Archive for March, 2011

Where do things go?

March 31st, 2011
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Cast of HTY's "Where Do Things Go" Junior Tesoro, Moses Goods, Maile Holck; center: Max Louis; seated: Nina Buck. Courtesy photo.

Cast of HTY's "Where Do Things Go" Junior Tesoro, Moses Goods, Maile Holck; center: Max Louis; seated: Nina Buck. Courtesy photo.

Where do things go?

As in, where does our trash go?

The Honolulu Theatre for Youth wraps up its season with "Where Do Things Go?" It's a series of vignettes addressing everything from water to trash, fossil fuels, medicine, hoarding and the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.

Appropriately, the set and costumes for the play were all created out of recycled materials from previous shows.

Opening night is 7:30 p.m. Friday at Tenney Theatre. The play runs at 4:30 p.m. on Saturdays, April 2, 9, 16, 23, 30 and May 7. Tickets are $16 for adults; $8 for youth (18 and under) and seniors (over 60). Order tickets online at www.htyweb.org.

The state health department, city Department of Environmental Services and Blue Planet Foundation all helped underwrite the production and contribute to the content. Alternate Energy Hawaii is the corporate sponsor.

HCC's Greener Days celebrates Earth Day early

March 29th, 2011
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HCC's string of water bottles illustrates how many end up in the landfill. Photo courtesy HCC.

Honolulu Community College is celebrating Earth Day early.

From today through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., HCC at 874 Dillingham Blvd. is holding an early celebration of Earth Day (which is April 22). There will be a collection of recyclable plastic bottles and aluminum cans on campus as well as a swap meet in which individuals are encouraged to bring household goods.

The theme is: "Be the Change: Honolulu CC Go Green Days."

Proceeds from the recycling drive and swap meet will be donated to the Hawaii chapter of the American Red Cross to aid earthquake/tsunami victims in Japan.

Roughly 50 billion plastic water bottles end up in U.S. landfills each year, according to back2tap.com — approximately 140 million a day. In 2008, Americans drank an average of 215 bottles of water each for the year. HCC is stringing together a visual representation of what that looks like.

The idea is to raise awareness and make "going green" a conscious lifestyle change, and not just a fad, according to Emily Kukulies, director of student life and development.

Other events include:

>> A light bulb trade — swap your incandescent bulbs for an energy-efficient CFL from the Blue Planet Foundation.

>> A demo of energy-efficient vehicles by WheeGo.

>> Free herb plants to take home and cultivate.

>> Sustainable-themed movies in the student lounge.

>> A special tie-dye project by chemistry instructor Mike Ferguson.

>> Display of a net-zero energy home currently under construction by Team Hawaii students as one of the entries to the 2011 U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon to be held in Washington D.C. this fall.

A whale of a weekend

March 24th, 2011
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It's shaping up to be a whale of a weekend.

Humpback whale in the ocean. Photo courtesy of NOAA.

Humpback whale in the ocean. Photo courtesy of NOAA.

This Saturday, NOAA is holding its final Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary Ocean Count from 8 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. on Oahu, Kauai and the Big Island.

As many as 12,000 humpback whales — an endangered species — winter in Hawaiian waters each year. Humpback whale season in Hawaii generally runs from November through May, though the giant cetaceans may still be encountered in limited numbers during other months.

Volunteers help count whale sightings at NOAA's various sites from the shorelines of Oahu, Kauai and the Big Island.

Volunteers can still register for this Saturday's count on Oahu or the Big Island by visiting hawaiihumpbackwhale.noaa.gov. To volunteer on Kauai, call 808-246-2860.

For a list of site locations, visit NOAA's website.

All three islands saw record numbers of volunteers in January and February.

For the month of February, volunteers counted an average of five whales every 15 minutes from Oahu and Kauai, and an average of four every 15 minutes on the Big Island, similar to last year, according to a Star-Advertiser report.

Several other green goings-ons are also happening this Saturday, including an Adopt-A-Beach cleanup on the North Shore, Earth Hour (from 8:30 to 9:30 p.m.), and the Surfrider Foundation's "Rise Above Plastics" fundraiser party at the Waikiki Aquarium.

