How sustainable is Hawaii?

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.




Hooked on Hawaii

By Mae Mae Cook, Semester at Sea, Spring 2017

So this was my first time to Hawaii- I’m already hooked. First of all I am the biggest fan of the beach that you will ever meet. I could roll in the sand, jump through the waves, or just soak up the sun for hours on end. I go to Florida a few times ayear with my family, but Hawaii was something special.

My first activity for the day was going to a waterfall. I hiked through a lust green forest with every sight more beautiful than the last. Being from Mississippi, I’ve experienced some serious humidity, but if felt like it was about 110% humidity in Hawaii.

After the waterfall we went to a small beach to relax and eat coconut ice --Honestly, one of the best desserts I have ever eaten. Because it was in such a off beaten path, some locals didn’t like the tourists there. They got a little hostile with us, but we politely left and apologized for disturbing their spot. Although, we got kicked out of this beach, we still had an amazing time.

The next beach we went to was a secluded cove surrounded by cliffs. I climbed to the top to take in the strong waves crashing and spreading the white foam all around.

Hawaii really made me wish I could surf, but I don’t know how I will learn while one the ship. Overall, I loved Hawaii and cannot wait to go back to enjoy the beaches. Also I would love advice on the best Islands to visit! 



Industry Leaders At VERGE Hawaii: Asia Pacific Clean Energy Summit

“We envision Hawaii being a global leader in showing destinations worldwide how unique, welcoming travel experiences can be created for visitors while Hawaii’s environment is preserved and its culture treasured by generations to come,” said George D. Szigeti, president and CEO of the Hawaii Tourism Authority. “We are pleased to support the launch of the Sustainable Tourism Summit at VERGE Hawaii. It’s vital that tourism leaders from the Hawaiian Islands and around the world come together to build a healthier, more sustainable tourism industry.”

The Sustainable Tourism Summit is a half-day, invitation-only working session that will convene more than 100 stakeholders — including global hotel brands and local operators, property owners and management companies, airlines, cruise lines, government tourism departments and policy makers, and service providers. The Summit will recognize the destination as a shared responsibility and focus on new technologies, policies and business models for accelerating sustainable tourism — in Hawaii and worldwide. 

Reaping the economic, social and environmental benefits of tourism requires a shared vision of what it means for the industry to become sustainable. Addressing the myriad challenges and opportunities requires the entire ecosystem — industry, government, nonprofits and community stakeholders — in Hawaii and beyond.




North Shore Island Tour of Oahu


We were delighted to disembark our ship and to have the opportunity to see a little bit of Hawaii so we signed up for the tour of the North Shore which included views of the magnificent Hawaiian beaches and popular surf spots, but also included a visit to the Valley of the Temples Memorial Park to experience this serene and beautiful environment and begin our exploration of the cultures of the Pacific Rim.  Lunching with the locals at Fumi’s Shrimp Farm was a treat along with the delicious Dole pineapple ice cream.  The finale of the tour was a visit to the Dole Pineapple Plantation where found the world’s largest maze, a garden tour and learning about Captain John Kidwell, founder of the Hawaiian pineapple industry back in the 1800s. The pineapple became the symbol of American friendship when James Drummond Dole arrived in the islands.