As a popular destination for tourism, Hawaii welcomes millions of visitors of a year and it is a driving factor of the state’s economy. As resident mermaids, we totally get it! But this growing industry has shaped the landscape of Maui without much consideration for the sensitive island ecosystems and the local culture.
Sustainability is important here in Hawaii and Wings Hawaii wants to encourage you all to keep a few things in mind as you are enjoying the white sandy beaches and lush mountainscapes.
The Valley Isle is truly an incredible place to explore but we hope that you leave it as untouched as possible, especially the areas with more wild nature like Hana. Pack out what you pack in and simply cleaning up after yourself helps keep the island’s ecosystems healthy. Whether it is a soda can or a plastic snack bag, it can be harmful to the native wildlife as well as people who visit the area. A floating plastic bag mimics a jellyfish, which is a food item for other types of animals and can be highly venomous to people. If we are used to seeing plastic in Hawaiian waterways, we might be less cautious of real dangers like the Portuguese man o’ war.
We get how easy it is to get wrapped up in Maui’s beauty and the overall experience of being in Hawaii, but be mindful of those around you. Instead of walking side by side with your traveling party, make room for others that might be using the same walkway as chances are you aren’t the only ones trying to explore. Admiring the island’s lush beauty? Simply step to the side and sightsee for as long as you want! And when you are snapping away to post on your Instagram feed later, make sure to step aside and let others get a shot of their own.
Before you get to know Maui personally, it is helpful to know a little about her. Here in Hawaii, the native wildlife is federally protected. Whether you are snorkeling the sparkling blue or wandering one of the tropical forests, be a responsible traveler and give the Hawaiian animals plenty of space. If you happen to chance upon one of our beloved friends, like the turtles of Ho’okipa, make an effort not to overcrowd them and let them carry on with their day.
On the topic of laws and marine life, the state has also just recently passed a bill that bans the distribution of sunscreens containing harmful ingredients. Scientists have found that the chemicals that wash off when we put on sunscreen have been contributing to coral bleaching, which is drastically changing the landscapes beneath the surface as ocean activities increase.
While wearing reef-safe sunscreen is helping minimize the long-term effects, there is other tourism encouraged activities that are disrupting the island’s eco-structure. We know that seeing the island from a different perspective, say from a boat or snorkel tour, is a unique and exciting way to experience Maui. But these activities are actually decreasing the overall health of marine life as a result of accidental reef damage and crowded waters. We hope that you explore beyond the resort poolside but just be aware of what footprint you leave behind you!
Here at Wings Hawaii, we love our fellow free-spirits and nomadic people but we also love our island home and nature within it. We hope that as you are exploring you keep these few things in mind, it is really small changes that make a world of a difference!