Sustainability in Hawaii

An Immersion of Cultural Wisdom and Modern Science to Create a Green Economy in Hawaii

In the relatively recent history of the Hawaiian Islands, this chain of earthly jewels has faced an identity crisis. The Island’s were declared discovered by the English explorer Captain James Cook in 1778 in the name of the financier of the expedition who was the 4th Earl of Sandwich, the First Lord of the Admiralty in the British House of Lords, John Montagu, whereas thus the islands were named the Sandwich Islands. (Britannica). Coincidentally, only a few years prior to this time, other great shifts between power structures happened including the Declaration of Independence of the United States from Great Britain in 1776, and the succession of King Kahahana over the island of Oahu in approximately 1773 (Thrum, 204). Under the Constitution of 1840 Hawaii is better described by King Kamehameha III as Ko Hawaii Nei Pae Aina or  “All Beautiful Hawaii Lands Entire,” (The Morgan Report, Online), only to be overthrown, annexed, and become the 50th State in the Union not too long thereafter. It is important to understand the past and the current state of Hawaii because Hawaii has so much to offer the future. Our global markets are in a major shift and there is a demand for a green workforce and viable means of economic development that supports environmental stewardship, science, and cultural heritage. Social Enterprise entities are what is required to fulfill the appropriate networking and facilitation of strategic means of production, partnership building, and promotion of products and services in Hawaii’s rising Green Labor Workforce. This anthropological independent study will investigate and deliver an overview of what must be acknowledged to operate a successful social enterprise in Hawaii Nei.

     In the US, the method of production is heavily reliant on increased consumption habits. Extraction based resource management practices fuel consumerist behavior that leaves behind a surplus byproduct of toxic substances, whereas the monetary values that fulfill it do not fully capture what the general public would define as what wealth is. Nationally, 35,722,000 jobs are specific to manufacturing and wholesale/ retail as compared with only 2,454,000 jobs in agriculture and wildlife (BLS, 2017). In Hawaii, the four largest workforce industries are government jobs at 18.7%, accommodations and food services at 16.9%, retail at 10.9%, and health care and social services at 9% (DLIR, 2017). These account for 55.5% of Hawaii’s total employment. The other half of the industry is in assorted services that all have sustainability-related to them in some way. Hawaii’s agriculture produces 135,746,583 lbs (Aloha +, 2017) of food yet is still 85-90% food insecure and dependent on import (Office of Planning, 2012). Alarmingly, 76% of seafood demand is met by either commercial or foreign markets (Aloha+, 2017). The energy sector of the state is producing 27.7% renewable energy, providing .6% employment to the state (DLIR, Aloha+, 2017). In a report from the University of Hawaii School of Oceanic and Earth Sciences and Technologies, there is an estimated $19 billion in damage due by the end of the century (SOEST, 2018).  In making the human resource comparison to the demand on the current economic model and climate projections we see the demand to facilitate a transition. We need to divert entire workforce industries from our consumerist markets of manufacturing and retail into culturally connected priorities on STEM, biodiversity, and resilience. Sustainability is relevant across all industries. It is fair to say that the problems are many and that we need to make as many adjustments with our human resource as possible to capture every opportunity to improve. The true goal in this independent anthropological study on sustainability in Hawaii is to navigate the myriad of discord that limits our ability to be more effective and innovative with all of the resources we already have available to us.

