Off to a Sustainable Start: A Note from the Publisher

Off to a Sustainable Start: A Note from the Publisher

Finally. How many times have you heard that word in the last two weeks. "Finally, a new year."

It seems that across the board, 2009 was a transitional time for local businesses—especially those in the travel, restaurant and hospitality industries. We certainly don't need to bore you with statistics: The challenges were many. And they're still sorting themselves out.

One often overlooked aspect of this beast is how economical shifts can affect our day-to-day personal lives. And while living in Hawaii has many perks, many of us tend to take our work home with us. I heard a prominent architect and designer say it best: "People in Hawaii seem to make things work by thinking out of the box. They've achieved their various successes and don't work the typical 9-to-5 grind that most of the nation does." Yet with that uniqueness comes a more direct link between our work lives and our home lives. Perhaps it's as simple as geography. All our islands are small, in comparison to any major U.S. city. Therefore, the people we interact with during the week are bound to be the same people we see on the weekends, when we're filling the cup with the more meaningful aspects of life; friends, relationships, revelry and adventure.

Maybe it makes more sense, then, that here in Hawaii we need to pay a more mindful eye on certain issues that tend to play second-fiddle to those who reside elsewhere. Things like sustainability, for one. Let me share a passage I recently read in a book that focuses on this very subject. It reads:

"Self-sufficiency does not mean "going back" to the acceptance of a lower standard of living. On the contrary, it is the striving for a higher standard of living; for food that is fresh and organically grown and good; for the good life in pleasant surroundings; for the health of body and peace of mind that comes with hard, varied work in the open air; and for the satisfaction that comes from doing difficult and intricate jobs well and successfully.
"[Sustainability] is going forward to a new and better kind of life; a life that is more fun than the overspecialized round of office or factory life; a life that brings challenge and the use of daily initiative back to work, and variety, and occasional great success and occasional abysmal failure. It means the acceptance of complete responsibility for what you do or what you don't do, and one of its greatest rewards is the joy that comes from seeing each job through—from sowing your own wheat to eating your own bread, from planting a field of pig food to slicing a side of bacon."

This passage is from a book on self-sufficiency written by John Seymour—in 1975. What I love about it is that it rings true for the direction our individual communities throughout the islands are headed. Have you noticed the change? Sustainability as a buzz word for marketing to "an audience with a conscious" is so 2009. In this New Year, it's all about finding things that have real value. It could be a dining experience; a family outing; a sunset sail; a conversation with an old friend; the planting of your own herb garden—or purchasing a single tomato plant. People—and businesses—living sustainably today are the ones who mean it.

This year, if we have anything to say about it, is about finding what makes you—and the community surrounding you—happy. If we at B on Hawaii can spotlight a few events, introduce a fascinating personality or encourage an adventurous jaunt, we're pretty certain that you'll not only add a sliver of happiness to your day, but possibly open up the door to creating a wonderful new memory.

Many mahalo's to our loyal (and rapidly expanding!) readership as we embark on year number four. From the initial 1,200 subscribers (in April, 2006), I'm thrilled to say it looks like we're on track to hit the 10,000 mark before the end of February. Keep reading, keep sharing us with your friends, and keep thinking of us as family.

A hui hou,
Brian Berusch
Publisher, B on Hawaii