Living on the Shores of Hawaii: Natural Hazards, the Environment, and Our Communities
- About the Book
Rarely a day goes by in Hawai‘i without the media reporting on environmental issues stemming from public debate. Will the proposed housing development block my access to the beach? Is the rising sea level going to cause flooding where I live? How does overfishing damage the reef? Is the water clean where I surf? Living on the Shores of Hawai‘i discusses the paradox of environmental loss under a management system considered by many to be one of the most stringent in the nation. It reviews a wide range of environmental concerns in Hawai‘i with an eye toward resolution by focusing on “place-based” management, a theme consistent with—and borrowing from—the Hawaiian ahupua‘a system.
After describing a typical situation in Hawai‘i where a sandy beach is lost because a seawall has been built to protect a poorly sited home, the authors step back in time to trace land-use practices before and after the arrival of Westerners and the increased tempo of destruction following the latter. They go on to discuss volcanoes and the risk of placing homes in locations vulnerable to natural hazards and the potential dangers of earthquakes and tsunamis to a complacent public. Water issues, including scarcity, flooding, and pollution, are surveyed, as well as climate change and the possible outcomes of projected sea rise for Hawai‘i. The authors explain coastal erosion and beach loss and the problems of overfishing and ocean acidification. Later chapters assess residents’ risks to hurricanes, offering mitigation techniques, and provide a summary and some management conclusions.
As tensions increase because of conflicting standards, misunderstandings, and contradictory ideals and actions, we put our economy and quality of life at risk. Sound decision-making begins with asking the right questions. This book addresses these questions within the context of sustainability and thus their influence on the future of Hawai‘i.