     Adapting to change will require every available asset and resource, the greatest asset is the human resource. We have workforce labor laws in the earliest human code of law, in the Code of Hammurabi (Britannica, 2018). The fact that in the Code of Hammurabi, immediately following the labor laws are the slavery laws, this cannot deter from the source of wealth concept that is work. The life-force energy of plants, the muscle of animals, and the brainpower of humankind that innovates values and comprehension, is ment to be managed through an exchange process that all parties can benefit from doing business and sharing work. The means of economic development are directly related to the quality of life of the workforce. Adam Smith is given credit for being the father of modern economics via his book the “Wealth of Nations.” (Kiesling, 2015). The greatest assumption of the modern dilemma is the naturalistic fallacy that the modern free market adequately captures the measures of exchange and the behavioral habits that propel it, as it was so put by Adam Smith (Britannica, 2018). Free markets are based on monetary means of exchange, or therefore the benefit from doing business should come at the lowest possible cost in order to bring our economies into states of high supply and high demand. This is an ultimately unsustainable economic practice that has indeed produced today’s economic system with great success, but at what quantifiable cost? With technology, we have expedited our efficiency beyond the means to control it. As free markets become more automated, less human work is required which eventually phases people out of jobs and their livelihoods. Ironically, a solution to the dilemma of economics can be found in Adam Smith’s earlier work, “The Theory of Moral Sentiments.” In this work, Adam Smith describes that the inherent human condition is a beneficent one, where the justice system is meant to maintain order. Through the “Wealth of Nations,” three Natural Laws of Economics are outlined, 1) Self Interest, 2) Competition, 3) Supply and Demand, that drive the good and service that produce wealth and drive progress according to the specialization of goods and services (Britannica, 2018). In today’s world, the understanding of what a beneficent society is, is lost in the first Natural Law of Economics, when a person loses touch with morality and ethics for self interest. What purpose is the power of financial liberty and influence if we cannot retain the necessary balance in physical and mental acuity to harness your own human resource potential? Wealth is an economic principle that needs to be revisited because it does not take into consideration the life of the system that drives all of economics, its workforce; neither does it appropriately manage the environmental quality of the water cycle, energy cycle, or carbon cycle. Hawaii is faced with the responsibility of redefining wealth and with this notion we must begin to format how a circular economy will ultimately function in perpetuity. 

    Let’s do better to understand our current-state condition and our direction forward as a civilization. Food is cultivated in and around the management of the natural resources and humans hands necessary to turn the soil. It is very irresponsible to lose touch with food production because you disconnect yourself from the cycle of life and ultimately, the greater process of nature which we are not separate from. This is why the forefront of Sustainability is in psychology. The fundamentals of understanding life are lost to society. The archetype of food is an example of a powerful concept that controls culture and societies just like hierarchies do. The management of land, water, and people is fundamental to all cultures. The popular food item, the sandwich, gets its name from Lord Montagu, 4th Earl of Sandwich (Britannica, 2018). In his status, he would spend excessive amounts of time gambling and in order to not interrupt his gambling habit. He would eat meat between two slices of bread. Two archetypes of our human condition exist in the case of Lord Montagu which are the concepts of hierarchies and the human relationship to food. While Lord Montagu enjoyed the convenience of his clean food innovation in order to fuel his gambling, he also accepted bribes as a corrupt head of the British Admiralty (Britannica, 2018). King Kahekili of the Island of Maui, on the other hand, so named after Kane-Hekili the Hawaiian God of Thunder (Kalakaua, 1888), existed in the same exact generation in time. Their deaths were only two years apart. Sir John Montagu’s greatest success in the wake of losing to the American Revolution is, debatably, the sandwich, whereas King Kahekili’s success was as the rightful ruler of the greater Hawaiian island chain via the island of Maui. King Kahekili paved the way for King Kamehameha I across Hawaii because he gained control of Oahu by killing the inhabiting chiefs and priests. It is disputed that Kahekili was even the father of Kamehameha in which case therefore the Hawaiian dynasty would be his lineage (Morrison, Kiefer, 2003). The Sandwich Islands didn’t last and neither did Kahekili or Kamehameha, but let’s take heed to fallacies that are rooted in expired archetypes. One is an English-man Sir Montagu,  lost to history as another cog in the imperialist armada, while the other is lost to the history books as a savage chief of the supposedly undiscovered world. Hawaiian identity has suffered greatly and the effects on the population are visible to this day.

