Hawaii Con

Until July, 2007, I lived in Michigan. Green living wasn’t really part of my life. Like all of my friends, I complained about my electric bill (especially in the winter!), I worried about the rising costs of things like food and gas, and I made an effort at eco friendly activities like recycling. And then I moved to Hawaii! Instead of paying 8 cents kWh for electricity, I started paying nearly $0.40. Gas cost nearly $5.00 a gallon as opposed to the nearly $3.00 I had grudgingly grown accustomed to paying. My already slim budget was hit even harder by the price of food – things like milk cost nearly $6.00 a gallon and orange juice was nearly $10.00!It was tempting to turn around and head straight back to the mainland, but after what I’d spent to get here in the first place, that certainly wasn’t an option – at least not right away. I had to find a way to make it here, and I needed to do it fast.

It wasn’t only the cost of living that opened my eyes to the need for green living though. When I stopped to think about it, I realized that if there was a crisis of global proportions, it would be pretty simple for a little island like Hawaii to be forgotten. As a chain of islands, we depend on the mainland United States for almost everything from gas to food. I’m not one to worry about “what-ifs,” but it was certainly worth thinking about. Why was it that this little island needed to be so dependent on other for its very survival?



I was also saddened by the amount of waste that I saw around the island. Research taught me that Hawaii produces more waste per person than any other state in the nation. How is this possible? We have the least amount of space to put it…unless throwing it into the ocean is an alternative – it’s not, by the way.

It was time to make a decision to change the way that I was used to living. There was no denying any longer that there was an absolute need for green living and I had to be the one to make the change for my family. What a change it’s been. Simple common sense has given me a lot of great eco friendly ideas and the rest have come from research and talking to others has helped me with the rest. While I certainly have a long way to go, I’m proud of the changes that we’ve made. I would have never pictured myself as a gardener, for example, but my family now has a vegetable garden that would make my grandfather, an old farmer, jealous. We’re also growing fruit trees and it’s a great feeling to know that if something did happen that stopped food from coming to our little island, we’d at least have enough to eat.

We’ve learned the importance of recycling, choosing eco friendly products, combining trips, reducing our energy usage, and much more. Not only has the switch to green living allowed us to stay in Hawaii without going completely broke, it’s given us a better outlook on the way that I should have been living for a long time.

Whether you live on an island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, or you live in the middle of the United States – making the choice to live a more eco friendly lifestyle is a good decision. Take the time to think about small changes that you can make in your lifestyle and purchasing habits. If we all made small changes, the resulting impact would be HUGE!