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Sustainable Living Institute of Maui
Maui Community College and Maui Land & Pineapple Company, Inc. propose to establish the Sustainable Living Institute of Maui (SLIM) to serve as a center for the gathering of information, generation of new knowledge, and development, application and validation of appropriate technologies. SLIM will share this knowledge and technology with the broader community and will forge new leaders who will implement this new way of thinking, planning, and executing future growth. SLIM will be guided by the values and principles of eco-effectiveness and sustainable living.
The Sustainable Living Institute of Maui is committed to optimizing Maui’s economy by helping people build skills that are compatible with the community’s cultural choices and economic aspirations; developing Maui as an exemplary and prosperous island and sharing eco-effective methods with other communities throughout the world; and serving as living laboratory and classroom for building and managing holistic communities.
The Sustainable Living Institute of Maui will become the premier institution for fostering sustainable, innovative methods of community development and management. The Institute will draw students from Maui, Hawai`i and around the world to learn about and apply the sustainable sciences, grounded in the watershed management system and drawing inspiration from the Native Hawaiian land management system embodied in the ahupua`a. The Institute will serve as a catalyst to make the island of Maui a prototype for the development of sustainable island communities.
Values and Principles of Eco-effectiveness
It will help guide the community decision making process in harmony with the cultural values and principles sustaining the Hawaiian culture and environment. SLIM’s development paradigm will be based on three fundamental values of sustainable development:
SLIM will strive for eco-effectiveness by harmonizing global values and principles with what is indigenous to Maui and Hawai`i. The Institute will respect the principles of sustainable living:
The second largest island in the Hawaiian chain, Maui is anchored by two massive shield volcanoes joined by a central valley created by millenary weathering and erosion of the two mountains. It is this central valley that gives Maui its popular name of the Valley Isle, as well as its fertile foothills ideal for agricultural activity. Blessed with a moderate tropical climate, bountiful rainfall, scenic beauty and variety, cultural diversity and a wealth of recreational opportunities, residents and visitors agree that Maui is no ka oi (the best).
Residential opportunities on Maui are naturally in great demand and development is inevitable. However, the islandís resources, notably water and land, cannot sustain infinite growth. Decisions regarding how and where to grow and develop must ensure that this activity benefits Mauiís natural, social and cultural environment. One way to promote such a holistic decision-making paradigm is to use the sustainability model, which integrates and gives value to a communityís social, economic and environmental components. A sustainable community engenders a self-perpetuating environment of responsibility and respect, resulting in the balancing of present and future needs. As an island community inherently aware of its boundaries and the finite nature of locally-sourced resources, Maui is ideally situated to become a model for sustainable living.
Sustainable growth and development on Maui must be grounded in a holistic, comprehensive and integrated planning and stewardship model. Current thinking in this area suggests using a sustainable watershed management system in which the watershed is the unit of management and its sustainability is the management goal. Such a system is not unlike the traditional Hawaiian land-management system known as the ahupua`a. This model, using the watershed as the management unit, focused on the interdependence of land and people, thereby maintaining land and water quality, as well as economic, social and cultural balance. Land and resource stewardship were crucial elements of the ahupuaía system. This stewardship ensured the preservation of resource quality, as well as the enhancement of the landís ability to support present and future generations. Similarly, integration of the sustainable watershed management system into the planning and execution of Mauiís development will help to ensure that the communities and ecosystems of today and tomorrow benefit from this growth and development.