Imagine going to your favorite Hawai‘i beach, picnicking on the white sand and snorkeling over a reef teeming with yellow tang. Or hiking through a māmane reserve and hearing palila sing. How much should you pay for such experiences?
Most of us assume they should be free. But other people point to the cost of maintaining such resources or the cost of their abuse – a cost that collectively all locals and tourists pay. The problem is we’re not paying enough.
A recent study conducted by Conservation International, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit, concluded that our state needs to spend at least $886 million a year to care for our ecosystems and biocultural resources, yet our current conservation spending is $535 million a year.