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The Key to Hawaii Self-Sustainability? The "UpCountry"

Posted by Start An Offer on Monday, October 19th, 2015 at 7:31pm.

PS - I also have a YouTube channel with many informative videos about Hawaii, Maui and Real Estate. Check it Out Here

My family (Lisa my wife and 4 boys) and I have been living in the "Up-Country" of Hawaii for the past 2 1/2 years. We recently moved from 1200' feet in elevation to 3600' feet. It was time to really experience every aspect of Kula Maui Real Estate! It's REALLY amazing the difference! At 1000' feet it was something like rarely rained and it was a very dry climate. The temperature and bright sunny days are very similar to living at sea level, but just not as humid.

Kula Maui Real Estate 


Now living at 3600' feet, it reminds me sooo much of Colorado. The air is very crisp and clean and the nights get cold. By cold I mean in the low 40s. Which for Hawaii IS cold. You literally need a blanket at night and people actually burn wood! Yes, you can go for a walk outside and smell the cool mountain air mixing with chimney smoke. Something you rarely think you would experience in the Hawaiian Islands, unless you come up, to the UpCountry!

It really is the best of both worlds! If you want to go down and get your "ocean fix" it's only a 20 minute drive.  But you can drive back up to get some relief! Relief from what you might ask? Here's one thing a lot of people won't tell you about Hawaii.

It's hot.

If you live by the ocean you can count on needing to have your air conditioner running most of the year. And with the highest cost of electricity in the country, that means an extra $400 to $800 per month sucked right out of your budget. Living at a higher altitude really solves that problem.

Speaking about the cost of living in Hawaii (what we pay for access to, gas, LIFE) brings up a really important topic. And that is "sustainability." What I want to get through to people is that an island that is 2400 miles from anything, SHOULD have the ability to provide everything it needs to sustain life. Especially if those resources are sitting untapped right under our nose. Isn't it time we think less about profit and more about doing what is PONO for the people and for our very own survival?

Let me give you an example. In the mere FORECASTING of a catastrophe - like a Tsunami or Hurricane - you can be sure that the stores in Hawaii will be EMPTY...almost overnight of basic supplies. What do YOU think would happen in the event an actual major storm did hit the islands....and the ships stopped coming for a few weeks..or months?

So the idea of sustainability isn't just something we talk about because it's cool, it could mean the difference between life and death! Between being prepared or the next Katrina.

Now flip the coin.

What if something HUGE happened on the Mainland?? And the ships stopped coming with eggs, beef and creamer for Costco?

So I believe the Hawaiian island chain should really work towards complete 100% SELF sustainability NOW.

Because if anything ever did occur in the world economy and/or there was a major disruption to supply chains....wouldn't it be nice knowing that we have everything we need and is already HERE to sustain the people that are on these islands.

I bet the people caught here on vacation would love to know they are safe (no riots over supplies) and everything they need is right here.

Provided in the Spirit of Aloha.

But that is not the case right now.

So here is a question worth pondering...

Why don't the big land owner magnates take all that sugar cane and pineapple land that has gone fallow/dormant and start planting FOOD that we can eat? (Besides, the top soil is just pouring into the ocean and hurting the coral and clogging the fragile eco-system.) I know back on mainland, you are not allowed to take a piece of farm ground out of production without an approved plan to utilize that fallow land for some kind of benefit (usually back to native grasses that will hold the soil and provide natural habitat to native species.) Here in Hawaii, I believe it should be planted with life sustaining food for the people, so that we are not 100% dependent on the ships bringing goods from the mainland.

So with that in mind, my recent move to 3600 feet, in the upcountry of Kula brought on a whole new concept of living for me and my family.

We decided to plant a gigantic vegetable garden with over 25 different variety's of vegetables and herbs. We also purchased chickens for the coup and now enjoy daily fresh, organic eggs. We also have lilikoi's (my peronal fav fruit!), limes, lemons, oranges and avocados already growing on the property!

We also have a one-month supply of freshwater in the house at all times. (A good idea for all families to have prepared ahead of time)

Additionally the home came complete with Maui Electric "we are no longer dependent" photovoltaic solar and hot water solar.

And for the meat lover in all of us (proven by the long drive-thru lines at McDonald's), we also have access to private hunting ground that is very close. Coupled with a fresh supply of arrows (no need to depend on bullets!) that we can go harvest some of the plentiful axis deer that are roaming these lands. (We are actually doing the Hawaii farmers a favor because these animals tend to participate in major crop destruction)  

As a final precaution I also purchased a month supply of freeze-dried food that has a 30 year shelf-life and very powerful generator in case we run into a string of cloudy days.

But this whole concept of "sustainability" shouldn't just be in case of emergencies!

I believe the entire Hawaiian island chain should be working towards long-term independent sustainability.

Why? Because it makes sense!

The big Hawaii corporations and mega families (won't name any names ;-) that have SO benefited from Hawaii Tourism and years of wealth building should give back and help us create this sustainability.

Not for big profits or for self-enrichment....but simply because it's the PONO (right) thing to do.

The WISE thing to do.......for our Keiki. (that's "kiddos" in Hawaiian!)

You never might JUST be for THEIR survival.

Just watch CNN....a major catastrophic event on the main land (nuclear attack, chemical or an electromagnetic bomb) could happen.

Hawaii would likely be spared. (Thank God!)

Let's take out that insurance policy now!

Let's plow, plant and GROW food NOW! In enough quantity, variety and months of proper storage to "SUSTAIN" Vegetables and fruits for the people, grazing for the cattle, and feed for chickens....On our beautiful, lush, and very nutrient dense volcanic soils, to keep everyone alive and healthy.

These islands and ALL the 'Aina (lands) are one of God's most precious gifts to his people, the least we can do is cherish them in a way that will provide the day-to- day MANA for LIFE.

Think about it.

Eric West

Island Sotheby's International Realty


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