There are so many assumptions relevant to past and present Hawaii that it is difficult to determine the role Hawaii has to play in the global arena. There exists popular belief contrary to Hawaii’s importance in today’s political landscape. We as citizens of the USA have recently faced our own identity crisis. As we zoom-out and see a bigger picture of contextual history, we see that the clash of war happens before and after Polynesian tribes and the western world met bone and sword, whereas, throughout the classics, the history of man is clearly the history of the succession of one power over the other. I believe it is difficult to adequately navigate history because the records of the vanquished are often destroyed, defaced, or manipulated. The ideals of history then become the cause of inherently compromised archetypes and therefore fallacies. For example, I would argue that in the instance where Captain Cook and his crew declare their findings in the Sandwich name, we find historical evidence of assumptions and suppositions that then falsely dictate the archetypal perceptions of genuine reality and are still accepted to this day. The assumptions and false archetypes of the short history of the “Sandwich Islands” are impeccable. Around the time of Cook’s return to Hawaii in 1795-1810, King Kamehameha I conquered and ruled the Hawaiian Archipelago as an absolute monarch over the fallen reign of King Kahekili, which controlled the rest of the territory not including Hawaii Island. (Britannica, 2018). Hawaii is said to be named after the Navigator Hawaiiloa who may have been the original Polynesian discoverer of this oasis of the ocean. He supposedly named the islands Haere Tonu, or “Out of the Darkness and the Depths of the Sea” (Ulukau, 1956.) Threads of pride and perseverance are integral core attributes to Hawaiian culture and I find it incredibly humbling and awe-inspiring. Indigenous Hawaiians practiced law known as the kapu system. Breaking kapu was punishable by death. Kapu is previously understood as an oppressive system of control (Rhodes, 2001). Under Kamehameha, the code of edict of his rule was known as the “Law of Splintered Paddle” (Hamili, Moore, 1982). It meant to provide security to the commoners as colonialism ensued. Although some Polynesians were brutal warriors, their greatest leaders knew the importance of the human resource. Between western culture and Polynesian, there is however an intersection of parallel traits of identity around the archetype of glorification called, Magnanimity (Webster, online). This is very similar to what Hawaiian’s call Pono, or righteous (Wehewehe, 2004). Also in western culture, the French phrase Noblesse Oblige translates to “Nobility Obliges” which means, status or hierarchy obliges you to meet the needs of the people of which you are a subject (Webster, online). The difficulty of integrating our modern complex social systems, staying rooted in traditional knowledge systems, while surfing the avalanche of information is the inability to confidently navigate the tumultuous task of providing tangible deliverables on local actions that target achievable results that improve our global operational standards into the future. According to Hawaiian philosophy, the only elements humankind has control over is the human resource and water. (Kanaka’ole, 2018).

        I believe Old Hawaiian identity should be given greater recognition for their Ali’i Nui and Kahuna’s because they retain the cultural wisdom of their people who still exist today. In this way, we should also pay respect to the ancestral wisdom of the entire world. When we allow ourselves to quickly discredit their truth as lore and tabu, we find that we are only making ourselves more susceptible to subscribing to archetypes that dismantle core ethical values and damage our health and future survival. This calls us to be pragmatic. Pragmatism is the concept that the function of thought is to drive action. Successful action is more likely with a greater diversity of knowledge and cognition. Metacognition is described as thinking about thought, or complex thinking (Merriam-Webster, online). I encourage metacognition as a solution. The purpose of developing metacognition within the local community is to ensure that we meet the demand for complex thinkers who can navigate complex problems in order to find complex solutions to meet the needs of a complex future. There is a template for increasing rational reasoning called, “An Intervention Curriculum For Moral Development,” by Steven Ries, Ed.D. in the Journal of Moral Education Vol. 21, No. 1, where participants progressed in moral development with surprising success, with an average of 10 out of 12 participants showing improvement in moral reasoning and 40% of those subjects improving one full stage in cognitive development. (Ries, 1992). I believe it is important to encourage such behavior because moral reasoning is a basis for which the phenomenon of thought can elevate to a state of metacognition. Metacognition was also induced in Error Management Training and was described as, ‘the implication that an individual exerts self-regulatory ‘control over his or her cognition.’” (Keith, Frese, 2005). This study observed emotional control and metacognition as performance indicators. Limited metacognition and emotional control were studied to cause impaired learning and performance (Keith, Frese, 2005). Higher performance cognition is also a catalyst for creativity. What we need in this age of information is innovation. The more innovative we become, the more we require a mosaic theory standard of intelligence to manage our knowledge (CIA, 2008). If the community can maintain intellectual & ethical security they can expect to see the human resource independently developing robust economic security. The task at hand then becomes how to manage uncharted territory. 

