We islanders could all be living in green houses, driving green cars and working in green jobs...and still be totally unsustainable.
Howsat? We're dependent on an unsustainable industry structure, that's why.
The second the planes stop flying (or, God forbid, the boats stop cargoing), we're outta business.
Our major export is sun and its derivatives. So, ironically, even if the planes and boats keep coming, our export base becomes more vulnerable even as it expands...as in hotter climate and less ozone protection.
Hawaii's relationship with the rest of America--as a supplier of R&R and military basing--has enabled these islands to fill up with vastly more folks than we could support with our own resources...without the revenues from tourism.
Sure, we could prolly feed ourselves, given enough advance warning. And, there will surely be enough water to drink.
Yet, the only resources available to make and maintain our stuff is down at the landfill with an earthen cap on it.
Now that Hurricane Flossie has fizzled (without bringing Kauai our desperately needed rain), I'm recalling how important it was that many folks got off our island after the last Hurricane (Iniki in 1992). Why? Because we couldn't have supported them without FEMA's MREs.
So, when the forthcoming draft Hawaii Sustainability Strategy talks about self-reliance, one wonders which selves they're talking about.