By Kelleen Haddad, Semester at Sea, Spring 2017
I visited the Harold L Lyon Arboretum for my Field Class in Environmental Ethics. Only 82% of the entire Hawaii native wildlife on the island has been lost and most of what is left can be found in Arboretum which is a rainforest. Keeping this rainforest intact and flourishing is vital to Hawaii because almost all of the island’s rainwater comes from the rainforest. On top of that, tourism to the rainforest brings in a great deal of revenue annually since the weather is almost always nice, ranging from 70-85 F year round.
Overall, I do not think that Hawaii is very sustainable. The problem began when American’s began bringing non-native plants and animals to the islands. Ruining many crops and resources, Hawaii currently ships in 90% of their goods, which is extremely unsustainable.
The Arboretum is owned by the University of Hawaii. It is used by college students who wish to observe and work with the plants. Other tourists are allowed to visit for a price. However, the bulk of their revenue comes from the store in the rainforest selling different knick-knacks, as well as a restaurant where you could “eat in the treetops.”
Many tourists who visit this site are motivated by the beautiful sites and photo opportunities. It is a scenic and non-strenuous hike through the forest to view a waterfall and learn about the history of the plants. Many people interested in biodiversity and the environment would be interested in visiting this location.