    Creativity will fuel our economy because it will encourage specialization of products and services which is a fundamental basis to Adam Smith’s “Wealth of Nations”(Kiesling, 2015). Windward Community College has an important role to play in the world because it can provide the space for one of the most diverse per capita college populations in the nation with the educational opportunities that can innovate the future economy of the U.S. and abroad. Indigenous knowledge systems of Oceania are profoundly simple, yet are incredibly effective at encapsulating the source of wealth that is measured in health and security of the people. Such is thus, WaiWai (wealth in Hawaiian), is an adjustment from our modern awareness of wealth, instead, it measures the vitality of the general public. 97% of the hydrology in Hawaii is broken (Connelly, 2008). Water is the source of life yet the water cycle is broken as 70% of global consumption goes to agriculture alone. (Khokhar, 2017). As we start to layer together interdisciplinary concepts we can find prudence in the universal truths to help us make better and more efficient use of our time and energy.  As we look towards a future green economy in Hawaii’s labor market, we find that it is rare to acquire a living wage working in Sustainability. According to the US Department of Labor standards, Fact Sheet 71 standards for internship requirements (DoL, Online)  would be supported as a for-credit college program. Programs like this are the basis for an entire branch of sustainable development. The reason this education program is important is that it encourages local cultural identity, workforce development, and public health. Let’s continue to connect academia to the community around water quality, stream restoration, wildlife management, Sustainable Agriculture, Oceanography, and Hawaiian Studies. Aquaculture concepts and traditional Ahupua’a resource management share a common basis of cyclical resource use that might be instrumental as a common use practice for policy (Goddeck, 2016).  The recommended action methodology for connecting the community needs into policy is a Social Enterprise business model. The first step: to assemble a team built on trust with diverse skills sets that are leadership orientated. Step two: to perform data collection relevant to sustainability associated data of the community. Step three: to affect policy and politics at the institutional level with the data collected according to the community needs and metrics. This is a three-point Resiliency Strategy that has been an ongoing process of researching to uncover the key stakeholders in the community and their needs. Windward Community College can expect increased enrollment rates once it can bring more practical alignment to our socio-economic needs into academia and expedite the delegation of responsibility to perform these kinds of strategies. The anthropogenic effects on the environment are well documented at Kaneohe Bay and serve as an example of our need to mitigate and respond to our failed responsibility to manage at times. (Bahar, Jokiel, Toonen, 2015). Responsibility is called Kuleana in Hawaiian. Kuleana should become an automated system that can capture and communicate data and information in its many mediums at a moment’s notice as a product of the services provided under a “Canopy Network” that is the product and service of the final conceptualized Social Enterprise. This “Canopy Network” would operate specifically to Hawaii. This should be accompanied by an electronic transfer system that can quantify complex values, provide a public record of transactions, and target dispersal of the appropriate assets and resources to the partners of the social enterprise at a moment’s notice. Remember: the human resource is paramount and of utmost value in today’s day-in-age. The intention of this system is to help quantify the human and environmental resource values and map them.

