The Yurt’s Potential To Create an Eco-Friendly Hawai’i

By July 13, 2016Uncategorized

The Yurt’s Potential To Create an Eco-Friendly Hawai’i
Hawai’i is a land full of history, pride, honor, and innate environmental consciousness. The land is known for abundant sustainable sea life and lush green rain forests. Unfortunately, since the controversial accumulation of Hawaii as a state in August 1959, the social issues commonly found on the mainland have made their way overseas, and are now plaguing the local Hawaiian people and others Hawaiian residents who have made the luscious ocean island their home.
Since becoming a state, the tourist industry on the islands capitalized on the ‘aina’s beauty and variety of uses, which has over time begun to effect the delicate eco-system of the island habitat. The tourism industry has become a serious issue, driven by large hotels building on delicate beaches and fishing outfitters slowing reducing the islands’ natural resources for capitol. Excessive trash, homelessness, and poverty have become serious social issues for the state legislature and residents alike. In this article, we will explore the effects of the tourism industry on Hawaii’s ecosystem and landscape, then explain how the ancient Mongolian yurt is the one-stop answer for the increasing environmental difficulties.

The Environment

Any time construction is commenced, the surrounding area of the construction site becomes contaminated by industry approved building material such as PVC, mercury, and lead, among other full bodied pollutants. Scraps of plastic, broken bits of glass, and sharp nails are all common full bodied contaminants commonly found in the various habitats of Hawai’i. These toxic chemicals are transferred from a job site to the surrounding ecosystems by means of natural elements such as water and wind. It is very likely that the introduction of these pollutants to the Hawai’ian environment will have a lasting negative impact on the islands’ creatures and local residents. To fully understand how ambiguously safe materials such as plumbing pipe, light bulbs, and flame retardants are harmful to the environment, it is important to have a basic understanding of the chemicals used to create them.
• PVC Pipe: “PVC” stands for Polyvinyl Chloride, and is the main component in modern day plumbing for all aspects of residential and commercial plumbing. Although PVC is an approved building material, it has been proven to release some of the most toxic chemicals available to humanity during it’s life of use. More shocking, however, is the mass amount of toxic chemicals released into the atmosphere when lit on fire. Chemicals found in PVC are known to cause cancer and brain defects, and plays a definite role in the declination of healthy ecosystems.
• CFL Light Bulbs: “CFL” is a simplified term for compact fluorescent. CFL bulbs are a “green” alternative to energy zapping incandescent bulbs, however the additional electricity savings have come at a cost for environmental and human health. CFL bulbs primarily use mercury as their method of illumination, which is a highly toxic metallic chemical. In addition to the dangers these bulbs pose to the occupant’s who use them, hundreds of these bubs are accidentally broken on job sites throughout the country. Broken bulbs are mandated to be cleaned in specific ways to reduce environmental impacts, however even these specifications are usually ineffective in successfully ensuring the environment is truly protected.
• HFR Flame Retardants: Halogenated Flame Retardants are a required fire safety component in many residential and commercial structures. Unfortunately, tests have proven that HRF’s have no adverse effect on the progression of fires. HFR’s are made of toxic chemicals designed to reduce the rapid spread of fires, and when burned they release super-toxic gasses proven to be detrimental to the health of fire fighters aiding the building, which only hints at the effect the wide spread smoke of has on the surrounding environment.
The people of the Hawai’ian Islands are proud to live on some of the most beautiful, prosperous, and delicate ecosystems in the world. From the deep outer reefs of the ocean to the upcountry farmland, the Hawaiian ecosystem is a true thing of beauty that must be respected and cared for.
While the booming tourist industry may have had a small positive effect on Hawaii’s economy, it has also taken a huge tole on the islands’ environmental integrity. The tropical beaches are the major selling point of the tourism industry in Hawai’i, which has subsequently made building hotels and restaurants directly onto (or directly behind) the beloved beaches a savvy business move. Unfortunately, not all great business decisions have an equally great environmental impact, and the hotel industry in Hawai’i has been proof of that. The mass amounts of Papahanaumoka that has been allocated to tourism has resulted in the failing health of island reefs, polluted air and fauna, and loss of the island’s natural habitats. Full regions of some islands have been completely swarmed by large buildings directly serving the hospitality industry, and reducing the amount of natural land available to native Hawai’ian species. As a result of these corporate advancements, natural inhabitants such as the Hawai’ian monk seal are now at risk of extinction.

A “Well Rounded” Solution

How can a yurt reduce the advancing issue of pollution and over-building in Hawai’i? Firstly, yurts are one of the most environmentally friendly dwellings available for every weather condition imaginable. Because yurts are built on platforms rather than slab foundations, and do not use any harmful chemicals in their structure, yurts are an essentially impact free solution to the common slab structure, which destroys the integrity of the land beneath and requires an immense amount of effort to remove. Yurts also use a bare minimum of building materials to create a more optimized usage of floor space, therefore eliminating the huge amount of raw materials that go into a single hotel room. In regards to the investors, this shift to a more simplistic structural design is a huge economic plus from a commercial standpoint, because less of a need for raw materials means less up-front costs to build and begin doing business.
Some sectors of the tourism industry in Hawaiian may argue that yurts aren’t luxurious enough to accommodate their VIP customers, but the European “glamping” industry has proven quite the contrary. “Glamping” a British slang germ for glamorous camping, is a new fad spreading throughout the European continent in which individuals experience the wilderness from the comfort of a small comfortable dwelling. Beautifully crafted yurts with plush interiors are becoming a more common application in wilderness settings. Because the versatile design allows yurts to be built with functions such as conventional plumbing, electricity, and furnishings, yurts can truly be suited to accommodate people from every lifestyle. As a result of their versatility, yurts have begun to replace tents and cabins, and recent artistic applications has helped to spread the word of these excellent structures.

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About Ohana Yurts

Ohana Yurts was founded on the dream of building an eco-village for the Positive Energetics Foundation on Oahu’s North Shore. At the time, there were no Hawai’i based yurt manufacturers to purchase from, forcing Positive Energetics to source yurts off of the mainland.