Archive for May, 2014

WEfficiency: Crowdfunding to help non-profits

By
May 30th, 2014



Crowdfunding is such the thing to do these days.

Now, with the Blue Planet Foundation's launch of WEfficiency, you can donate or loan money to a non-profit group, specifically with the intention of helping it become more energy-efficient.

It's a win-win because a $1 donation can turn into $4 in energy savings. A $10,000 lighting retrofit, for example, can save the non-profit up to $40,000 over its lifetime. The non-profit's investment in energy efficiency measures results in immediate energy savings.

You can opt to give the non-profit a loan (called a "loanation") and get your money back, or you can give an outright donation.

loanation

The first three non-profits that are giving WEfficiency a shot are YWCA Laniakea, Damien Memorial School and Hawaii Public Radio.

To boost the kick-off of WEfficiency, Hawaii Energy, a ratepayer-funded energy conservation program , is offering matching "loanations."

Gov. Neil Abercrombie joined Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell and the Blue Planet foundation board of directors in presenting the first "loanations" to representatives from the three non-profit groups last Thursday (May 22) to kick off the program.

In 2013, WEfficiecy, which was developed by Honolulu-based solutions agency Sudokrew, was formally recognized as a Clinton Global Initiative Commitment to Action.

To make a "loanation," visit www.wefficiency.org.

 

Posted in Blue Planet Foundation, Energy, Green non-profits, Hawaii Energy | Comments Off on WEfficiency: Crowdfunding to help non-profits

A tree for every dancer

By
May 28th, 2014



Merrie Monarch Festival director Auntie Luana Kawelu planting a koa tree at Hawaiian Legacy Hardwoods, Hamakua Coast, Big Island. Photo courtesy Hawaiian Legacy Hardwoods.

Merrie Monarch Festival director Auntie Luana Kawelu planting a koa tree at Hawaiian Legacy Hardwoods, Hamakua Coast, Big Island. Photo courtesy Hawaiian Legacy Hardwoods.

It's a beautiful concept. Plant a tree, honor someone.

Hawaiian Legacy Hardwoods, a certified B Corp Best for the Environment, announced in early May a new milestone — the planting of its 250,000th native koa tree on the slopes of Mauna Kea on the Big Island. Its goal is to plant 1.3 million trees as part of a reforestation initiative.

What would be more appropriate than to plant a koa tree for every dancer participating in the Merrie Monarch Festival? Hula, after all, is about a connection to nature, with mele celebrating the beauty of every isle, valley, mountain, forest, inlet, rain, breeze, fern and flower. KFVE initiated this legacy last April in a tribute to the Merrie Monarch's 50th year, sponsoring the planting of 555 koa trees in honor of every dancer at the festival last year.

This April, 580 legacy trees were planted, one for every dancer that competed.

KFVE General Manager John Fink says the plan is to sponsor every hula dancer participating in the festival in future years.

Pulelehua on Lehua[1]NathanYuen

In just four years, more than 650 acres of former pastureland have been reclaimed as native forest.

Besides koa, HLH is now offering the planting of other indigenous species of trees and understory including the ‘ohi‘a (see the beautiful lehua blossom, left, by nature photographer Nathan Yuen, hawaiianforest.com), mamane, naio, ko‘oko‘olau, kukaenene and both varieties of ‘iliahi (Hawaiian sandalwood).

"We are seeing the return of the koa forest and along with it, the endangered birds which historically occupied these lands — it's remarkable how fast it is happening," said CEO Jeff Dunster. What's more, this Legacy Forest is creating dozens of permanent green jobs, reducing the effects of global warming and most importantly, doing it in a way that honors the legacy of Hawaiian culture."

The forest's historic site was once the personal koa forest of King Kamehameha the Great, the first king of Hawaii, but was cleared nearly a century ago to make room for farming and ranching. But some of the old growth koa trees can still be found on site.

"The simple act of sponsoring a Legacy Tree, by countless individuals, has transformed this mountain," said Dunster. "Each tree has a story to tell. Each one was planted and sponsored as a living legacy to honor an individual, memorialize a loved one or to commemorate an event. This forest really belongs to them."

Sponsorship of a koa tree is $60, with $20 of it going to a non-profit group of your choice (Legacy has partnered with more than 100, from AccessSurf to Waimanalo Health Center). Also, $1 from every tree purchased goes to the Hawaiian Islands Land Trust. Sponsorship of a sandalwood tree is $100. You receive a certificate of ownership which gives you the GPS coordinates of your tree, according to its RFID tag, which you can find via Google Earth. The sponsored trees are never harvested.

To sponsor a tree, visit www.legacytrees.org or call 1-877-707-TREE.

