Archive for June, 2013

July: Beach CLEANUPs

By
June 29th, 2013



Several beach cleanups are planned for the month of July. After the crowds hit the beach for the 4th of July, there's definitely a need for volunteers to help sweep all the litter left behind by the revelry.

Mark your calendars:
>> 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, July 6. For the Love is holding a beach cleanup at Ala Moana Beach Park. The group, which is teaming up with a non-profit named Love Your Coast, plans to help clean up the extra litter left behind form 4th of July celebrations. Volunteers are welcome, but instead of purchasing garbage bags and gloves, For the Love asks volunteers to bring their own bags and their own reusable garden gloves. Check in is at 10 a.m. at the oceanside of McCoy Pavilion, with lunch to be provided at 12:30 p.m., along with a mermaid performance and yoga cool down session later in the afternoon. A grand prize will be awarded for the most pounds collected.

>> 7 to 9 a.m. Saturday, July 6, Kailua Bay Cleanup with Plastic Free Kailua and 9 to 11 a.m. on Saturday, July 6, at Kailua  Beach Park (check in at tent across from Buzz's, free hot dogs). Visit Plastic Free Kailua's Facebook page for updates.

>> 10 a.m. to noon, Thursday, July 11, Pounders Beach in Laie beach cleanup. Warner Bros., along with RealD, is encouraging people to participate in this "Pacific Rim" cleanup effort taking place concurrently at seven other coastal cities. The first 100 volunteers to show up get tickets to the movie on opening weekend, special T-shirts made of recycled materials and other prizes.

>> 10 a.m. to noon, Saturday, July 13 at Sandy Beach. RevoluSun, in partnership with the Surfrider Foundation, hosts its beach cleanup at Sandy's, followed by lunch (provided by RevoluSun) and a free RevoluSun T-shirt for volunteers.

>> 10 a.m. to noon or later on Saturday, July 27: Adopt-A-Beach Hawaii holds its monthly beach cleanup on the North Shore. Meeting spot is at Chun's Reef in Haleiwa, 61-529 Kamehameha Highway. Volunteers are provided with trash bags, water and gloves. Debris is documented for NOAA and the Ocean Conservancy.

Volunteers help RevoluSun and Surfrider with its annual Sandy Beach cleanup lat year. Courtesy photo.

Volunteers help RevoluSun and Surfrider with its annual Sandy Beach cleanup. Courtesy photo.

More funding for Hawaii's forests

By
June 21st, 2013



The state of Hawaii has increased funding to help preserve places like the Ewa Forest Reserve. Photo courtesy DLNR.

The state of Hawaii has increased funding to help preserve places like the Ewa Forest Reserve. Photo courtesy DLNR.

How about some good news for Hawaii's forests?

The state of Hawaii offers more funding for forest protection this year, with $3.5 million in general funds and $5 million in general obligation bond funding in fiscal year 2014 for watershed protection (and another $2.5 million in bonds for fiscal year 2015).

"The Department of Land and Natural Resources Watershed Initiative remains a top priority and will continue to move forward," said Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie, who signed the state budget bill into law June 18. "Protecting our mauka forest areas, which contain native plants and animals found nowhere else in the world, is essential to the future of agriculture, industry and our environment in Hawaii. It is the most cost-effective and efficient way to absorb rainwater and replenish groundwater resources to prevent erosion that muddies our beaches and fisheries."

The moneys set aside will:

>> Protect Hawaii's largest remaining tract of dryland forest in Manuka, in the Kau district of Hawaii island.

>> Allow for additional hires of natural resource managers and planners for on-the-ground forest protection projects.

>> Give funding to the Hawaii Invasive Species Council to address invasive plants and animals that threaten native forests and their ability to provide water.

DLNR chair William Aila said: "We can now make substantial progress towards our goal of doubling the level of forest protection in a decade."

Endangered flower from Manuka Natural Area Reserve. Photo courtesy DLNR.

Endangered flower from Manuka Natural Area Reserve. Photo courtesy DLNR.

More than half of Hawaii's forests have been lost, while the rest are threatened by expanding populations of invasive species. Hawaii's forests play an essential role in providing Hawaii's drinking water. To learn more, catch "The Rain Follows The Forest," a documentary featuring Jason Scott Lee.

Some of the state's funded projects include:

>> Fences to protect more than 1,000 acres of forest from feral pigs in the Koolaus.

