Our mission at Hawaiian Paddle Sports involves more than just our business. Community, culture, and protecting what we love in this world is a big part of who we are. Each month we highlight a local charity, community group or non profit organization to help raise awareness for their cause. In May 2015, we were proud to sponsor Maui Tomorrow Foundation.
Maui Tomorrow: Protecting Maui’s Future
Established in 1989, Maui Tomorrow Foundation serves as one of the island’s leading watchdogs when it comes to the enforcement of environmental and land use laws. For nearly 30 years, the organization has advocated on behalf of Maui’s environment. Maui Tomorrow is known for holding county officials, developers, and businesses to their environmental responsibilities.
A powerful voice in the community, Maui Tomorrow Foundation’s main goal is to secure a sustainable future for the island of Maui. Working with community partners, Maui Tomorrow Foundation has helped divert sprawling developments, preserved open space, documented air quality issues from sugar cane burning, and promoted sustainable energy development. In addition, Maui Tomorrow also focuses on long-range sustainable planning, reef and shoreline protection, water conservation and reuse, and stream restoration.
Enhancing Maui’s Air, Land, and Water
Over the years, Maui Tomorrow has made great strides for the island’s water resource, land, and air quality. For years, Maui Tomorrow was a vocal opponent of Hawaiian Commercial and Sugar Company’s (HC&S) widespread sugar cane burning. With its Clean Air for Keiki campaign, Maui Tomorrow raised visible awareness throughout Maui about the health impacts of cane burning. As a result of these efforts, HC&S was issued smoke violations by the state’s Clean Air Branch for the first time in Maui’s sugar history. In early 2016, HC&S announced that it would be transitioning from sugar cane into a diversified farm model. Maui Tomorrow continues to work closely with land owners and the community to ensure that the land is maintained and harvested in a sustainable manner.
In addition to air quality, Maui Tomorrow is a strong proponent of protecting Maui’s open space and coastal lands. The group has helped halt sprawling developments throughout the island, including in Olowalu, Kihei, Makena, and Wailea. Their efforts have paid off, and a number of important coastal access areas and parks are now protected in perpetuity.
Fresh water – known as wai – in Hawaiian, is another vital component of life on Maui. Not only is Maui tomorrow working with the County of Maui to promote increased use of recycled water, but was also a key player in restoring historic stream flows in West Maui. In Hawaii, water is considered a public trust resource – meaning that it cannot be held under private ownership. Despite this fact, private sugar and pineapple plantations diverted water from a number of West Maui’s streams for over 150 years. Together with Hui o Na Wai ?Eh? and Earthjustice, Maui Tomorrow was successful in restoring flow to Waihe?e, North & South Waiehu, and Waikap? Streams, and Wailuku River.
Creating a Better Tomorrow
A big part of Maui Tomorrow’s focus is developing sustainable options for Maui’s future. While developers and landowners continually advocate for their specific projects, many times without considering the broader implications, Maui Tomorrow stresses the importance of evaluating each project in terms of the “big picture”. To this end, the organization researches alternatives to development and shares these findings with government officials, planners, the public, and even landowners themselves. This combination of vigilance and foresight has resulted in numerous victories on behalf of the Maui community.
Recently, the nonprofit released Malama ‘Aina: A Conversation About Maui’s Farming Future. The report evaluates various farming opportunities and scenarios for the 36,000 acres of former commercial sugar lands in Maui’s central valley. For a state that imports 90% of its food, developing solutions that increase local food productivity is a critical step towards creating a more self-sustaining community.
How You Can Help
Maui Tomorrow is an important, vocal champion for Maui’s future. By working within and among the community, the organization promotes the interests of Maui residents. As a small nonprofit, they rely on our support and participation. You can help shape Maui’s tomorrow by:
- Donating – Donations are an important part of being able to keep Maui Tomorrow’s operations up and running. Also consider becoming a monthly donor!
- Becoming an advocate – All of Maui Tomorrow’s projects in some way relate back to the Maui Community (YOU!). Browse the Maui Tomorrow website to learn about opportunities to testify or speak up for Maui’s land. Stay on top of important issues by signing up for Maui Tomorrow’s Newsletter.
- Volunteering – Do you have special skills or background that would be useful to furthering the Maui Tomorrow mission? If the answer is “yes”, then consider becoming a volunteer and help support Maui Tomorrow’s many projects and events.
To get involved, contact Maui Tomorrow’s Executive Director Albert Perez at (808) 244-7570. Don’t forget to visit Maui Tomorrow’s website or “Like” them on Facebook.