Recently I had the opportunity to travel to the state of Hawaii as the guest of my sister and brother-in-law. Gay and Stu had been there before, but they gave me the experience of seeing that far off land I’d never seen and will not likely see again. The plane trip is far too hard to get over.
We arrived in Honolulu and stayed one night in a hotel across the street from a beautiful Hilton. Because of my problems with indoor air pollution, I dreaded entering the Ramada Inn, thinking they would likely have sprayed chemical fragrance in their lobby and in the rooms. But I was surprised to find the hotel smelled clean -- not artificially deodorized with chemicals. No scented soap or personal body care products bothered me in the room. My first impression of Hawaii was great.
We flew to the island of Kauai the next day. We arrived at the airport in Lihue. My hosts said this was the least commercialized of all the islands. I loved the drive to the Marriott on Poi Pu Beach. Tall grass grows wild on the roadsides. I was told it was cane grass or buffalo grass. We passed wide open green fields with fat cows and sleek horses. We drove through a tunnel of trees and some small towns before reaching the coast. So much green, so many shades of green, and I didn't see one beer can on the side of the road.
It seems the residents of Kauai know the value of a clean ocean, clean air to breath and the natural world in which their native people depended upon for many generations. Never have I seen people so dedicated to recycling and caring for the environment.
Plastic bags are banned on Kauai.
Can you imagine that? If a store uses bags, they use paper and it is plainly printed on the side, Recycle.
I found the best method of recycling is a little fabric item called a market bag made by a lady selling them in a booth. It unzips and opens to a bag as big as one of the tote bags we find at the grocery store. This market bag can easily be refolded, zipped and carried in my purse so I will have it with me all the time. I wish I had bought several of them.
Some retail stores in Kauai don’t offer bags at all. If you buy a blouse, you take it home in your hands – no plastic to fill the landfills and clutter the rivers, streams and oceans. Coincidentally, I heard tonight that our oceans are so dirty, oysters are dying out. The oyster farmer said this is like the canary in the coal mine. If the oyster goes, other things dependent on clean water will go also. Yes, I know he didn't say it was plastic in the water that was harming marine life, but all the junk adds up.
|sunset on Poi Pu Beach|
Gratefully, I breathed in the ocean air of Kauai and gazed on the blue water as I watched birds, some familiar, but most unfamiliar, in the sky, on the ground, and lighting in boughs of yellow and orange hibiscus bushes, and the multitude of flowering shrubs everywhere.
It was easy to forget my responsibilities and worries. I couldn't have been more removed from reality--unless I had landed on the moon.