Below, certificate I received for sponsoring a tree in honor of "Uncle George and Auntie Dottie" last year (out of my own pocket). Think I will sponsor one for my 3-year-old son, too (we planted a koa in our yard when he was born):

HLHcertificate

Posted in Conservation, Forest | Comments Off on A tree for every dancer

Empty the Tanks protest at Sea Life Park

By
May 27th, 2014



Eight-year-old protestors hold up signs Saturday (May 24) across from Sea Life Park for the international Empty the Tanks movement. Courtesy Empty the Tanks FB page.

Eight-year-old twins Tristan and Aidan Smith hold up signs Saturday (May 24) across from Sea Life Park for the international Empty the Tanks movement. Courtesy Empty the Tanks FB page.

Local protestors took part in an international Empty the Tanks event on Saturday, May 24, across the street from Sea Life Park to raise awareness over marine animals in captivity.

It was the second annual Empty the Tanks event, with this year's protest represented by organizations including the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, PETA, Ocean Defender Hawaii, Pangea Seed and Deep Ecology Dive Center.

EmptytheTanksThe movement is gaining momentum after the release of the documentary, "Blackfish," by Gabriela Cowperthwaite, which screened at Kahala Theatres last August and on CNN. It's amazing how this low-budget documentary has made an impact on people, prompting lawmakers in California to consider a bill banning Seaworld orca shows.

My first thought upon seeing the documentary, was, "Well, we don't have orcas in captivity in Hawaii." We have a multi-million-dollar tourism industry centered around observing Hawaiian humpback whales in the wild, with federal regulations in place to protect them. But we do have dolphins and pilot whales in captivity at Sea Life Park on Oahu. And dolphins at resorts for the popular DolphinQuest swim-with-dolphins programs that I've had friends and family rave about.

What makes that any different? I'm not so sure, really.

Before "Blackfish," another documentary (Academy Award winning) called "The Cove" came out in 2009, detailing the annual, bloody slaughter of dolphins in Taiji, Japan, where some are captured and sold to amusement parks. Former Flipper dolphin trainer Ric O'Barry is a convert, telling people not to support any of these programs. I think before "Blackfish," people tended to say, "Oh, it's those animal rights people" again. But now it's more mainstream. If anything, there's more awareness.

The thing is that people go to see dolphins and whales because they're curious about them, and from a distance, also, because they love animals. If these marine mammals can't go back into the wild and survive, though, where could they stay and how would that be funded? Philanthropical foundations?

Sea Shepherd crew member Deborah Bassett said in a press release: "I have been to the infamous killing cove in Taiji, Japan to oppose the brutal slaughter of dolphins that take place there annually. People need to make the connection between dolphin captivity and the slaughter, an issue that was highlighted in the Academy Award winning film 'The Cove.' The message we want to get across to both locals and tourists here in Hawaii is do not buy a ticket to these shows or support any establishments with captive whales or dolphins, including Sea Life Park. After all, nature has given us the great fortune of seeing these amazingly intelligent animals across our island chain; there is simply no justification for this type of enslavement here or anywhere on the planet in 2014."

Sea Life Park issued the following statement through their public relations firm:

"As a member of the Alliance of Marine Mammal Parks and Aquariums, we are dedicated to the highest standards of care for marine mammals in order to provide an enriching educational experience for our park guests. Our animals receive constant attention and affection, and the best food, shelter and veterinary care, including on-site professionals and world-renowned experts who are on retainer to the Park. None of our dolphins on display at Sea Life Park have been acquired through drive hunts. The majority of our dolphins were born in captivity through a responsible breeding program."

True, Sea Life Park, which has been around 50 years, does a lot of educational programs and has a green sea turtle breeding program which regularly releases baby turtles into the wild. I wrote about it once.  And once, a few years ago, I went to Sea Life Park as part of an Earth Day event after a beach cleanup.

But I think twice about it now.  What do you think about dolphins and whales in captivity?

Ocean trash: a people problem

By
May 21st, 2014



top-10-items

The tally from the Ocean Conservancy's International Coastal Cleanup is in, and no surprise that cigarette butts still top the list of the Top 10 items collected. Candy wrappers came in second, followed by plastic beverage bottles and plastic bottle caps.

Volunteers across the globe picked up more than 12 million pounds of trash during the 2013 International Coastal Cleanup in September , the most ever collected in the event's history, according to a report released today (May 21, 2014). The new total, according to the Ocean Conservancy, is an indicator of the tremendous amount of ocean trash found on shorelines, in the ocean and waterways around the globe.

The Conservancy, while celebrating the volunteer effort, is also using this occasion to make a worldwide appeal to find solutions to stopping the trash that ends up in the ocean at its many sources.

