With Hawai’i aiming at a future of sustainability, Honokowai Valley offers valuable lessons in living off the land. Kalo and potato patches that self-irrigate offer an interesting perspective on water conservation, and many native plants can be used for medicinal treatments for a variety of ailments often treated with western medicine. The concept of “biodynamic gardening,” in which all the waste from plants and weeds goes back into the earth, helps the environment flourish and feed on its own natural fertilizers.
Aside from getting their supplies from nature, Hawaiians relied on their observations of nature to learn about life. Living off the land provided a vast education on botany, astronomy, physics, and much more.
“Without the use of the scientific method, the Hawaiians were able to name plants and their families with 98 percent accuracy, just by observation,” says Ed. “… As we get into the plastic society, we lose that which is natural. Hawaiian people had names for winds, rains and rainbows, and different parts of the ocean. It’s far more complex than what we…’civilized people’ have. Because they had to be connected with nature.”