Have a great weekend!

Earth Hour is Saturday 3/26

March 23rd, 2011
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Earth Hour is just three days away on Saturday, March 26 at 8:30 p.m. (in all time zones). To learn what it's all about, watch the Earth Hour Video.

If you want to participate, then shut off the lights and join people around the globe who are doing the same, while thinking about how you can go beyond Earth Hour in your everyday life going forward. Visit beyondthehour.org to share your action (and click on the little squares to see what people throughout the world are pledging to do, from elementary school students to company leaders).

A classroom in Hong Kong says it will only turn on the air-conditioner when other options have been exhausted. Someone from Canada says he or she will eliminate the use of disposables as much as possible. Carter Observatory in New Zealand will turn off its lights during Earth Hour. If you're on Twitter, you can even have your avatar go dark by going to www.eh2011.com.

Earth Hour  was launched in 2007 in Sydney, Australia as a way to take a stand against climate change.  Last year, a record 128 countries and territories around the globe took part.

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On Saturday, the Surfrider Foundation is also hosting a "Rise Above Plastics" RAP party and fundraiser from 6 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. at the Waikiki Aquarium lawn, with a keynote speech by Captain. Charles Moore, discoverer of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch and founder of the Algalita Marine Research Foundation.

Capt. Moore is here this week, participating in the 5th annual International Marine Debris Conference in Waikiki.

Check out the marine debris artwork, groove to music by Simple Souls and The Intire Project, and sample some delicious food and drinks. Tickets are $40 and can be purchased at www.surfrider.org/oahu.

On Saturday morning, you can also participate in an Adopt-A-Beach cleanup from 10 a.m. to noon on the North Shore. Meet at Chun's Reef, 61-529 Kamehameha Highway. Water, gloves, bags and lunch from McDonald's will be provided.

World Water Day 2011

March 22nd, 2011
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Today is World Water Day.

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Water — wai — is the source of life, and without it we would not survive.

World Water Day is an initiative that came out of the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development. Held annually on March 22, its purpose is to draw attention to the importance of freshwater as well as to advocate for the sustainable management of freshwater resources.

This year's theme is: "Water for cities: responding to the urban challenge."

In some parts of the world, there are women and children who walk 6,000 kilometres (3.73 miles) just to get access to fresh water.

On Oahu, with a population of over 1 million, our drinking water comes primarily from fresh water filtered through mountain watersheds. We're fortunate to have access straight from the tap, yet our island water supply is a precious resource.

We worry a lot about our carbon footprint, but we should probably also think about our water footprint as well.

Here are 7 ways to save water from the Honolulu Board of Water Supply. Installing water-efficient plumbing fixtures is just one way to save water consumption.

The National Geographic also has the following tips for conserving water.

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agement of freshwater resources.

Vote for Patagonia's dollars

March 21st, 2011
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Here's your chance to vote for where Patagonia's $5,000 should go.

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Patagonia store in Haleiwa. Photo from patagonia.com.

Patagonia, which has stores in Honolulu (Ward Gateway Center) and Haleiwa (North Shore Marketplace), is dishing out $5,000 to deserving groups during the Patagonia Voice Your Choice campaign.

Each store has selected three local groups that have done something extraordinary to help restore or protect the environment. Now it's up to you to select the group you feel has made the most impact. First place winner receives $2,500; second place $1,500 and third place $1,000.

Votes are taken by person in-store. You have until March 31 to place your vote.

Nominees for the Honolulu store are:

Kakoo Oiwi — Community based non-profit working on a taro restoration project. The group has a 38-year lease with the Hawaii Community Development Authority to transform fallow land in He‘eia into a working agricultural landscape

Paepae  O He‘eia — Friends of the He‘eia Fishpond. Private non-profit dedicated to caring for the He‘eia Fishpond working in partnership with landowner Kamehameha Schools.

Kai Makana — Non-profit aiming to educate and mobilize the public to better understand and preserve marine life and the ocean environment through youth mentorship and community-based programs. Since 2005, the group has lead efforts to restore Mokauea Island.

