At the core of every Hawaiian’s values is the notion of malama ka `aina, meaning to care for and live in harmony with the land. By simply taking care and respecting the land, it will sustain life. This straightforward relationship has been honored for thousands of years, since the Polynesians followed the stars to the shores of Hawaii.
To take care of the land, certain practices must be implemented such as conservation and sustainable use. Growing up in Hawaii, these terms along with catchy phrase “use only what you need," were frequently discussed in classrooms as well as at the dining room table. Now that I live on the “mainland” these practices and discussions are not as prevalent as they should be.
Part of malama ka `aina is every one doing their share, whether it is as small as conserving energy consumption by turning off the lights when you leave the room or as big as running your home on a renewable energy source. Although my home in Denver, Colorado does operate off of solar panels, I try to do my fair share with the simple phrase “reduce, reuse, recycle” and if I may add recreate.
One of my favorite activities to do with my dad is shell hunting. Together we comb beaches for these treasures; as a result I have shells all over my house. Using a hand full of shells, here is a craft project that not only reminds me Hawaii, but also honors malama ka `aina. This is an easy project that will decorate your walls and use all recycled materials with the exception to glue.
Supplies: hot glue gun, glue sticks, various shells and canvas or colored paper.
Map the layout of your shell pattern.
With the hot glue gun, take the shell and place glue on the backside and continue this for the remaining shells.
Now it’s your turn: What do you do to take care of the land?