Kanu Hawaii's Vision

Our movement is driven by a deep love for Hawaii and our unique way of life.This is what we believe.

We believe...

With each new commitment to action, we move a little closer towards a Hawaii where:

  • People ask "what's my kuleana?" before asking "whose fault is this?"
  • People know their neighbors and both rely on and support them.
  • People do their part to address things that were previously "out-of-sight and out-of-mind."
  • People have equal opportunity to reach their human potential.
  • People respect and celebrate differences rather than use them to divide.
  • People are entrepreneurial and industrious while rejecting the notion of profit at any cost.
  • People walk lightly on the land and strive together to leave this place better than they found it.
  • People take a long-term view and pursue disciplined investments rather than short-term solutions.
  • People temper the impulse to "go anywhere, do anything" with a strong sense of "home."
  • People have an unprecedented level of aloha for one another.

We can...

One approach to the issues that builds upon island strengths might look something like this:

To fulfill our kuleana to provide for ourselves:

  • We can use our abundant local resources to build an economy better protected from a risky dependence on imports and visitor dollars; an economy that gives communities a measure of self-reliance through local production of food, energy, and other essentials.
  • We can build an economy with better-paying jobs so that anyone who works hard can achieve financial stability and security for themselves and their family.
  • This economy will be built by promoting entrepreneurship, making significant investments in human capital, focusing public support for economic development on industries that create good jobs and that benefit their communities and the environment.

To fulfill our kuleana to pass on wisdom and knowledge to our children:

  • We can shape an education system that looks beyond high scores on narrow tests.
  • We can redefine the goal of education as teaching relevant global skills, an ethic of achievement, a strong sense of place and public service, and the ability to live and work among diverse peoples.
  • Rather than focusing on who to blame, we can build a system of education that involves families, communities, and schools as full partners in the development of our youth.
  • Schools and educators can lead this coordinated effort if they are adequately supported, freed to innovate, empowered to draw on their communities, and encouraged to customize teaching to different learning styles.

To fulfill our kuleana to nurture our environment:

  • We can draw on ancient traditions of stewardship to help us redesign our lifestyle.
  • We can reengineer products and packaging to waste less; build structures with efficient construction and design; plan neighborhoods to minimize travel impacts and maximize a sense of community; draw energy from clean, renewable sources; and invest seriously in reducing our impact on our climate.
  • We can protect areas of natural beauty, cultural significance, or ecological importance, so that we can preserve our spiritual connection to nature for future generations.

To fulfill our kuleana to strengthen and embrace cultural diversity:

  • We can take pride in our unique heritage and ensure that our various cultures are practiced and lived.
  • We can seek new applications for old traditions, making our cultures useful and living things for us to perpetuate.
  • We can invest in the arts, promote creativity, and pioneer new forms of conflict resolution for others to emulate.
  • We can recognize and protect the unique rights and obligations of our indigenous people, to ensure that Native Hawaiian culture continues to play a central role in how we view the world. As island people, we do not fear differences or try to wash them away; we celebrate them.

To fulfill our kuleana to one another:

  • We can take personal responsibility for our neighbors, elders, children, and vulnerable members of society.
  • Businesses can be accountable to their workers, communities, and the environment.
  • Citizens can view government as a collective responsibility and civic engagement can be seen as an obligation rather than merely a right.
  • We can take the steps necessary to rebuild public trust, such as separating private wealth from political influence, and finding alternative ways to engage more of our citizens.

We will...

We've discovered power in small, personal steps taken together. As an example: 50 people, spending consciously, wield $1.1 million dollars in retail spending. That's consumer power that can be used to support companies that treat their workers, the environment, and communities well. Those same 50 people, conserving water at home for one year, save enough drinking water to sustain a community of 1,000 people for two years.

Starting with personal change also keeps us humble and respectful when we ask government, business, or our communities to help make change happen. Our efforts at personal change are a constant reminder of how challenging and uncomfortable change can be, and prevents us from adopting a self-righteous tone that might turn others away from involvement.

The wisdom of an island approach to issues and the integrity of "island style" activism give Kanu Hawaii hope that it is indeed possible "to make Hawaii a model of environmental sustainability, economic resilience, and compassionate community" for the world.

The world is in desperate need of such models. Humanity must find new ways to deal with threats like climate change, ethnic conflict, and the mixed blessings of globalization if it is to survive the 21st century. These are the very challenges that our island experience can speak to. By pursuing island solutions to pressing local challenges, we fulfill a global kuleana, helping model island living for our increasingly island-like world.

Will you?

This vision for Hawaii reflects the spirit and actions of Kanu's members today. It will continue to be shaped by the members of tomorrow. The commitments of each member are personal vision statements, every "I will..." an aspiration about the life we want to live and the people we want to become. Taken together, the "We will" of our combined commitments reveals our shared vision.

Though our vision is emergent, one thing is already clear: The time for a new creed, a new dream, and a new vision for Hawaii has come. The definitions of Hawaii as bridge between East and West; as world-class visitor destination; as critical military asset; or merely a far-western American outpost no longer suffice. They fail to draw on what we know is special about Hawaii, and ask too little of us, its people. We must define a new destiny for Hawaii that is worthy of our place, our culture, and our moment in history.

This vision is calling on a powerful community of purpose lying dormant in these islands. Our kuleana calls. It is a personal and communal calling, a local and a global calling to which we can all respond.

Will you stand with us?

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