>> On the Big Island, a project to plant native mamane trees at a 5,200-acre restoration site on the northern slope of Mauna Kea. Nearly 50,000 trees have already been planted in the last three years.

>> Comprehensive management, invasive species control and protective barriers in the remote forests of Kohala and Kau on the Big Island.

>> Protect more than 9,000 acres on the north, east and south slopes of Haleakala on Maui.

>> Protect more than 3,000 acres of forest on Kauai, which are threatened by invasive ginger, Australian tree ferns, feral pigs and goats.

A Lobelia at Hono O Na Pali on Kauai. Photo courtesy DLNR.

A Lobelia at Hono O Na Pali natural area reserve on Kauai. Photo courtesy DLNR.

Without protection, many of Hawaii's forests, which provide drinking water, would be lost. Hono O Na Pali project on Kauai. Photo courtesy DLNR.

Without protection, many of Hawaii's forests, which provide drinking water, would be lost. Hono O Na Pali natural area reserve on Kauai. Photo courtesy DLNR.

Posted in Conservation, Watersheds | Comments Off on More funding for Hawaii's forests

Volunteering for the aina

By
June 19th, 2013



HECO volunteers participate in a four-hour workday helping to plant a rare type of banana tree in He‘eia for the non-profit group Papahana Kuaola. Photo courtesy HECO.

HECO volunteers participate in a four-hour workday helping to plant a rare type of banana tree in He‘eia for the non-profit group Papahana Kuaola. Photo courtesy HECO.

How about  a day working on the aina?

That's what some 200 volunteers from Hawaiian Electric Co. did earlier this month at Papahana Kuaola on their 70-acre kauhale in He‘eia on the windward side.

Papahana Kuaola is a 501(c)(3) non-profit whose mission is to create quality educational programs focused on environmental restoration and economic sustainability "fully integrated with Hawaiian knowledge in order to exemplify a lifestyle respectful of kanaka, aina and akua."

HECO volunteers spent the four-hour workday helping to plant banana trees, remove weeds, gather and debark guava wood for construction of  building frames plus bundle pili grass for roof thatching. They also worked in the lo‘i, or taro patch.

"More importantly than what we are doing here physically on the land, is what all the people who participate get out of it," said Matt Schirman, program director for Papahana Kualoa. "Getting people outdoors in the environment in a place that makes them feel relaxed and welcome — it has a really good effect o people. It's a kind of feeling that I think more and more people need today especially with this fast-paced lifestyle that we have."

The newly constructed gardens by HECO volunteers will help extremely rare types of banana trees thrive, and the guava and pil grass bundles will become part of two "hale pili" where the community will be able to gather.

To learn more about volunteering, visit www.papahanakualoa.com.

Posted in Conservation, Volunteer | Comments Off on Volunteering for the aina

Expedition to NWHI and Johnston Atoll

By
June 18th, 2013



Researcher Rob Whitton in a school of Jacks at Johnston Atoll. Scientists just returned last week for an expedition to the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands and Johnston Atoll, where they are documenting the diversity of life in deeper coral reefs. This is important, according to chief scientist Randall Kosaki, due to the threats of climate change.

Researcher Rob Whitton in a school of Jacks at Johnston Atoll. Scientists just returned last week for an expedition to the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands and Johnston Atoll, where they are documenting the diversity of life in deeper coral reefs. This is important, according to chief scientist Randall Kosaki, due to the threats of climate change. Photo courtesy of NOAA.

Members of a research expedition to Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument came back last week with specimens of new species of deep-water algae from the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands and the first recorded specimens of black coral from Johnston Atoll.

After 26 days of research dives to deep coral reefs 200 feet, they came back with photos of over 20 species of fish never before recorded from the NWHI and 15 species of fishes never before recorded at Johnston Atoll.

"This represents a significant increase in the known biodiversity of Hawaiian coral reefs, and provides insights into how Johnston Atoll contributes to the diversity of our reefs in Hawaii," said Randall Kosaki, NOAA's Deputy Superintendent of Papahanaumokuakea and chief scientist of the expedition. "It also underscores how poorly explored the deeper portions of coral reefs are, and how much remains to be discovered. This documentation of diversity is timely and critical, because climate change threatens much of this diversity before we even know it exists."