Nominees for the Haleiwa store are:

Hawaii Wildlife Fund — Non-profit dedicated to the preservation of Hawaii's native wildlife through research, education and conservation. Projects include beach cleanups, the Hawksbill Sea Turtle Recovery Project and Hawaii Island Marine Debris Removal.

Friends of Kaena – Dedicated to enhancing, maintaining and protecting the natural and cultural resources of the Kaena Area State Park for present and future generations. The group is working with NOAA, YWCA's Camp Erdman and others to teach fourth-graders about Papahanaumokuakea.

Save Haleiwa Beach Park Coalition — Supports the protection of Haleiwa Beach Park for the benefit of the public.

Congratulations to the Showdown in Chinatown winners. They were announced on Saturday night, and their shorts should be uploaded by Tuesday.

A green weekend

March 18th, 2011
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It's shaping up to be a green weekend. If you're looking for things to do and places to recycle, here is just a sampling for Honolulu:

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Malama Maunalua aims to preserve and restore the health of the bay. Courtesy photo.

Marine Debris Student Artwork at the State Capitol
Friday, March 18 to Monday, April 28
B.E.A.C.H. has its Marine Debris Awareness Student Art Project display up at Hawaii State Capitol's chamber level foyer (415 S Beretania St.). Artwork is from students at various schools including Damien Memorial School, Farrington High School, and Saint Anthony School, among others. Free and open to the public.

Make Life Green at Koko Marina Center
Saturday, March 19: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Koko Marina Center in Hawaii Kai (7192 Kalanianaole Highway) is offering entertainment to celebrate St. Patrick's Day as well as a mini-expo to reduce your carbon footprint. There will be on-site collections of plastic bottles and aluminum cans as part of a recycling drive benefiting Kamiloiki Elementary School. Looking to dispose of some unwanted electronics? Pacific Corporate Solutions will recycle your e-waste. Look for booths from Aquapono, Revolusun, Kanu Hawaii and Malama Maunalua.

Hike Manana Ridge with the Sierra Club
Saturday, March 19 8 a.m.
Hike up Manana Ridge in Pearl City with the Sierra Club. Go up about 1.5 miles and help remove some of the exotic weed trees sprouting in a koa forest. Swing by Waimano Pool on the way down for a refreshing swim. Sierra Club hikers meet 8 a.m. at Church of the Crossroads (2510 Bingham St.) unless otherwise stated. Moderate-level hike. Requested donation of $5; $1 for members. Contact Ed Mersino, mersino@hawaii.edu or 223-5765.

Marine debris short films
Sunday, March 20, 8 to 10 p.m.
See short films about marine debris projects around the world by filmmakers and artists at Movie Night at the ART at Mark's Garage (1159 Nuuanu Ave.) in Chinatown.

Kaena Point Sierra Seminar
Sunday, March 20, 8 a.m.
Learn about native coastal plants and animals on this interpretive, 6-mile hike along the coastline of Oahu's northwestern tip with the Sierra Club. Possible whale, monk seal and albatross sightings. Space is limited, so reservations required. Requested donation of $5; $1 for members. Colleen Soares 748-9215.

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Plastic bag stuck in a tree. Photo credit: Suzan Beraza

See "Bag It" at Bambu 2.0
Monday, March 21, 7 p.m.
Is your life too plastic? If you haven't seen Suzan Beraza's "Bag It" documentary chronicling the global production and journey of a plastic beg yet, there will be another screening Monday at Bambu 2.0 (1144 Bethel St.) in Honolulu Chinatown.

You can watch the first three minutes of the film here.

A good day to be green

March 17th, 2011
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Happy St. Patrick's Day!

It's a good day to wear green, and be green.

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It's also heartening to see a local beer company — Kona Brewing Co. — that has taken significant steps towards being green.

Kona Brewing Co. last year had a 229-kilowatt solar photovoltaic system installed on its Big Island brewery and pub by Sunetric. At the time, Kona Brewing was the first beer production facility in Hawaii to go solar, according to president and CEO Mattson Davis.

