Climate Action

The Pledge to Our Keiki: Embracing Sustainable Tourism and the Spirit of Ohana

The Pledge to Our Keiki: Embracing Sustainable Tourism and the Spirit of Ohana

Hawaii is a breathtakingly beautiful place deeply rooted in the concept of ‘ohana’, which means family in native languages and represents an immeasurable sense of connection and community at the heart of Hawaiian culture. The spirit of ohana can be seen and felt everywhere in Hawaii, from the warm and welcoming smiles of the locals to the way families and communities come together to celebrate important events and milestones. In Hawaii, ohana is not just a biological family – it’s a way of life.

Whether you are visiting for the first time or you have lived in Hawaii your whole life, you are welcomed into the ohana with open arms. It is a place where people come together to celebrate and support each other, where strangers are welcomed as family, and where the bonds of community are strong and unbreakable.

While Hawaii is known for its strong sense of ohana, the tourism industry has had negative impacts on the islands and its people. The influx of visitors put a strain on the resources and infrastructure of the islands, leading to overcrowding, traffic congestion, and environmental degradation. As the tourism industry has begun its relaunch since the COVID-19 pandemic, there is concern for its negative impact on the natural environment.

Despite these challenges, many people of Hawaii are working to find solutions balancing the benefits of tourism with the need to protect the islands and its people. The Pledge to Our Keiki is a commitment to living sustainably and reducing human impact on the environment. It calls on individuals, businesses, and government agencies to take action to protect Hawaii’s natural resources, reduce waste, and promote sustainability, and serves as a reminder the island is not inherited from the people of Hawaii’s ancestors, rather it is borrowed from future generations.

The Pledge to our Keiki, modeled after the innovative and internationally recognized Palau Pledge, will support the Department of Education and the nearly 170,000 students across Hawaii in environmental sustainability and service learning. Launched in December 2017 by the government of the Republic of Palau, the Palau Pledge a world is a globally renowned, written agreement all visitors to Palau must sign before entering the country and is aimed at promoting responsible, sustainable tourism with a focus on protecting the country’s environment and culture.

Video produced by: Wakeful State and Planit Branding, Video made possible by: United Airlines Conservation International

With the goal of 50,000 signatures by the end of 2023, Kanu Hawai‘i is working alongside the Hawaii State Department of Education, EARTHDAY.ORG, government officials, and other nonprofits to make waves on Earth Day and give the pledge a global platform by putting on three major events. These events include:

The Signing Event at the Hawaii State Capitol Kick Off For Earth Day

On April 21, the signing event will officially recognize the pledge across Hawaii’s industry, leaders, schools, and visitors. It will show collective commitment and social responsibility to Hawaii’s life, land, and sea by demanding social responsibility from the tourism industry. Hundreds of business leaders, dignitaries and government officials are expected to convene for the event. In attendance will be the President of Palau, Surangel Whipps Jr., and EARTHDAY.ORG’s National Campaign ManagerManager, Evan Raskin. This event is open to the public. More details are available at

Hawaiian flags on the lawn on opening day of the Legislature at the Capitol.

Sun Ceremony with the Hawaiian Oli E Ala Ē

E Ala Ē is a unique event celebrating Hawaii’s culture, promoting environmental stewardship, and inspiring people to take action to Invest in Our Planet. The ceremony will take place at sunrise, with groups gathering at various locations across Hawaii, including atop Maui’s Haleakala and the east facing shores of multiple islands. Faith leaders from nearly 100 countries across the world will also participate at sunrise in their respective time zone. Participants can join at sunrise based on how they practice personal faith. The chant will begin at 6:07 am Hawaiian sunrise, and the event is part of Hawaii’s National Volunteer Week.

Largest Attempted Dive Cleanup in the World

Aqualung and PADI, alongside Kanu Hawaii, aim to set the stage with the largest statewide dive cleanup in honor of The Pledge to Our Keiki on April 22 by hosting cleanup sites in coastal areas of every major Hawaiian island.The goal is to remove thousands of pounds of trash littering the ocean and coastal waters of the islands and to generate lasting global awareness. To participate in the cleanup, snorkelers and divers can contact participating dive shops and resorts. With events happening across the Pacific Rim, everyone is encouraged to join from their island, or worldwide. EARTHDAY.ORG’s National Campaign Manager, Evan Raskin, and Hawaii’s Governor, Josh Green, are just a few of the many big names expected to participate at Magic Island Beach Park on Oahu, the flagship cleanup of Earth Day 2023 in Hawaii.

The Pledge to Our Keiki is a promise for sustainable tourism. It raises awareness about environmental issues, promotes responsible behavior among tourists, and encourages local communities to take ownership of their natural resources. People, governments, and businesses can sign the online “Pledge to Our Keiki” as their first act of service and a commitment to leaving Hawaii better than they found it. To learn more about the pledge, please visit