Archive for April, 2014

Rally for clean energy

By
April 30th, 2014



Hundreds of students showed up for a clean energy rally on Earth Day (April 22). Courtesy photo.

Hundreds of students showed up for a clean energy rally on Earth Day (April 22). Courtesy photo.

It's great to see students taking an active part in their own future.

On Earth Day (April 22), more than 270 middle school, high school and university students converged at Hawaii State Capitol for a clean energy rally hosted by the Blue Planet Foundation.

They waved signs along Beretania Street, advocating for a clean energy future powered by local, renewable energy sources to end Hawaii's dependency on fossil fuels.

Blue Planet believes it is critical for Hawaii to embrace innovative clean energy strategies now more than ever. Time is running out, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which has issued three reports in the last seven months.

Students from throughout Oahu — both public and private  — including Farrington High School, Waialua High and Intermediate, Nanakuli High and Intermediate, Leilehua High School, Hawaii Pacific University, Hongwanji Mission School, ‘Iolani School and Le Jardin Academy, participated.

They collaborated with artists DrewToonz and Michal Abramovitz to create  signs saying, "We have the power" and "We are the future."

Rep. Chris Lee, Blue Planet founder Henk Rogers, and students at the Clean Energy Rally on April 22, 2014 (Earth Day). Courtesy photo.

Rep. Chris Lee, Blue Planet founder Henk Rogers, and students at the Clean Energy Rally on April 22, 2014 (Earth Day). Courtesy photo.

"These students will inherit the consequences of the choices we're making and the actions we're taking today," said Blue Planet Foundation CEO Jeff Mikulina. "They realize it's their future at stake, and they see the opportunity in switching from dirty energy to clean energy, from dependence to independence.

Among clean energy policies under consideration this session is Senate Bill 2934, a measure to establish a community solar program. The program would enable renters, residents living in condos and apartments, and homeowners on saturated circuits to invest in solar electricity located off their property. Similar programs have been enacted in 10 other states.

To learn more, visit blueplanetfoundation.org/communitysolar.

Students from Le Jardin Academy hold up signs saying, "We are the future." Courtesy photo.

Students from Le Jardin Academy hold up signs saying, "We are the future." Courtesy photo.

Posted in Earth Day, Energy, solar | Comments Off on Rally for clean energy

Mauka to Makai Environmental Expo

By
April 18th, 2014



mauka-to-makai_620

The seventh annual Mauka to Makai Environmental Expo takes place from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. tomorrow at Waikiki Aquarium.

The free family event offers a live rain garden demonstration by Hui o Ko‘olaupoko, surgeonfish feeding, educational booths and native Hawaiian plants giveaway by the Hawaiian Electric Co. Hui O Ko‘olaupoko will be unveiling a 150-square-foot rain garden designed to capture roof runoff from the Diamond Head side of the main building and infiltrate water into an area vegetated with natural plants.

This year's expo focuses on our impact on water sources — from mauka to makai.

Enjoy keiki arts and crafts, along with educational exhibits. Free parking and shuttles available at Waikiki Elementary School beginning at 8:45 a.m. Admission is free.

The unveiling of the Waikiki Aquarium's rain garden happens tomorrow (Saturday, April 19) at the Mauka to Makai Environmental Expo. Photo courtesy Hui o Ko‘olaupoko.

The unveiling of the Waikiki Aquarium's rain garden happens tomorrow (Saturday, April 19) at the Mauka to Makai Environmental Expo. Photo courtesy Hui o Ko‘olaupoko.

Also, there will be plenty of opportunities to get involved hands-on with the ‘aina Saturday at Sustainable Coastline Hawaii's Earth Day Cleanup*Mauka*Makai.

Meet at Kualoa Ranch at 8:30 a.m. to participate in beach cleanups from Kahuku Beach and golf course to Laie Beach. Community service projects include invasive species removal, fishpond restoration and native plantings with partners Papahana Kualoa, Kako‘o Oiwi, Hui o Ko‘olaupoko and Paepae o He‘eia.

Afterwards, enjoy a free festival from noon to 3 p.m. with food vendors, educational booths, keiki activities and prize giveaways. Enjoy live music from the Late Ones and Dread Ashanti. Free T-shirts for the first 1,000 volunteers provided by sponsors Hurley and Hawaiian Electric. All are welcome.

On Earth Day, April 22, join the Surfrider Foundation 9 a.m. at Maui County Council chambers to show your support for Bill 24, which would ban smoking products on Maui County beaches and parks. An Earth Day event will follow. Visit maui.surfrider.org to learn more. Or join the Blue Planet Foundation and Hawaii's youth at the state Capitol on Oahu from 10 a.m. to noon for a clean energy rally.

earthdayrally2014-webflyer

For a schedule of Earth Month events, click on this former blog post.