Both of Kona Brewing's pubs on the Big Island and Oahu (at Koko Marina) are Certified Green Restaurants by the Green Restaurant Association. The brewery debuted the Oceanic Organic Saison — a Belgian-style ale using organic hops that was certified by the Hawaii Organic Farmers' Association. Last March, it also unveiled a lighter glass bottle.

The company has a sustainability coordinator on staff, recycles as much as possible, and offers its food in compostable to-go containers.

Kona Brewing Company has made it part of its business plan to grow the business "with ecological integrity, reducing the company’s carbon footprint whenever possible."

So raise your glass to going green!

Speaking of green, if you're interested in installing a solar PV system on your home and want to see how it works firsthand, Sunetric is holding a Solar Open House from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday (March 19) in Hawaii Kai. Energy consultant John Vallero will be on hand to answer questions. Visit www.sunetric.com for more information.

Double the rebate! Between Monday and May 31, as reported in today's Star-Advertiser story, customers also get the chance to get double the HECO cash rebate ($1,500) for installing a solar water heater from Hawaii Energy.

Nissan Leaf is here

March 14th, 2011
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The all-electric Nissan Leaf is in Hawaii. Photo from Nissan.

The all-electric Nissan Leaf is in Hawaii. Photo from Nissan.

The long-awaited, all-electric Nissan Leaf is here in Honolulu.

And it couldn't come at a better time, given the escalating gas prices on Oahu.

Tony Nissan delivered its first Nissan Leaf to state Rep. Mark Takai (D-Newtown, Pearl City) at the Tony Group Autoplex in Waipahu earlier this month.

"I wanted to do our part in weaning Hawaii off its addiction to fossil fuels," said Takai in a press release. "We can't continue to spend more than $6 billion each year to import foreign fuels."

Takai also has solar PV panels installed on his home, which will produce a few more kilowatt hours a day to power the Nissan Leaf. The car charges up like a cell phone, ideally when you sleep.

Hawaii is one among seven U.S. markets the Leaf has chosen to launch the all-electric car. The 2010 Leaf's suggested  manufacturer's retail price is $32,780, but qualifies for a $7,500 federal tax credit and $4,500 state tax credit.

A total of 300 reservations were made for the Nissan Leaf in Hawaii. Nissan delivered one car in early January. Hopefully, you'll see more of them hitting the road soon.

The 2011 Nissan Leaf will be on exhibit at the First Hawaiian International Auto Show March 18 to 20 at the Hawaii Convention Center.

Toyota's new plug-in electric Prius (which will be available soon to Hawaii buyers), the RAV4 EV (built by Toyota in collaboration with Tesla and currently undergoing evaluation), and plug-in electrics like the Mitsubishi "i" (previously known as the i-MiEV) will also be at the show.

Plant Pono! on Saturday

March 11th, 2011
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Ma‘o hau hele, native Hawaiian yellow hibiscus and Hawaii's state flower.

The theme of this month's Second Saturday (March 12) at the Pearl City Urban Garden Center is "Plant Pono."

Did you know that more than 10,000 plant species were introduced to the Hawaiian islands, while 1,200 have spread to natural areas? Invasive species take a toll on our native species and ecosystems.

They include miconia, pampas grass,  fountain grass, cattails, rubbervines and wood rose.

We can make a difference by choosing noninvasive species for our landscapes, according to the University of Hawaii Master Gardeners, which teams up with the Oahu Invasive Species Committee (OISC) for this workshop.

You can choose a native Hawaiian plant or opt for non-invasive plants – there are many options which still feature fragrant flowers.

The ma‘o hau hele, for instance, is a native Hawaiian yellow hibiscus, which grows easily here. But what you see in many gardens across Oahu are a larger yellow hibiscus that is not native.

Classes start at 9:30 a.m. and repeat at 11 a.m. Cost is $5 at the door. Walk-ins are welcome, but space is limited, so please arrive early to reserve a seat.

For more information, visit the UH College of Tropical Agriculture's Oahu Urban Garden Center website or call 453-6050 or 453-6055.

See the Star-Advertiser's Home & Garden Calendar for additional class listings offered by the urban garden center.

Besides guided tours of the center's display gardens, certified Oahu Master Gardeners are available to answer your gardening questions every second Saturday.