Hawaii has a rather fragile ecosystem and we as visitors need to be mindful of that and do what we can to protect it. As today is Earth Day, I though it would be useful to list some tips for being more environmentally conscious on your Hawaii vacation. So, here are some simple ways to try to be a responsible visitor.
1. Protect Hawaii’s coral reefs when you are swimming or snorkeling, by following these easy steps
- Don’t feed the fish. If you feed the fish, they will be less likely to graze on the algae growing on the coral. Too much algae will eventually smoother the coral. Use a tour that advertises that it is a “fish friendly establishment”.
- Don’t touch or step on the coral. Not only does touching coral damage the it, but it can also cause some pretty nasty cuts and injuries.
- Use coral safe sunscreen. As I mentioned in a previous news round up, some studies indicate that the chemicals in sunscreen are harmful to coral. If you plan to spend lots of time in the water, consider using a coral-safe sunscreen. Sea Safe and Caribbean Solution are brands of coral-safe sunscreen that I know. Do you know of other brands?
- Review this excellent video which explains more about how fragile the under water world is.
2. Consider volunteering some of your vacation time to help the environment. Here are just a couple of the volunteer opportunities I’ve shared here at Go Visit Hawaii:
- Several excellent Maui volunteer opportunities to help the environment. Some assignments can involve some unique chances to learn about Hawaii’s culture and history. Other’s are as simple as cleaning up a beach. (Kudos again to David for volunteering his time on Maui.)
- Help restore the battered Hawaiian island of Kahoolawe.
4. Fly the most direct route to your destination. Let’s go ahead and acknowledge that the fuel consumption and emissions from aircraft damage our environment. So to minimize the negative effects, choose a direct path to the islands. Not only will you help to save jet fuel, you’ll also be spending less time in the air and waiting in the airport. Consider purchasing carbon offsets. Per Responsible Travel, Clean Air – Cool Plant has a useful consumer guide to carbon offsets.
5. Choose hotels and tours that have green programs. For example, the Sheraton Kauai Resort won a Green Business Award. As you search for tours, place extra consideration on tours that advertise that they are eco-friendly and/or give back to the environment.
What other ideas do you have to be a more responsible visitor to Hawaii? Please share your thoughts.