Archive for March, 2012

Green weekends: Aloha Aina, whale count, Earth Hour

March 23rd, 2012
By



Volunteers help county humbpack whales at "Shark's Cove" on Oahu's North Shore. Photo by Jeremy Mitchell/Courtesy of NOAA's National Marine Sanctuaries

Volunteers help count Hawaiian humbpack whales at "Shark's Cove" on Oahu's North Shore. Photo by Jeremy Mitchell/Courtesy of NOAA's National Marine Sanctuaries.

St. Patrick's Day may be over, but there are plenty of "green" things to do over the next few weekends. Here's a roundup:

9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, March 24: Aloha Aina Earth Day Recycling Community Cleanup. Do some spring cleaning and haul your recyclables to Moanalua Middle School and Moanalua Elementary School for an Aloha Aina Earth Day recycling/ yard sale event.

The following items will be accepted free of charge: scrap metal, HI-5 beverage containers, used cooking oil, computers, printers, scanners, monitors, cell phones, newspaper, cardboard, phonebooks, magazines, all types of batteries, TVs (one per car), used eyeglasses and hearing aids, sneakers, DVDs, CDs, plastic playground sets,  and reusable clothing and household items. Contact Erin Kealoha Fale at 586-9470 (office) or 277-9445 (on-site) for more information.

8 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. on Saturday, March 31: Count the whales. Spaces still remain for volunteers to help in the final count of humpback whales around the Hawaiian islands. Volunteers will count the number of humpback whales seen around the islands over a four-hour period and record their behavior. To register, go to sanctuaryoceancount.org. To find out more, go to hawaiihumpbackwhale.noaa.gov.

9 a.m. to noon, on Saturday, March 31: Beach cleanup at Kewalo Basin, Oceandig. This beach cleanup, organized by Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii, promises to be rewarding with a potluck-style BBQ and raffles, games and prizes. Join Oceandig, the After Party later at 6 p.m. at Fresh Cafe in Kakaako to discuss ocean sustainability, watch "Bag It" and listen to live music from local reggae artist Mike Love of Dubkonscious and former American Idol contestant Paula Fuga (who's collaborated with Jack Johnson).

8:30 p.m. Saturday, March 31: Earth Hour. The Fairmont Kea Lani on Maui is planning to participate in Earth Hour 2012, a global environmental awareness event organized by the World Wildlife Fund. At 8:30 p.m. Hawaii time, all 60 of the Fairmont's world-class hotels and resorts will go dark to draw attention to climate change. The Fairmont Kea Lani on Maui will switch off non-essential lighting and encourage guests to turn on flashlights located in each guest room and from their lanai. The hotel will also illuminate its main entrance with more than 200 floating candles in the lobby fountain along with live, unplugged entertainment in Luana Lounge. To participate in Earth Hour, turn off your lights for an hour starting at 8:30 p.m.

Keiki "Energy Super Heroes" contest

March 21st, 2012
By



PACT Keiki Day's Writing and Art Contest is themed "Energy Super HEroes." Deadline for submission is 5 p.m. on Thursday, March 29.

PACT Keiki Day's Writing and Art Contest is themed "Energy Super Heroes." Deadline for submission is 5 p.m. on Thursday, March 29.

Parents and Children Together (PACT) has launched a Writing and Art Contest for Oahu students in partnership with the Honolulu Star-Advertiser and Hawaii Energy.

Students in grades 1 through 12 are invited to express themselves by submitting original stories, poems or artwork related to the theme of "Energy Super Heroes." One winner per grade will be selected. The deadline for submission is 5 p.m. on Thursday, March 29.

Keiki are encouraged to think about energy conservation and how to change energy-wasting habits, plus brainstorm a zero-energy home for an Energy Super Hero and share fun indoor or outdoor activities that can be done without electricity.

Winning submissions will be published in the special PACT Keiki Day edition of the Honolulu Star-Advertiser on May 9 (available for purchase throughout Oahu with proceeds to benefit PACT and its 15 programs). Each winner also receives more than $100 in cash and prizes.

