot go back and restore what once was – too many of our native species are gone forever – we can stop future damage and support the remaining native species and their ecosystems. There are many things individuals can do to protect and enhance what we still have.

We can reduce our own carbon footprint. We can build our homes and businesses in low-impact ways. We can create beautiful habitat for ourselves and our fellow creatures through appropriate landscaping.

Remember the moʻolelo noʻeau of Clay Bertleman, He waʻa he moku, he moku he waʻa; “The canoe is our island, and the island is our canoe.”

I would expand that to: He moku he Honua, he waʻa he moku, he Honua he waʻa; “The Earth is our island, our island is our canoe, our canoe is the Earth.”

We are traveling together on this great voyage through space at 390 kilometers per second. So far, we have not found any other canoes to raft with, or habitable shores on which to land. So we must mālama, care for, all of the “supplies” on our amazing waʻa honua.

E ka moana nui, kai hohonu
E lana mālie kou mau ale
E ka makani nui ikaika
E pā kolonahe, mālie ʻoe
E nihi e ka hele mai hoʻopaʻa

Thou great ocean, deep sea
Thou rollest gently on
Thou great strong wind
Blow thou softly, gently
Go softly on your journey and arrive in strength

The original of this chant, composed by Hiʻiaka, was used by Ka Lani Kāwika Kalākaua as the “hook” for his beautiful mele, E Nihi ka Hele