"Ocean trash truly is a global problem that affects human health and safety, endangers marine wildlife, and costs states and nations countless millions in wasted resources and lost revenue," said Andreas Merkl, Ocean Conservancy's president and CEO. "At its core, however, ocean trash is not an ocean problem; it is a people problem — perpetuated by the often unwitting practices that industry and people have adopted over time. But I am convinced we can solve it if we have the audacity to confront the problem head-on."

The full trash index is available online.

To put it in another perspective:

>> Trash collected by volunteers would fill roughly 38 Olympic size swimming pools, or weigh about the same as 823 male African elephants.

>> The amount of fishing line collected would go up and over Mt. Everest five times.

>> The number of bottle caps found would carpet three football fields, laid side by side.

>> There were enough items found to furnish an entire studio apartment, including an air conditioner, sink, fridge, stove,  microwave, washing machine, couch, tables and chairs, TV set, coffee table, rug, curtains and mattresses!

>> There were also most of the items needed for a wedding, as well as items necessary for caring for a baby. More unusual items included a plastic eyeball, 1904 typewriter, blonde wig and trampoline.

What you can do? Here are 10 Things You Can Do to help keep the seas trash-free:

10-things-you-can-do

Posted in beach cleanup, marine debris, Ocean | Comments Off on Ocean trash: a people problem

Congrats, monk seal artists

By
May 19th, 2014



 

Grade 12 winner. Art by Allysa Pirtle of Laie. Image courtesy Monk Seal Foundation.

Grade 12 winner. Art by Allysa Pirtle of Laie. Image courtesy Monk Seal Foundation.

Congratulations to the following winners of the Monk Seal Foundation's first annual 'Conservation through Art' contest. The foundation received nearly 200 entries from students in grades K through 12 across the state of Hawaii and as far as Conyers, Georgia.

The goal of the contest, held from March 27 to April 11, was to engage the younger generation in learning more about the Hawaiian monk seal and the importance of what conservation of the seal means to them and their environment.

Students were asked to portray the theme: 'The Hawaiian monk seal, a living treasure' and were welcome to submit works of art through painting, drawing, sculptures and collages. The judges, including Wyland, selected one winner from each grade and an overall 'Best in Show' winner.

Here's a sampling of some winners. To see all of them, visit www.monksealfoundation.org/winners.

Grade 7. By Leya Leliaert of Kapolei. Image courtesy Monk Seal Foundation.

Grade 7 winner: Leya Leliaert of Kapolei. Image courtesy Monk Seal Foundation.

 

Second-grader Chloe Zentkovich's drawing was voted Best in Show. Image courtesy Monk Seal Foundation.

Second-grader Chloe Zentkovich's drawing was voted Best in Show. Image courtesy Monk Seal Foundation.

Grade 6 winner by Aidyn Huh of Kapolei. Image courtesy Monk Seal Foundation.

Grade 6 winner: Aidyn Huh of Kapolei. Image courtesy Monk Seal Foundation.

 

Grade 5 finalist by Jaca Buddenbaum of Conyers, Georgia. Image courtesy Monk Seal Foundation.

Grade 5 winner: Jaca Buddenbaum of Conyers, Georgia. Image courtesy Monk Seal Foundation.

Posted in Conservation, Hawaiian monk seals | Comments Off on Congrats, monk seal artists

Bike to Work Day

By
May 16th, 2014



Rachel Brians bikes to her job at Beach Bum Cafe downtown. It's easier, she says. Photo by Nina Wu.

Rachel Brians bikes to her job at Beach Bum Cafe downtown. It's easier, she says. Photo by Nina Wu.

Today is official Bike to Work Day in Honolulu. May is Bike Month and National Bike Month.

So if you can, hop on to your two wheels and give it a go!

"Biking to work is an efficient and fun way to get the exercise you need, without having to find extra time to work out," said Andy Clarke, president of the national bicyclists' organization, League of American Bicyclists. "And this year, with gasoline prices as high as they are, biking to work makes more sense than ever."

This morning, dozens of bikers stopped by the refresher station at Punchbowl and Civic Center Path to register and pick up refreshments, according to Hawaii Bicycling League membership and volunteer director Bobby Evans. In ridership, Hawaii ranks No. 12 among the top 70 largest cities in 2012, according to a report by The League of American Bicyclists.

Rachel Brians commutes by bike from upper Punchbowl to her job downtown at the Beach Bum Cafe on Bishop Street in downtown Honolulu. She says it's a lot quicker to bike it than to drive it. Plus, it's fun.

Coming up on Sunday, May 18: Bike to the Zoo Day. From 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., ride your bike to the Honolulu Zoo and get free admission. Free valet bike parking and free prizes will be available, too. Enter from the Monsarrat Avenue gate.

For additional bike month activities, visit hbl.org/bikemonth.

Carlos and Amy stop by Civic Center Path on Bike to Work Day. She bikes in style, in orange pumps. Photo by Nina Wu.