Art pieces should be no larger than 18-inches by 24-inches and written work should be on longer than 350 words. Print complete information on the back of each entry, including: name, address, phone number, grade level, school name and teacher's name. All entries become the property of PACT and Hawaii Energy.

Participating students may download a submission form at pactkeikiday.org, then mail or deliver their entries to:

Parents And Children Together Keiki Day, PACT
1485 Linapuni Street, Suite 105
Honolulu, HI 96819

If you have questions, call Norma at 847-3285 Ext. 711 or visit www.pactkeikiday.org.

Dialogue, music, action

March 16th, 2012
By



Van Jones, founder of Rebuild The Dream and author of "The Green Collar Economy," will be on hand for a pop-up dinner conversation at the Capitol Rotunda on March 20. Photo from Van Jones Facebook.

Van Jones, founder of Rebuild The Dream and author of "The Green Collar Economy," will be on hand for a pop-up dinner conversation at the Capitol Rotunda on March 20. Photo from Van Jones Facebook.

In a first of its kind event, Kanu Hawaii is co-sponsoring what it calls a "pop-up dinner" conversation with nationally renowned speaker and activist Van Jones at the Capitol Rotunda on March 20.

It's part of a movement that Kanu is calling "Dream Revival Hawaii." You can also expect to hear some live poetry from Kealoha and music by Jive Nene and Kupa‘aina.

Dubbed one of the 100 most influential people in the world in 2009 by TIME magazine, Van Jones is recognized as a pioneer in human rights and the clean energy economy.

A Yale Law School graduate, Jones is president and co-founder of Rebuild The Dream, described as "a pioneering initiative to restore good jobs and economic opportunity." He is also the author of "The Green Collar Economy" and co-founder of three nonprofits: the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, Color of Change and Green for All.

Kanu and the Faith Action for Community Equity (FACE) invite folks to bring tables, chairs, food and their ideas to the Capitol for a discussion with Van about creating a "sustainable, equitable economy." Van Jones is expected to present a platform for  bottom-up, people-powered economic solutions to promote sustainable agriculture, state banks and affordable education.

Dream Revivals are being held across the U.S. with the help of celebrities, musician, artists and progressive leaders as part of a movement calling for a more just and sustainable economy.

Legislative visits, art, culture and movement-building training take place from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. The pop-up dinner with Van Jones is from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

If you've been feeling apathetic, this might just be the place to get your activist mojo back. The event is free. You can RSVP by clicking here.

Get ready for Kewalo Beach cleanup, Oceandig

March 15th, 2012
By



Volunteers at a Sustainable Coastlines beach cleanup. Oceandig, a beach cleanup at Kewalo Basin is scheduled for March 31, with an After Party at Fresh Cafe. Photo courtesy Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii.

Volunteers at a Sustainable Coastlines beach cleanup. Oceandig, a beach cleanup at Kewalo Basin is scheduled for March 31, with an After Party at Fresh Cafe. Photo courtesy Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii.

Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii is organizing a family-focused beach cleanup at Kewalo Basin Park from 9 a.m. to noon on March 31.

Check in is at 9:30 a.m. Gloves, trash bags and water will be provided. All ages are welcome. After the beach cleanup, there will be a potluck style pa‘ina barbecue, with raffles, games and prizes.

The rubbish collected at Kewalo will be quantified, much of it recycled and some of it repurposed for art, jewelry, product packaging and other uses. Statistics will be reported to NOAA and other agencies.

Visit www.sustainablecoastlineshawaii.org or follow them on Twitter @Coasthuggers and Facebook.

At 6 p.m., participants and community members are invited to Oceandig, an After Party at Fresh Cafe to discuss future strategies for minimizing ocean pollution. Don't miss performances by local reggae artist Mike Love of  Dubkonscious and former American Idol contestant Paula Fuga (who's collaborated with Jack Johnson). Besides live music, there will be a silent auction, cash bar and support from sponsors Styrophobia and Method Cleaning Products. Watch "Bag It," if you haven't already seen it, about how our lives have been taken over by plastic.

