Archive for March, 2013

Kakaako Beach Butt-Clearing

By
March 28th, 2013



The Surfrider Foundation hosts a beach cleanup at Point Panic at Kakaako Beach Park this Saturday (March 30) with a focus on cleaning up cigarette butts. Photo from planetearthandhumanity.blogspot.com.

The Surfrider Foundation hosts a beach cleanup at Point Panic at Kakaako Beach Park this Saturday (March 30) with a focus on cleaning up cigarette butts. Photo from planetearthandhumanity.blogspot.com.

The Surfrider Foundation hosts a "butt-clearing" and beach cleanup Saturday morning (March 30) at Point Panic at Kakaako.

Meet at Point Panic at 10 a.m. Look for flags and tents opposite the Kewalo Marine Laboratory.

This months' beach cleanups is focused on cleaning up cigarette butts, one of the most common items littered along the coastline. Volcano E-Cigs is offering the Surfrider Foundation 5 cents for each butt collected. Visit www.cigarettelitter.org to read published research about how cigarette butts cause harm to aquatic life.

Honolulu City Council, meanwhile, passed  Bill 72, which bans smoking at most East Oahu beaches, including Kapiolani Park, Kuhio Beach Park, Duke Kahanamoku Beach Park, Sandy Beach Park and the beach side of Ala Moana Regional Park. The bill now goes to Mayor Kirk Caldwell for his signature.

The beach cleanup will tally up the items cleared from the coastline, followed by lunch provided by Blue Tree Cafe.

If you miss this beach cleanup, Divas Doing Good, the non-profit arm of Eden in Love and The Wedding Cafe at Ward Warehouse, has organized another one at Kakaako Beach Park from 9:30 to 11 a.m. on Saturday, April 6. There'll be games, prizes and all ages are welcome. Please RSVP by April 1 to shop@edeninlove.com.

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Show of support for solar

By
March 20th, 2013



Nearly 300 individuals, including those who work in the solar industry, homeowners and businesses showed up at the Hawaii State Capitol today (Wednesday, March 20) in support of tax credit incentives for renewable energy.

Nearly 300 individuals, including homeowners, businesses and those who work in the solar industry, showed up at the Hawaii State Capitol today (Wednesday, March 20) in support of tax credit incentives for renewable energy.

Dressed in yellow T-shirts emblazoned with "Power to the People," nearly 300 individuals showed up at the Hawaii State Capitol today (Wednesday, March 20) in a show of support for renewable energy tax credits, casting a ray of "sunshine" on the floor of the Rotunda.

They included homeowners, business owners, the employees of more than 70 companies that belong to the nonprofit Hawaii Solar Energy Association, members of the  Blue Planet Foundation, Sierra Club Hawaii and the Ulupono Initiative.

All were in support of keeping tax credits in place to help Hawaii reach its goals for a clean energy future.

HSEA president Gabriel Chong said: "These tax credits are accomplishing what they were created to do — make clean energy more accessible and more affordable to more people.

>> According to Chong, since the current tax credits began in 2009, photovoltaic installations in Hawaii have quadrupled, creating enough clean energy to power over 18,000 homes. In addition, with the help of incentives and rebates, Hawaii has the highest per capita solar hot water use in the nation, with over 90,000 solar hot water systems currently installed.

>>  The renewable energy tax credits help our local economy. Over a quarter of all local construction jobs were generated by the solar industry in 2012, said HSEA executive director Leslie Cole-Brooks, citing an estimate from the Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism.

>> Hawaii's solar tax credits enable families and businesses to free themselves from total dependence on electricity generated by burning oil, said Jeff Mikulina, executive director of the Blue Planet Foundation.

Last year, I watched as neighbors across the street, down the street and around my neighborhood installed solar PV panels on their rooftops. It's almost as if solar PV systems were blooming here and there and everywhere. This morning, I was happy to see workers installing a new solar water and solar PV array on another nearby neighbor's house.

If the renewable energy tax credits are working, then let's keep them going. It makes so much sense for Hawaii.

