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Each April 22, Earth Day raises awareness of our planet's vulnerability. Every day of the year, however, clients can do their part to help protect Hawaii’s fragile natural environment while enjoying their vacation in the Aloha State.
Better yet, as travelers give back to the destination, they find themselves in the good company of like-minded visitors and residents.
The following eco-friendly pastimes call to people who want to enrich their time in Hawaii with activities that make a difference.
Beach Cleanups Hawaii’s stretches of sand are well-known and loved for their beauty. They’re also in constant danger of pollution due to trash and other debris.
Surfrider Foundation presents clients with opportunities to clear beaches on several islands. Thanks to the passion of dedicated staffers, these seaside outings turn into gatherings at once fun and rewarding.
Another great organization is Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii, a nonprofit group that coordinates statewide efforts to rid beaches of various types of litter.
Equally noteworthy is the Waikiki Ohana Workforce, part of Waikiki Improvement Association. Three times per year, visitors are encouraged to join its Waikiki Beach cleanups, aimed at keeping one of the world’s most famous coastlines at the top of its game.
Community Volunteer DaysBeyond the beach, other parts of Hawaii need some tender love and care, as well.
On Hawaii Island, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park urges nature-loving clients to get their hands dirty during a variety of volunteer projects, from collecting native seeds to removing invasive species.
Similar efforts take place at Kauai’s Kokee State Park, where all ages chip in to rid the forests of pests such as blackberry, ginger and honeysuckle.
Oahu’s Kualoa Ranch welcomes visitors to its Friday morning community volunteer days, where they learn about and take care of precious taro patches (for details, email [email protected]).
Maui Cultural Lands brings volunteers to Honokowai Valley near Kaanapali Resort. There, they pitch in to restore a historically significant Hawaiian village while finding out about important island plants.
Farm VisitsAs food-related tourism surges in popularity, so do visits to farms, which are dedicated to making the islands more self-sufficient. Clients get to see the source of the food they’re eating in Hawaii while supporting the efforts of the people who grow them.
Hawaii Island’s agricultural riches range from coffee and tea to chocolate, macadamia nuts and wine grapes. A standout is Hawaiian Vanilla Co.; its tour culminates in a vanilla-inspired luncheon.
On Oahu’s North Shore, Kahuku Farms regales guests with the many bounties of its family-run operation during tractor-pulled wagon rides.
At Maui’s Oo Farm, clients pick their own ingredients, then enjoy them during a gourmet lunch.
Reef-Safe SunscreenIn July 2018, Hawaii became the first state to ban the sale of sunscreen with chemicals that are harmful to the ocean’s coral reefs and marine life.
Additionally, passengers on Hawaii Island tour boats heading to Kealakekua Bay — a popular marine conservation district — are now required to use approved sunscreens only.
Hotels are making it easier for guests to coat up responsibly. Case in point: Sheraton Maui Resort & Spa has set up reef-safe sunscreen dispensers around the property, while Waikoloa Beach Resort has placed educational signs about reef safety at public entrances to adjacent Anaehoomalu Bay.
Then there’s Waikiki Beachcomber by Outrigger, whose Beachcomber Market sells approved products as part of Outrigger’s conservation initiative.
Sustainable DiningClients hungering to give back to the islands should seek out restaurants that champion the products of area farmers, ranchers and fishermen.
One of the trailblazers of Hawaii’s farm-to-table movement is chef Peter Merriman, whose eateries can be found on four islands.
Another voice for sustainable dining is Ed Kenney, whose multiple restaurants — including Mahina & Sun’s in Waikiki — always showcase local produce, meat and fish.
On Maui, clients can taste the richness of the destination at The Mill House at Maui Tropical Plantation.
And, at Timbers Kauai Resort, the chefs at Hualani’s restaurant make a point of working with ingredients from the property’s own garden as well as nearby sources.