The research team visited Nihoa, Mokumanamana, French Frigate Shoals and Laysan Island at Papahanaumokuakea and then Johnson Atoll National Wildlife Refuge in the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument (about 860 miles west of Honolulu). Johnston Atoll is often regarded as a key "stepping stone" for a number of central and south Pacific marine species to colonize the NWHI.

Old growth coral reef at Laysan Island. Photo courtesy of NOAA.

Old growth coral reef at Laysan Island. Photo courtesy of NOAA.

Scientists on this expedition:

>> Collected samples of fish, corals, other invertebrates and algae for population genetics analysis' surveys.

>> Surveyed deep coral reefs and associated fish communities

>> Searched for invasive alien species of coral and algae

>> Conducted archeological surveys of the Howland, an 1800s whaling ship that wrecked at Johnson Atoll.

Scientists from the Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology also conducted surveys of coral disease on the research cruise. Fortunately, the coral reefs at NWHI and Johnston Atoll exhibited low levels of coral diseases, according to research John Burns, and represent  healthy coral reef ecosystems — "an important baseline to have as we enter an era of accelerated climate change."

A Moorish idol at Laysan in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. Photo courtesy of NOAA.

A Moorish idol at Laysan in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. Photo courtesy of NOAA.

The scientific team included researchers from NOAA, the University of Hawaii, the Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology and Bishop Museum.

Table coral at Johnston Lagoon. Photo courtesy of NOAA.

Table coral at Johnston Lagoon. Photo courtesy of NOAA.

Video:

Posted in Conservation | Comments Off on Expedition to NWHI and Johnston Atoll

From Styrofoam to surfboards

By
June 17th, 2013



Volunteers from Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii helped sort out polystyrene pieces from a dumpster to be recycled into surfboard blanks. Photo courtesy Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii.

Volunteers from Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii helped sort out polystyrene pieces from a dumpster to be recycled into surfboard blanks. Photo courtesy Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii.

Check this out!

Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii undertook a project diverting Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) foam otherwise known as Styrofoam (the common brand name ) from trash dumpsters at Turtle Bay Resort earlier this month. Instead of the landfill, these pieces of EPS were sent to Pacific Allied Products to recycle into surfboard blanks.

It's actually part of the "Waste to Waves" project by Sustainable Surf which is gaining momentum in California, which has a number of surf shops that offer EPS dropoff sites.

You'll find a lot of this EPS in packaging say, when you buy electronic equipment.

The non-profit group hopes to undertake the Styrofoam-diverting projects again, which turned into a weekend of camping in exchange for beach cleaning and trash sorting. Check out their video. If you're interested in volunteering for the next "Waste to Waves" project, contact info@sustainablecoastlineshawaii.org.

Posted in Green events, recycling | Comments Off on From Styrofoam to surfboards

Kailua Eco Nights tonight

By
June 13th, 2013



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There will be pupus, music by Paul Izak, crafts for kids and a few presentations on conservation at Kailua Eco Nights from 5:45 to 8 p.m. tonight at Kailua Sailboards & Kayaks, 130 Kailua Rd.

The "Kailua Eco Group," made up of Ocean Devotion Hawaii, Plastic Free Hawaii, Kokua Hawaii Foundation and Kailua Sailbords & Kayaks will offer Kailua Eco Nights, which are free and open to the public, about once a month. Last month, there was a screening of "Ocean Frontiers."

Tonight, Amarisa Marie, wildlie biologist in charge of Kailua's offshore islands (Mokulua and Popoi‘a) will be the guest speaker, along with Matthew Saunder, field manager from Kure Atoll. The Hawaii Ecotourism Association will present its award for 2013 Ecotour Guide of the Year.

For more info, contact plasticfree@kokuahawaiifoundation.org.

Posted in Green events, Marine Life | Comments Off on Kailua Eco Nights tonight

Beach cleanup & rainwater garden

By
June 13th, 2013



Surfrider Foundation and Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii partner up for a cleanup at Diamond Head Beach Park this Saturday. Visit www.surfrider.org/oahu for more info. Photo from SOEST.

Surfrider Foundation and Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii partner up for a cleanup at Diamond Head Beach Park this Saturday. Visit www.surfrider.org/oahu for more info. Photo from SOEST.

Join the Surfrider Foundation and Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii for a beach cleanup at Diamond Head Beach in celebration of International Surfing Day on Saturday, June 15.