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Solar rally at the Capitol

By
March 19th, 2013



Solar supporters are showing up at the Hawaii State Capitol today to rally for solar tax credits that are helping Hawaii move towards a clean energy photo. Photo by Greg Yamamoto for the Ulupono Initiative. Courtesy.

Solar supporters are showing up at the Hawaii State Capitol today to rally for solar tax credits that are helping Hawaii move towards a clean energy photo. Photo by Greg Yamamoto for the Ulupono Initiative. Courtesy.

Solar power supporters, unite!

If you want to keep renewable energy tax credits going strong in Hawaii, then let your voice be heard at the "Power to the People Day" from noon to 2 p.m. at the Hawaii State Capitol tomorrow (Wednesday, March 20).

Renewable energy advocates are rallying in support of legislation that will keep renewable energy tax credits going strong in Hawaii and available to homeowneres and businesses.

The Hawaii Solar Energy Association, Blue Planet Foundation, Sierra Club, Ulupono Initiative, Sen. Mike Gabbard (West Oahu), Rep. Chris Lee and other advocates will be present.

Advocates say that renewable energy tax credits are accomplishing what they were created to do — make clean energy more accessible and affordable to more people. Since the tax credits were put in place in 2009, solar photovoltaic (PV) installations in Hawaii have quadrupled. The solar industry also generated over a quarter of all local construction jobs, according to an estimate from the state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism.

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Food for thought: "The Greenhorns"

By
March 18th, 2013



Need some food for thought on where our food will come from in future generations? "The Greenhorns" is a documentary portraying America's young farming community and its commitment to creating a sustainable future.

Punahou School and Slow Food Oahu are hosting a free screening of the 50-minute film 7 p.m. Thursday (March 21) at Thurston Memorial Chapel. The screening is part of Punahou's Food for Thought film and discussion series.

The film, by farmer-filmmaker-activitst Severine von Tscharner Fleming, features young farmers across the  U.S. mainland who are choosing pioneering methods in agriculture as a way of life. You can learn more on The Greenhorns Facebook page.

The screening will be preceded by samplings from local farms at 6 p.m. The film will be screened at 7 p.m., followed by a discussion with young, local farmers.

Admission is free, but seating is limited. Campus parking is free. Visit www.punahou.edu/foodforthought or call 945-1352 for more information.

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All drains lead to the ocean

By
March 11th, 2013



Disney Pixar's "Finding Nemo" has a great message: that all drains lead to the ocean. Photo courtesy Disney.

Disney Pixar's "Finding Nemo" has a great message: that all drains lead to the ocean. So we need to care about what goes down our drains if we care about the ocean and life in the ocean. Photo courtesy Disney.

My 2-year-old has recently decided on "Finding Nemo" as his latest movie to watch over and over again. We've moved on from Disney Pixar's "Cars" (which we saw at least 150 times) and now we're into Disney Pixar's "Nemo," which came out on Blu-Ray over the holidays.

Nemo has many important messages, among them the stark reality that sharks and barracudas consume smaller fish in the ocean ecosystem of the Great Barrier Reef. Also, that you only hold someone back if you don't give them a chance to go out there, try things and gain self-confidence (i.e. Nemo's overprotective dad). Plus, life is, and should be, an adventure (just ask Dorie).

But most important of all, the "tank fish" living in the dentist's aquarium inform us that "all drains lead to the ocean." Thus, their escape route possibilities include being flushed down the toilet or going down the dentist's water fountain.

And that's an important message for us as humans and residents of Hawaii, where we're surrounded by ocean.

We usually have the "out of sight, out of mind" mentality.

When we put something in the trash or pour something down the drain, it's gone, as far as we're concerned. Until we learn that it's not, because our landfills are overflowing so much that we have to consider shipping opala to the mainland, and whatever goes down the drain ends up in the ocean.

And if we want to enjoy the ocean — swim in it, play in it, surf in it or snorkel and scuba-dive and see a thriving reef — we'll be affected by whatever we put down that drain.

