With our year-round consistent climate can be extremely easy to live sustainably. Living on the Big Island means we have rich, volcanic soil and ample rainfall year-round, which extends the growing season and makes a more sustainable life much more obtainable. Whether you’re moving from the mainland or just want to live a more sustainable life here on the island, here are some simple ways to accomplish that.
#1. Buy local.
It’s pretty easy to buy local around here because buying items from the mainland simply cost too much. Once you realize what you can have rather than what you can’t have, you can devise menus and meals, sustainable gardens, and even the potential to sustain a living. Instead of buying at the local grocery store, check out local farmers markets. Nearly every major town on the island has at least one market a few days a week. Most of these local markets serve up fresh, locally grown fair right on the island but if you do need to shop in the grocery store, most of the produce will be from local farms and locally made products.
#2. Reduce, reuse, and recycle.
This is an old adage but it’s still just as important. It’s a time-honored way to save a lot of waste. Hawaii doesn’t have a lot of landfills and because we have a beverage container program that pays five cents to turn in all the bottles, you can use them to really recycle and save a little bit of money. Try to buy in bulk at the grocery stores such as dried spices, granola, seeds, nuts, flour and grains. Shop antique stores, thrift stores, and garage sales for items that you’ll need around your house.
When given the choice, opt for items that use biodegradable packaging so that you can either composted right on your property, or recycle it. Seek out companies that recycle their bottles or have refillable bottles in bulk size refill packages in the stores.
#4. Share with your neighbors.
A really good way to live a sustainable life is to meet your neighbors and then share what you have with what they don’t have, and vice versa. Even on a small lot you can grow several fruit trees and fruits and vegetables that are native to the Hawaiian Islands. Coordinate with neighbors, family, and friends to share produce, fruits, herbs, eggs, and other sustainable items that you can grow right on your own property.
#5. Build a habitat.
Choose native species for your gardens, which also helps local habitats. Try to steer clear of simply a grass lawn as their considered monocultures, usually not native to the islands and typically use a lot of resources. Here’s a great list of native plants for the Hawaiian Islands.
Nothing beats composting your own food scraps and biodegradable papers to create even more sustainable ground and dirt, which feeds your native plants, hence, the circle of life. But, even if you live close to the beach and have sandy soil, there are several effective products that can be used. There are options for indoor use such as kitchen compost buckets with charcoal filters or even worm farms and tumblers.
#7. Go solar.
This is definitely not an uncommon home feature on the Hawaiian Islands. Many homes already have the installation of solar panels that can be used to heat water or provide supplementary electricity. Because we have plenty of sunshine year-round, this is a great way to reduce electrical and utility bills. There are even tax credits and rebates available to homeowners the choose to go solar.
#8. Conserve water.
Similarly to solar, many folks on the island choose to conserve water by installing rain barrels and drought resistant plants. Like I mentioned before, grass lawns are typically natural to Hawaii but there are a lot of plants that can maintain their lush vegetation even without a lot of rainfall.
#9. Support green businesses.
Many local Hawaiian businesses are becoming more eco-friendly by using biodegradable packaging or having companywide recycling programs. When possible, support these green businesses.
#10. Grow your own.
It’s very easy to grow your own fruits and vegetables on the Hawaiian Islands, as long as you go with native plants. Trying to grow snow peas and spinach might be a little bit tricky but growing avocados, lemons, oranges, and passionfruit can be a breeze. Plus, they add to the natural vegetation and habitat of the island all the while sustaining you, your family, and potentially your neighbors as well.
It’s fairly easy to go sustainable on the Hawaiian Islands and if you’re looking for a home that specifically offers all of the benefits of a sustainable life, give me a call. I have a list of properties that might fit your search criteria with habitats already in the works. Whether you’re looking for rain barrels, solar panels, or a lush garden, contact me any time to find your perfect home on the Big Island.
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