Guest speakers include adventurer Dave Cornthwaite, Pangaea Explorations Program Director Emily Penn and NOAA Japan Tsunami Debris specialist Ruth Yenger.

Thanks to the Lorax, but native plants, thanks

March 9th, 2012
By



Dr. Seuss' The Lorax is in theaters now. Photo courtesy The Lorax Facebook page.

Dr. Seuss' The Lorax is in theaters now. Photo courtesy The Lorax Facebook page.

Native plants, not spruce seeds, will be planted in Honolulu —and The Lorax would be pleased.

The state Department of Land and Natural Resources stepped in to stop bookmarks embedded with Engelmann spruce seeds from being given away at IHOP restaurants here.

IHOP in Hawaii is voluntarily discontinuing the giveaway of the bookmarks, originally offered as a promotion for "Dr. Seuss' The Lorax" movie, which hit theaters on March 2. The bookmarks were being given away to children ages 3 to 12, along with a movie-inspired menu featuring The Lorax's Breakfast, Pipsqueak's Breakfast or Mac ' N' Cheese & Truffula Trees.

Spruce trees are not native to Hawaii and while they may not pose a high risk to native plants here, other species of spruce trees have been observed to be invasive in parts of the Pacific, replacing native plants and the animals that depend on them.

This kokio is native Hawaiian.

This kokio is native Hawaiian.

DLNR and the Coordinating Group on Alien Pest Species partnered with native plant nurseries (including Hui Ku Maoli Ola) to create an exchange program for IHOP customers who may have already received one of the seed bookmarks. Customers can exchange their bookmark for a free native Hawaiian plant.

“Thanks to the quick action of DLNR and others involved, we have turned a potentially negative situation into a positive one by expanding on the movie’s underlying message of being better stewards of our natural environment,” said Governor Neil Abercrombie. “The collaborative effort to discontinue the distribution of spruce seeds engages those who may not be aware of the importance of the ‘right plant in the right place.’ Our forests will thrive with more native flora and that benefits all of us.”

Dr. Seuss' "The Lorax," first published in 1971, is a fictional story of a pristine environment where truffula trees provide food, clean air and habitat for a community of unique animals. But they are overharvested to the point of extinction, and the Lorax tries to point out the environmental importance of the trees.

"Updating the message of 'The Lorax' to include the value of native species is key for the next generation of conservationists to understand the problems facing our environment," said Joshua Atwood, coordinator for the Hawaii Invasive Species Council. "An important part of 'The Lorax' story is that the truffula trees grow nowhere else, and the Lorax is there to protect that limited resource."

On Oahu, Hui Ku Maoli Ola is offering native plants in exchange for the Lorax seeded bookmarks. See the full list below for Maui and Hawaii Island. The exchange is free until the end of April.

O‘ahu:
Hui Ku Maoli Ola Native Plant Nursery

46-403 Haiku Rd, Kane‘ohe, HI, 96744
Hours:  Monday-Friday 7:30 a.m. – 4 p.m., Saturday 7:30 a.m. – noon, closed Sunday

Contact: (808) 235-6165

Maui:

Native Nursery and Ho‘olawa Farms, exchange facilitated by the Maui Invasive Species Committee (MISC)
Contact MISC at (808) 573-6472

Hawai‘i Island:
Big Island Plants or Ku ‘Oh‘ia Laka, exchange facilitated by the Big Island Invasive Species Committee (BIISC)
Contact: BIISC at (808) 933-3345

Brewing beer with solar

March 8th, 2012
By



Kona Brewing Co., organizer of the Kona Brewers Festival on Saturday, chose to go solar in 2010 with this 229-Kilowatt (KW) solar array. Courtesy Photo.