Keeping whatever flows into the ocean clean is the mission of Hui O Ko‘olaupoko, which is featured in today's Green Leaf column. The non-profit group's focus is to protect ocean health by restoring the aina, from mauka to makai.

It's not the most glamorous work, but we're talking about stream restorations, storm drain retrofits and rain gardens — projects that rely on the help of volunteers but also bring the community together.

You, too, can make a difference. Here are four simple things you can do, according to Hui O Ko‘olaupoko. 1) Plant natives that are drought and pest resistant. 2) Wash your car on a lawn with phosphorus free soaps. 3) Sweep driveways, sidewalks and road gutters to prevent debris from entering the storm drain and 4) Scoop up dog poop or pet waste and dispose of it properly to prevent excess bacteria in our streams.

And, if you've got the room in your yard, consider building a rain garden.

It's a simple lesson for a 2-year-old — all drains lead to the ocean. All of it is connected. So we need to take care of the aina in order to take care of the ocean to keep Nemo's home beautiful.

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Aloha Aina recycling at Kaelepulu Elementary

By
March 8th, 2013



AlohaAinaRecyclingGot a tube TV that no one wants and don't know what to do with it? Believe it or not, it's awfully hard to give one away these days.

Well, you're in luck.

The Kokua Hawaii Foundation is holding its next Aloha Aina Recycling Drive, in partnership with Schnitzer Steel, at Kaelepulu Elementary School from 9 a.m. to noon tomorrow (Saturday, March 9).

And they will be collecting TVs.

The recycling drive will also be collecting scrap metal, computers, printer cartridges, laptops, game systems, batteries, reusable clothing, household items, used cooking oil, paper, corrugated cardboard and HI-5 containers.

Proceeds will benefit Kaelepulu Elementary School. So clean out your house and head on to Kaelepulu tomorrow (530 Keolu Dr.) Contact 3rs@kokuahawaiifoundation.org for more information.

If you miss this recycling drive, look for the next ones from 9 a.m. to noon on Saturday, April 6, at Moanalua Middle School and Saturday, May 4 at Mililani Uka Elemantary.

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Invasive Species Awareness Week

By
March 1st, 2013



Quiz: Strawberry guava — invasive or non-invasive?

Strawberry guava is an invasive species in Hawaii. Learn more during Hawaii Invasive Species Awareness Week March 4 to 10. Photo from www.discoverlife.org.

Strawberry guava is an invasive species in Hawaii. Learn more during Hawaii Invasive Species Awareness Week March 4 to 10. Photo from www.discoverlife.org.

Answer: Invasive.

Though we see plenty of strawberry guava during our hikes on Oahu as well as in people's yards, strawberry guava, which was introduced to Hawaii from Brazil in 1825, is an invasive species that invades native forests. With no natural enemies or competitors in the isles, strawberry guava forms dense thickets replacing native Hawaiian plants and damages the watershed.

What are invasive species?

Invasive species are 1) Harmful to the environment, economy and/or human health and 2) Not native to the area in which it is presenting a problem.

The first Hawai‘i Invasive Species Awareness Week takes place from Monday (March 4) to March 10.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie kicks off the week with a proclamation at 10 a.m. Monday at the state Capitol, followed by an awards ceremony to honor individuals and groups that have made a difference in protecting Hawaii from invasive species.

See the full list of honorees at www.hisaw2013.blogspot.com.

During the week, join Hawaii Bioblitz's mission to find out what's living in your backyard. The public is invited to submit photos of plants and animals in Hawaii and to post them to the project website. More than 30 local experts are volunteering to help the public identify the plants and animals in their photos, and determine whether they are native, non-native or invasive species. Go to  www.hisaw2013.blogspot.com for more information.

Want to do more to combat invasive species?

There are volunteer opportunities across the state, which include managing invasive plants on Mauna Kea (Saturday, March 2) or helping with the Manoa Cliff forest restoration (Sunday, March 3). You can also help remove invasive species at Lyon Arboretum  or pull invasive algae from Oahu's fishponds on Saturday (March 9). You can also pull weeds in the Alakai bog on Kauai.

Click here for a list of invasive species awareness week events.

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