 

Posted in Earth Day, Gardens, Green events, Water | Comments Off on Mauka to Makai Environmental Expo

A plastic Easter

By
April 14th, 2014



When did Easter become so plastic? Typical store aisle of Easter goodies. Photo by Nina Wu.

When did Easter become so plastic? Typical store aisle of Easter goodies. Photo by Nina Wu.

While wandering the aisles of the store the other day, with shelves full of Easter goodies, it struck me that most of the offerings are now, plastic.

Plastic Easter egg shells, plastic cellophane filler grass, plastic-packaged chocolate Easter bunnies and candies, plastic toys and sometimes, even plastic Easter baskets. When did Easter become so plastic?

Sure, I can see how plastic egg shells come in handy for an Easter egg hunt. Unlike real, boiled eggs, they won't spoil.

But having watched "Bag It The Movie: Is Your Life Too Plastic?' and Plastic Paradise and seeing images of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, I know I'm also trying to get away from so many plastics.

Easter egg shells would, in my book, fall under the classification of single-use plastics because they're intended to be used once, then thrown away after the hunt is done. Sure, you can reuse them. But do you have a three-year-old? Chances are after he or she plays with the plastic eggs in the house, you're not going to find the matching halves.

So I'm not purchasing any plastic eggs this year. I know they'll still end up in the house — inevitably, my three-year-old will come home with some from school or community events. If you're vegan, well, then you'll be skipping the eggs.

As for the Easter grass, there are now options for the eco-conscious. Whole Foods Market sells this organic and compostable Easter basket grass by The Vermont Hay Co. Safeway sells "Eco-Pure" plastic grass which claims to be biodegradable. I say — just skip the grass. You don't really need it.

Here are some Easter greening suggestions:

>> Get a non-plastic Easter basket that you can use year-round, and not just for Easter. I opted for a handwoven, fair trade Alaffia mini market basket, woven from savannah grass by a women's cooperative in West Africa. Hopefully we'll use this basket again at farmer's market.

FTR-5-things-basket-3

>> Skip the Easter grass. I'm inclined to say just skip it  because you don't really  need it. If you feel like you must have filler, then try shredded newspaper that you can later recycle.

>> Go back to real eggs and natural dyes. How about going back to using real eggs (preferably local), with natural dyes made from beets, blueberries and green tea? Here are several all-natural Easter Egg dye recipes from "Better Homes & Gardens." You can find plenty of ideas online, including www.lovechildorganics.com/blog. See eggs below. Aren't they  beautiful?

Find the blog "How to Dye Easter Eggs Naturally: at www.lovechildorganics.com.blog

Find the blog "How to Dye Easter Eggs Naturally: at www.lovechildorganics.com/blog

Posted in Plastic | Comments Off on A plastic Easter

Earth Day 2014

By
April 13th, 2014



www.outlook.noaa.gov/earthday/

www.outlook.noaa.gov/earthday/

Earth Day is Tuesday, April 22, 2014.

Each year, Earth Day marks the anniversary of what many consider the birth of the modern environmental movement in 1970.

While 1970 was the "height of the hippie and flower-child culture in the United States," according to the Earth Day Network, 2014 is an era of social media, solar power and genetically modified organisms.

Global warming, or climate change, was, and is, still an issue.

Do a google search for "Earth day 1970" and  you find black-and-white images of demonstrations, rallies and a nationwide Environmental Teach-In over clean water and air. I like the ones portrayed in this  National Geographic story on the first Earth Day. It was definitely not a time of apathy.

Today, many start celebrating Earth Day early, with events scheduled throughout Earth Month. There are plenty of ways to learn more or get involved on Oahu, whether you want to start a worm compost, participate in a beach cleanup or recycle your electronics.

The University of Hawaii at Manoa hosts an all-day festival at its symbolic Sustainability Courtyard. Former U.S. vice president Al Gore delivers a free lecture at the Stan Sheriff Center on Tuesday, April 15, while environmental activist Bill McKibben speaks at the Art Auditorium April 24.

Check out one of the events below.

EARTH DAY EVENTS IN APRIL

April 13

Worm composting workshop. April 13, 6:30 p.m. and April 15, 9 a.m., Nuuanu Congregational Church, 2651 Pali Highway, Kosasa Hall. The church’s Ula Wai ministry offers two free community sessions on vermicomposting by Ralph Rhoads of Bellingham, Wash. Reservations required by emailing Velma, kimoment2@hawaiiantel.net or calling 595-3135 after 7 p.m..

April 15

Al Gore lecture, 7 p.m. (doors open at 5 p.m.), Tuesday, April 15. Stan Sherriff Center, University of Hawaii at Manoa. Former U.S. vice president Al Gore offers a free lecture on campus, sharing his insights on climate change and related topics and how they relate to Hawaii. Organized by the UH Sea Grant College Program of the School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology, joinly with the office of U.S. Senator Brian Schatz. Free, but tickets are required and can be picked up from the Stan Sherriff Center Ticket office, 956-4483.