Kona Brewing Co., organizer of the Kona Brewers Festival on Saturday, chose to go solar in 2010 with this 229-Kilowatt (KW) solar array. Courtesy Photo.

It's almost time for the 17th annual Kona Brewers Festival, a celebration of beer and cuisine on the Big Island this Saturday (March 10). So what's green about beer in Hawaii?

In 2010, Sunetric installed a 229-kilowatt solar energy system for the Kona Brewing Co.'s flagship brewery and pub, which started the Brewers Festival in 1996.

Here are some interesting figures on Kona Brewing Co.'s solar array:

  • Produced 314,563 pints, or 2,537 kegs, of hand-crafted brew to date.
  • Produced enough wattage to power 76 average residences each day.
  • Conserved 734 barrels of oil to date; the equivalent of 4,498 trips around the Big Island.
  • Prevented 691,132 pounds of CO2 from entering the atmosphere – the equivalent of taking 2,425 mid-sized cars off the road.
  • Saved Kona Brewing Co. $209,416 in electric costs in 2011 alone.

The Brewers Festival raises funds for environmental, educational and cultural causes. To see a list of beneficiaries, visit Sunetric's blog (and is giving away iPod Shuffles and other prizes to help raise awareness). They include everyone from The ACF Chefs de Cuisine Kona Kohala Chapter to the Peoples Advocacy for Trails Hawaii.

Sunetric is also bringing its Watt Wheels mobile solar energy station (a bright blue Honda Element retrofitted with three 230-watt SunPower modules) to power one of the festival's stages.

E-Waste Hawaii partners with Aloha United Way

March 6th, 2012
By



Pacific Corporate Solutions, which operates ewastehawaii.com, has partnered with Aloha United Way to help raise funds while recycling electronic waste.

Electronics that are donated to Pacific Corporate Solutions (which do not need to be in working order) will be converted to funds for the non-profit group.

The items collected for recycling include all brands of computers, monitors, laptops, back up batteries, printers, fax machines, servers, telecom equipment. Sorry, no TVs, microwaves or alkaline batteries.

Many electronics contain lead, which is best to keep out of the landfill.

There are three ways to drop off e-waste:

  1. Drop it off for free at company headquarters in Halawa. Pacific Corporate Solutions is at 99-1305B Koaha Place. Hours of operation are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday. It's best to call ahead and set up an appointment: 488-8870.
  2. Drop off e-waste at collections events. For a full schedule, visit www.ewastehawaii.com/blog. On March 10, there will be a free e-waste collection from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at Nanakuli High School. On March 17, drop off your e-waste from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Koko Marina Center.
  3. Schedule an e-waste pickup for your business for a fee. Estimates are free.

Ewa Makai 7th grade students sharing their garden

March 5th, 2012
By



Seventh grade students from Ewa Makai Middle School have started a community garden at school and are hosting "Community Gardening Night" on Wednesday (March 7). Courtesy photo.

Seventh grade students from Ewa Makai Middle School have started a community garden at school and are hosting "Community Gardening Night" on Wednesday (March 7). Courtesy photo.

The seventh grade students at Ewa Makai Middle School have not only planted their own vegetable garden out of recyclable materials, but are excited to share the joys of gardening with the community.

They've grown lettuce, zucchini, tomatoes, onions, parsley, corn, basil, mint, kalo, lavender, swiss chard, dill, carrots, broccolis, even watermelon. The students have shared the fruits of their labor by making salads, soups and Kale chips to give away to students and teachers.

Now the students want to share their love for gardening with "Community Gardening Night."

From 4 to 6 p.m. on Wednesday (March 7), the students want to help the Ewa community grow vegetables in their yard, too.

The students have planted four types of seedings — lettuce, onion, radish and tomato — to give away to the first 200 families, along with soil to get you started. Please drive into the campus and follow signs to receive your free seedlings and soil to plant a garden in your backyard.

What a great idea! These students are not only the next generation of gardeners, but future community leaders.