Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Day 5 and 6

Hanauma Bay

Hanauma Bay was a very very popular hotspot for both tourists and locals in Hawaii due to its extremely beautiful beach and bay areas. Approximately 5 years ago Hanauma Bay was closed due to over tourism which affected the marine life there. Much of the marine life was being threatened due to the high human traffic. The high Human traffic resulted in pollution of the waters in turn harming the eco system in Hanauma Bay. Today it is re-opened to the public. However tour groups are only allowed to view the bay from a distance and only a maximum of 300 guests are allowed on the beach per day in an effort to keep the preserve the marine life. The east coast is a sanctuary to many animals such as the humpback whales and Sea-lions, just to name a few. This shows how Tourism can actually damage or harm the environment. It was due to the large amount of human intervention that the marine life moved away from Hanauma Bay disrupting the eco system there. However in contrast to that, Hawaii's biggest industry is in fact Tourism consisting about 70% of the state's economy. Without taking advantage of Hawaii's natural environment, to receive tourism, the state will loose a large portion of its economy and therefore cannot be eradicated completely. As such compromises such as allowing a certain amount of people in per day help to create a balance between allowing us to appreciate and enjoy nature whilst preserving it for others to enjoy and thus creating sustainability. Today many countries invest in Eco tourism as well which helps both the economy and the environment. 

Sea Life Park

The sea life park is also one of the common tourist hotspots we visited. In the sea life park, species of different marine life are preserved and also used as entertainment. There were dolphin shows, Sea-Lion enclosures and even marine birds were among the various diversity of marine life showcased at the Sea Life Park. A key point I picked up from the Sea life park was that while mainly being a tourist attraction where many come to watch the various "shows" put on by the animals such as dolphins, penguins and sea lions, they also try to do their best to educate the public about protection and preservation of the environment. At the end of each show, they will always remind the audience how to take care of the environment and how to help in the effort to reduce our harm to the environment. The sea life park even goes to the extent of having a "no straw" rule to help prevent litter from being thrown into the ocean, potentially harming the marine life. This shows the sustainability of the environment being both practice and imparted to the audiences. Tourism as such is both for enjoyment and education, resulting in a highly "sustainable" industry.

Waimea Valley 

Waimea Valley to me is more of a preservation of culture than anything else. Sure it may hold its geographical wonders and beauty but to me, its true beauty lies in the people that lived there and made their home out of it. Before entering the valley which is known to be sacred to the Hawaiians, we are to "ask for permission" to enter as a form of respect and to check our intentions for entering the valley, wether for good or bad. If good, often or according to our guide, a faint breeze will begin to pick up. This would indicate that permission is granted for entry into the land. Upon Hawaiian methods, using rocks against rocks as well as using modern chisels and such. However one thing that remains true is the rocks that he carves his works from. These rocks were gathered from water sources as "good" specimens can be found in those areas. Although that may be so, he still has to "pray" or ask for permission to take the rocks for that specific purpose. For example if he is looking for a hammer stone, he will have to pray the night before he goes hunting for it and according to him, more often than not, in doing so, you will be able to easily find the rock very quickly. 

This practice as well as many more show how much respect the Hawaiians give to their land and environment. They only take what they need and not what they want from the environment. This practice whilst being highly un-applicable to modern society in its raw state, can still be attempted. Try to take less and use less. Do not be greedy. This simple principle of not taking what you don't need will allow the environment to continue flourishing and it is through this that the environment is sustained. 

These practices and in fact this tourist attraction is an embodiment of preservation of culture. It is through places such as Waimea Valley and the Polynesian Cultural Centre that people learn about their culture and therefore it is preserved and not lost or drowned out by modern influences. Simple activities that are carried out here by the true Hawaiian people help to keep the old Hawaiian culture going even though technology today would allow for much easier lives, they choose to hold on to their roots and traditions. Keeping the diversity! 

Another interesting activity that we enjoyed here was the playing of 2 games both of which were applicable in war time. Often these games were played during the season of peace or harvest where it was understood that wars would not take place. This allowed them to practice their skills and hone them whilst having fun and relaxation. As such, they're skills at waging war would not fade or backslide so when they next went to war, they were already at the top of their game. 

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