April 16 

Mala Ho‘olaule‘a, 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Honolulu Community College, 874 Dillingham Blvd., behind the Children’s Center. Celebrate the harvest of The Garden of Niuhelewai, a taro patch, planted three years ago on campus. Hawaiian music, poi pounding. Call 845-9211.

April 19

Earth Day Ahupua‘a Cleanup, 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., Saturday, April 19. Kualoa Ranch. Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii is organizing a beach cleanup of several coastlines to celebrate Earth Day. Participants can also help rebuild fish ponds, do stream restoration work or native plantings. Check in at Kualoa Ranch at 8:30 a.m. to participate in cleanups at Kualoa Beach, Kalama Beach Park, Kahuku Beach and Laie Beach Park. You may also go directly to the beach location. Festival with lunch and live music follows at Kualoa Ranch from noon to 3 p.m. Partners include Hui o Ko‘olaupoko, Paepae o He‘eia and Papahana Kualoa. Visit www.fb.com/sustainablecoastlineshawaii for updates.

EarthDayCleanup

April 19 

Mauka to Makai Environmental Expo, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Waikiki Aquarium. Honolulu's Department of Environmental Services and state Department of Health Clean Water Branch present the seventh annual Mauka to Makai Environmental Expo. Visit educational booths, learn about the impact we make on water sources from Mauka to Makai, watch a live rain garden demonstration and take pictures with Apoha the oopu and friends. Free admission, prizes and native plant giveaways by the Hawaiian Electric Co. Free parking and shuttle from Waikiki Elementary School. Call 923-9741 or visit www.waikikiaquarium.org.

April 19

Kaka‘ako Community Cleanup, 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. The Shidler Group, Team Hawaii Going Green, Kaka‘ako Improvement Association and others are organizing the third annual Kaka‘ako Community Cleanup. Free validated parking at Waterfront Plaza, 500 Ala Moana Blvd. (entrance on Pohukaina St.). Cleaning, painting supplies and refreshments provided. Starts at Mother Waldron Park, ends at Waterfront Plaza. RSVP to Steve Sullivan, ssullivan@shidler.com or 532-4751. Visit www.fb.com/events/648168028565920 for event details.

April 22

Earth Day

10 a.m. to noon, Hawaii State Capitol. Community clean energy rally sponsored by the Blue Planet Foundation. Join Hawaii's youth as they rally a future beyond fossil fuels. Visit  www.fb.com/blueplanetfoundation for details and updates.

April 24

UH MANOA EARTH DAY FESTIVAL & CONCERT 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. April 24, Sustainability Courtyard, University of Hawaii at Manoa. 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Earth Day Festival: Visit more than 40 booths from student groups, local non-profits and green businesses. Plant sale, music, poetry, locally sourced food. 4 to 6 p.m. Celebratory reception. 6 to 7:30 p.m. Environmental activist Bill McKibben’s free lecture at the Art Auditorium. 7:30 p.m. to 11 p.m. Free concert by Mike Love, Sam Ites, Lucie Lynch and slam poet Jenna Robinson. Visit manoa.hawaii.edu/earthday or www.fb.com/uhmearthday.

earthday-v5

April 26

Eat Your Yard! Edible Landscaping Workshop. 10 to 12:30 p.m.. The Green House, 224 Pakohana St. Organic gardener and permaculturist Tia Silvasy will lead this class focusing on growing food instead of grass. Explore the types of plants brought to Hawaii by many ethnic groups such as cassava, banana, taro, sweet potato, lemongrass, sugarcane and coconut. Cuttings and starts will also be shared. Fee is $30. Advanced registration required. Call 524-8427 or visit www.thegreenhousehawaii.com.

April 26

Green Day eWaste Recycling, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Nu‘uanu Congregational Church, 2651 Pali Highway. Pacific Corporate Solutions is accepting desktop and laptop computers, LCD monitors, printers, fax machines, keyboards, mice, servers, routers, DVD players, VCRs, cell phones, stereo equipment, video cameras, cables and more for recycling. No TVs or alkaline batteries. Free. Call 488-8870 for more information.

Malama Pupukea-Waimea Marine Science Talk Story, 5-7 p.m., Sunset Beach Recreation Center, 59-540 Kamehameha Highway. Learn the current science about Pupukea-Waimea Marine Life Conservation District. Light pupus and refreshments will be provided. Contact Jenny Yagodich, jenny@pupukeawaimea.org or visit www.pupukeawaimea.org for more inforamtion.

Posted in beach cleanup, Composting, Earth Day | Comments Off on Earth Day 2014

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