Sustainability: the ability of an ecosystem to maintain itself into the future.
Hawaiian Translation: Malama i ka ‘aina (care for the land) Loa‘a pa‘a mau (sustainable)
Long-lived and healthy wetlands and forests are examples of sustainable biological systems. Recently in Hawai‘i, people have worked to restore the Kaelepulu Pond, which is an example of a sustainable wetland.
When the natural processes of ecosystems are interferred with, their long-term survival can be threatened. For people to live sustainably, by having little or no environmental impact, we need to use methods, systems, and materials that won't deplete resources or harm natural cycles, but that instead maintain the wellbeing of the natural world over the long term.
Sustainability involves humans using natural resources (wood, coal, water, animals, plants etc.) responsibly. Efforts to live more sustainably can take many forms. Organic gardening, buying local produce, limiting consumption of fossil fuels, and reorganizing living conditions are some examples of elements of sustainable living.
Painting of Ahupua‘a by Marilyn Kahalewai
“Pre-contact Hawaiians depended upon an extremely ordered and equitable system of land division, called ahupua‘a, in which district boundaries were most carefully planned and laid out. This guaranteed that all natives residing within these boundaries would receive a fair share in the rights, privileges, and benefits essential for a self-sufficient yet comfortable life" (Carol Silva).
Each ahupua‘a was a slice of land which included the top of the mountain with a stream to the ocean. An ahupua‘a was a wedge shaped land division and extended from the top of the mountains and 200 miles pass the shoreline. It was a land dividing system that promotes sustainability and conservation of natural resources.
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