 Heart disease caused by diabetes is the number one cause of death in Native Hawaiians. (Aluli, Emmet, 2010). Public health is a priority and the best way to access the community needs is through nutrition and nutrition education. (Hamms, Bellows, 2003). Community food security and public health is a more appropriate measure of wealth in Hawaii. As the goal of this independent study and key to navigating sustainability, a compass has been produced to orient the direction of humanity beyond the current expected forecasts. The compass came together naturally according to the need to conceptualize a mosaic of sustainability topics according to how they are prioritized, provide direction, and give fundamental associations to sustainable action in society. This compass is the conceptual basis for a successful social enterprise business plan. According to indigenous knowledge, the general public is fundamental to sustainable development as the primary responsibility of any hierarchical structure, to be better understood as the workforce (Fukumitsu). In order to constitute a green economy in Hawaii, the mission of the social enterprise business is best articulated as “a Human Resources Development company that provides agency to a diverse set of skills teams that operate in favor of maximum stakeholder interest in order to help communities, businesses, and government agencies adapt to change.” Another important distinction that must be acknowledged about our current economy is that humankind must adjust from a high negative externality yielding supply chains to closed-looped systems of localized production standards that decentralize energy production in order to improve resilience. Whereas, if a capitalist market could invest in a “Free Market” that is determined by the needs of the community as opposed to our globalized self-interest, we might unlock our human resource capacities in new and more resourceful ways.

 The purpose of this social enterprise project is to produce pilot projects according to task order contracts, that improve operational standards according to data (MBDA, 2010). Problems in the community are projects that can be listed, categorized, and prioritized. One example of organizing this methodology is an Industry Incubator. The Industry Incubator is a multi-functional, intercampus event set-up meant to focus on the community needs. According to already identified community needs in waste management, relationships must be fostered with the local business sector in Honolulu. Waste management is a critical intersection of the Green Jobs and environmentally driven economic priorities (Araujo, 2018). The goal of the Industry Incubator is to gather multiple data metrics on sustainability, host a Sustainability Education Panel, and provide lunch. This is one way that we may begin to partner and promote ourselves and each other as being of positive effect to systemic adjustments while also having fun built into the process. In the meantime, academia will continue to improve placed-based education performance for the purpose of providing real-world impact. 

  In conclusion, the greatest asset is the human resource. Community is the key to Resiliency, and it requires a framework to better structure our awareness of local priorities. This framework should be an interface that can be replicated for the world and made appropriate for the local specifications.  E. F. Schumacher’s introduction of intermediate technologies is another fascinating way to understand what the social enterprise means to capture (Britannica, 2018), just like a Kuleana, or responsibility capture mechanism that can provide responsible parameters to an otherwise “free market.” A “free market” must be founded on a free-thinking population that is of a beneficent nature, or Pono. Lest we forget that this theme is not uncommon in time. It was Marcus Garvey, not the popularized Bob Marley who sprung the meta-cognizant concept of free-thinking in his quote, “We are going to emancipate ourselves from mental slavery because whilst others might free the body, none but ourselves can free the mind.” (The Black History Month Project, 2012). Once we have regained what our harnessed collective human potential really is, we will be able to survive the plastic dependency, carbon crisis, or even the forecasted grand solar minimum. Future goals for this social enterprise include becoming a global network liaison with a mission of inspiring creativity in the human resource and diversifying the green workforce economy. The two fastest-growing green jobs are the solar energy industry and the wind turbine energy industry (BLS, 2018). These cannot be the only two industries that the future has available to us. In Hawaii, there is a proverb that says “He aliʻi ka ʻāina, he kauwā ke kanaka“: The land is a chief, and man is its servant (Springer, 2016). The history of Hawaii is rich and we must not let a legacy of human adaptation be lost in obscurity (Smithsonian, 2007). In order to operate more sustainably, humankind must adjust psychologically, make better use of natural resources, and be more creative overall. Our current competitors are future partners. In the words of a 20th-century creative mind, Buckminster Fuller, “Don’t fight forces, use them.”


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