Meeting time is 9:30 a.m. at Diamond Head Beach Park, where you'll warm up with some Karma Yoga by Green Girl Yoga and then get down to the business of cleaning up the beach from 10 a.m. to noon, followed by lunch (which will be provided). BAMP is also giving away tickets to its concert with Damian Marley to a few lucky beach cleaners.

Expect to pick up the usual litter (who knows what you'll find?), along with cigarette butts and microplastics (which aren't as readily visible but damaging to the health of the ocean).

Now, if gardening is more your thing, then join the Surfrider Foundation and Malama Maunalua in its rain garden installation work day, also Saturday (June 15) at Kuliouou Beach Park. Rain gardens help reduce the amount of pollution entering Maunalua Bay by capturing rainwater, which is infiltrated into the soil, where plants help remove the pollutants naturally. Sign-in begins at 8:30 a.m. and work begins at 9 a.m. For details and to register, contact Sarah at 395-5050 or sarah@malamamaunalua.org.

Malama Maunalua will also hold a grand opening of its Healthy Watershed demonstration project at Koko Marina Center from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, June 22. The public is welcome to attend to learn more about how to keep sediment and pollution from getting into the Bay.

Posted in Green events, Ocean | Comments Off on Beach cleanup & rainwater garden

The 2013 EWG sunscreen guide is out

By
June 12th, 2013



The babo botanical clear zinc sport stick, SPF 30, got a No. 1 score on Environmental Working Group's 2013 sunscreen guide. Courtesy image.

The babo botanical clear zinc sport stick, SPF 30, got a No. 1 score on Environmental Working Group's 2013 sunscreen guide. Courtesy image.

Every year, the Environmental Working Group in Washington D.C. puts out a comprehensive sunscreen guide based on safety and effectiveness.

Some of the top beach & sports sunscreens meeting EWG's criteria this year include Babo Botanicals Clear Zinc Sport Stick, Badger Aloe Vera Sunscreen, California Baby Super Sensitive Broad Spectrum Sunscreen, Celadon Road Sunscreen, Coola Suncare (baby moisturizer and UV body moisturizer sunscreens), Jersey Kids All Natural All Green Sunscreen, Seventh Generation Wee Generation Baby Sunscreen, thinkSport thinkbaby Sunscreen, UV Natural Baby and UV Natural Sport Suncreens. These particular brands and products were all scored a No. 1, but even mainstream brands like Coppertone Kids Pure & Simple and CVS Baby Sun Lotion got a score of No. 2, with good UVA protection and moderate health concerns.

EWG rates a total of about 1,400 SPF-rated sunscreens based on published scientific literature to supplement incomplete data available from companies and the government. Ratings indicate the efficacy of the product and relative level of concern posed by exposure to ingredients in the product.

Generally, EWG recommends mineral-based sunscreens with titanium dioxide and zinc oxide which protect against both UVA and UVB rays. EWG does not recommend using spray sunscreens (due to inhalation risks), or sunscreens that contain oxybenzone (which acts like estrogen), retinyl palmitate or combined sunscreens and bug repellents. On sun-exposed skin, EWG has concerns that Retinyl Palmitate, a form of vitamin A, may speed development of skin tumors and lesions (even though the FDA has yet to rule on the safety of retinyl palmitate in skin care products).

Also, a higher SPF is not necessarily better and can actually be misleading. A sunscreen with a super-high SPF also may protect against sunburn but leave your skin exposed to damaging UVA rays.

Look closely at the list of ingredients in your sunscreen. Sunglasses, hats and shade still offer some of the the best protection from the sun this summer.

Posted in Green health | Comments Off on The 2013 EWG sunscreen guide is out

A school for sustainability

By
June 10th, 2013



SEEQS has an impressive roster of founding board members and advisors, L to R, Mark Hines, Irene Kelly, Chuck Giuli, school leader Buffy Cushman-Patz, Don Ingram, Carole Ota, Deborah Faber, Rachel Orange. Courtesy photo.

SEEQS has an impressive roster of founding board members and advisors, L to R, Mark Hines, Irene Kelly, Chuck Giuli, school leader Buffy Cushman-Patz, Don Ingram, Carole Ota, Deborah Faber, Rachel Orange. Courtesy photo.

There's a new option for parents who plan to send their kids to public charter school — the School for Examining Essential Questions of Sustainability. Or simply, SEEQS (pronounced "seeks").

