Hello everyone! This is Chihiro writing my first blog post for CICLO. Today, I would like to talk about, “How to travel in Hawaii sustainably”. Hawaii is one of the most familiar paradises for Japanese people. However, serious environmental problems are hidden behind this paradise island. Waikiki Beach, which was once a transparent beachside, is now cloudy with an incredible amount of rubbish flowing towards Kahuku Beach, a few minutes drive from the North Shore. There is no end to other similar examples. These problems are not the responsibility of just the local people, tourists and immigrants should also know the facts and take action. Here are some tips for sustainable travels that Hawaii-loving Japanese can take part in as tourists.
1. Bring your own bottle everywhere
Hydration is essential in the Hawaiian summer. However, if you buy a plastic bottle every time you are thirsty, it’s not good for your wallet or the environment. You may be derailed in Japan, but any cafe in Hawaii will be happy to fill your own bottle. As a side note, all of my Hawaiian friends always carry huge bottles that are likely to contain 2 liters of water! It’s normal to bring my own bottle in Hawaii.
2. Use ocean-friendly sunscreen
When you go to a place with strong UV rays, you may be concerned about the skin damage caused by UV rays. But, have you ever worried about the damage caused by sunscreens at the same time? The chemicals contained in sunscreens not only make seawater turbid, but also kill corals. This is due to the chemicals called oxybenzone and octinoxate which are the components that convert sunburn-causing UV rays into harmless heat on human skin. However, these chemicals are highly toxic to coral reefs, even in small amounts. So, if you go into the ocean, take care of the creatures that live in the ocean, just as you care for your own skin.
In Hawaii, the sales of sunscreens containing UV absorbers like oxybenzone and octinoxate will be completely prohibited as of 2021. When obtaining sunscreen locally in Hawaii, use the ones labeled “Reef Safe” or “Ocean/Eco-friendly”. In Japan, Taisho Pharmaceutical has released a non-chemical sunscreen called “UV Cut Milk Mild”.
3. Stay at condo or AirBnB and cook for yourself
There are a number of luxury resort hotels in Hawaii, but why not stay in a condo or rental home with a kitchen and prepare your own meals?
The farmers markets in Hawaii sell a lot of vegetables and fruits that are from the local area. One of the pleasures of traveling is buying foods that you can’t eat in Japan, and learning how to cook them is even more enjoyable!
Instead of taking out food and drinks in disposable containers, making them homemade allows you to customize to your taste as well as reducing trash. If you are on a trip, people who tend to suffer from physical problems after eating out will be able to stay comfortably indoors if they shift to just a few home-cooked meals.
4. Get out from Waikiki and go explore!
When I come to Hawaii, I often see tourists from Japan drinking cocktails at hotel pools, go shopping at Ala Moana, and have dinner at Waikiki.
But, Hawaii’s most real pleasure is its wonderful, raw nature. Rather than staying in the Waikiki area, let’s create a day where we can go out and touch nature. There are many hiking spots in Hawaii, not just the beach. Experience the freshness of clean air by moving your body and actually feeling the power of nature (something that going shopping can’t offer you).
A sustainable trip is not difficult. With a little awareness of the environment you are traveling to, the land should become a more lovable presence for you.
Please continue to practice “A Sustainable Hawaiian Travel” so that Hawaii can always remain being our island paradise.
All photos used in this article were taken by the wonderful Gaby Ramirez. Check more of her photos in her Instagram below!