Enrollment is now open for 6th and 7th graders in the upcoming school year, 2013-2014. The campus is located at Cottage Five of the Salvation Army's facilities at 845 22nd Ave. in Kaimuki.

Founder and school leader Buffy Cushman-Patz has a vision of a learning environment in which students and teachers have a significant voice in shaping the learning experiences. It's a school where learning experiences will be grounded in real life, by bringing real life into the classroom and making real life – and the natural environment — part of the classroom.

A quick glance at the student schedule shows how different it is. The day starts at 8:30 a.m. with a physical activity, followed by core classes like math, science, history and English. There's time blocked out for artistic expressions, community building and afternoons dedicated to exploring an essential question of sustainability involving all disciplines.

Cushman-Patz says a whole week will be dedicated to field trips. If the question students are examining, for example, is "How does water sustain us?" that might involve treks to the Board of Water Supply, the Reppun Farm (to learn about its history and legal battles over access to streams) and UH's School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology.

The best way to get students — or anyone — to understand the importance of sustainability is not to preach, but to help them reach that conclusion themselves. This makes a lot of sense.

Cushman-Patz, a former math and science teacher at La Pietra, holds a master's of education from Harvard Graduate School of Education's School Leadership Program, and a master's in geology from the University of Hawaii at Manoa. It was while completing an Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellowship at the National Science Foundation's Office of Legislative and Public Affairs that she was inspired to start SEEQS.

The campus is in a quiet Kaimuki neighborhood with plenty of space shaded by trees. Inside, Cushman-Patz says walls will be opened up and designed for sustainability as much as possible. Outside, there's plenty of room for gardens and an aquaponics system, at the initiative of students, of course.

I think the best part of it all is that it's tuition-free (though a $100 supply fee is requested).

SEEQS is running a rockethub campaign to raise startup funds until 1 p.m. today. If you don't make that deadline, you can still help out the school by donating your time or funds.

SEEQS will be at Cottage Five at 845 22nd Avenue. Plenty of room for school gardens and maybe an aquaponics system. Photo courtesy of Buffy Cushman-Patz.

SEEQS will be at Cottage Five at 845 22nd Avenue. There's plenty of room for school gardens and maybe an aquaponics system. Photo courtesy of Buffy Cushman-Patz.

Posted in Green schools | Comments Off on A school for sustainability

More solar options

By
June 5th, 2013



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More solar options are becoming available to Hawaii residents these days — either new companies coming online, new financing options or new offerings.

Here's a rundown on a few of the latest:

>> Check it out. RevoluSun is now offering residential clients the new SunPower X-Series Solar Panel which is supposed to deliver more energy and higher reliability than conventional solar panels. That means more power per panel. (They are said to produce 75 percent more energy per square foot over the first 25 years). Call 748-8888 to learn more.

>> New financing option. Kumu Kit has introduced its "Synergy Loan," which gives clients two years to recover federal and state solar tax credits. The financing plan requires as little as $0 down. Learn more at kumukit.com/synergy. Kumu Kit encourages you to own your solar PV system to reap all the financial benefits. Call 524-7336 for more information.

>> Solar home automationVivint Solar, the solar arm of a Utah-based home automation company, integrates solar PV with home automation and security services and currently has the top-ranking share of Hawaii's market. Vivint also has a cool graphic online to explain how solar PV panels work. Call 877-404-4129 to learn more.

>> Giving to Special OlympicsWaterhouse Solar is partnering with Special Olympics Hawaii this summer by offering to donate a matching fund of up to $100,000 until the end of July 31. For every residential solar PV system sold in Hawaii, Waterhouse Solar, a privately funded company, will donate $500 to Special Olympics Hawaii (the company has already committed $3,000). During the promotion, residents also get a $1,000 discount off the cost of their solar PV system.

Waterhouse Solar, which installed the solar PV system on Newtown Estates in Aiea, is offering a $500 contribution for every new residential PV system installed this summer. Courtesy photo.

Waterhouse Solar, which installed the solar PV system on Newtown Estates in Aiea, is offering a $500 contribution for every new residential PV system installed this summer. Courtesy photo.

As I drive around Oahu, it's heartening to see more solar arrays sprouting up on rooftops, meaning that we're generating more clean energy. Summer is a great time for solar power generation.

Posted in solar | Comments Off on More solar options

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