Carlos and Amy stop by Civic Center Path on Bike to Work Day. She bikes in style, in red-orange pumps. Photo by Nina Wu.

Hands Across the Sand Rally

By
May 15th, 2014



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World champion bodysurfer and lifeguard Mark Cunningham, left, with IV full of oil attached to his arm. Longboard champ Kelia Moniz, seated, right. Poster and campaign by Surfrider Foundation's Rafael Bergstrom.

The Surfrider Foundation, Sierra Club and Livable Communities Hawaii are hosting a Hands Across the Sand Rally from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Ala Moana Beach Park this Saturday (May 17).

Participants will join hands and form a long line in the sand to say "No" to dirty fossil fuels and "Yes" to clean, renewable energy. There will also be guest speakers, food and networking.

Hands Across the Sand, established four years ago after the disastrous BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, is held each year at beaches and coastal areas across the U.S. and the world. The goal, according to founder Dave Rauschkolb, is to "bring organizations and individuals together to send a powerful message to leaders that expanding oil drilling in our oceans is a dirty, dangerous endeavor."

"Every oil spill endangers the coastal tourism industries, ravages the sea life and seafood industry and impacts the lives of every person in its path for generations."

Participants in Honolulu hope to send a clear signal to government officials and the Hawaiian Electric Co. management that it's time to move beyond the state's costly dependence on imported oil and toward locally produced energy sources.

"Here in Hawaii, this issue is especially urgent because our utility is slowing the rate of solar adoption," said Caitlin Pomerantz of the Sierra Club in a press release. "Meanwhile, electricity rates are skyrocketing as we continue to get over 90 percent of our energy from imported fossil fuels. Increasing access to rooftop solar helps Hawaii achieve energy independence, lower energy costs and reduce our contribution to climate change; that's why 94 percent of Hawaii residents support it."

Participants at the rally will start a petition to hold HECO accountable for a deadline set by the Public Utilities Commission, which directs it to speed up the adoption of rooftop solar within the next 120 days.

To learn more about the Hands Across the Sand Rally, visit www.fb.com/events/461571387310260/

 

 

Monk seal count

By
May 14th, 2014



 

Kermit the Hawaiian monk seal enjoying the sunshine on his belly. Photo by Monk Seal Foundation volunteer Barbara Billand.

Kermit the Hawaiian monk seal enjoying the sunshine's warmth on his belly. Photo by Monk Seal Foundation volunteer Barbara Billand.

Love Hawaiian monk seals?

The Monk Seal Foundation is seeking volunteers statewide for the 14th semi-annual Main Hawaiian Islands Monk Seal Count from 9 a.m. to noon on Saturday, May 17 in honor of Endangered Species Day (May 16 2014).

Only about 1,100 Hawaiian monk seals, known as ilioholoikauaua (dog running in the rough seas in Hawaiian) remain in the isles today, with their population in decline as they face habitat loss, net entanglement and sometimes human harassment. They are a native species found only in Hawaii, and protected by the Marine Mammal Protection Act and Endangered Species Act. The state of Hawaii considers the intentional harm or killing of a seal a third-degree felony.

Spend a few hours looking for the endangered monk seal while cleaning up the shorelines. No experience is needed to volunteer.

To sign up or request more information, contact:

>>  Oahu: Dana Jones – 808.234.7325 or sealonthebeach@gmail.com

>>  Kauai: Mary Werthwine – 480.225.5604 or marywerthwine@gmail.com

>>  Molokai: Diane Pike – 808.658.0154 or dimonkseal@gmail.com

>>  Maui / LanaiNicole.davis@noaa.gov

>>  Hawaii Island: 808.987.0765

Posted in Endangered species, Hawaiian monk seals | Comments Off on Monk seal count

Conservation Connections

By
May 12th, 2014



conservationconnecti#419936

Aloha, conservation workers...

Conservation is now at your fingertips, with a one-stop-shop for anyone or any organizations interested in conservation.

With ConservationConnections.org, the Hawai‘i Conservation Alliance  offers a free, online community for people who want to get involved with preserving, protecting and restoring the precious ocean, land and cultural resources of Hawaii.

"This is the first web site of its kind, uniting a wealth of information for people to get plugged into conservation efforts," said Lihla Noori, executive director of HCA. "There's no better time than now for this web resource."

"Many people are aware of the need to protect and preserve Hawaii's natural beauty and resources, and they want to invest time, money and talent. However, they often don't  know where the places are located, let alone have information about these areas and how they can help. ConservationConnections.org will help bridge that gap."

Initially, ConservationConnectons.org will allow users to:

>> Search for conservation areas — or stewardship sites —  in Hawaii using name and location as search criteria, including Haleakala National Parks, Mokulua Wildlife Sanctuary and Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge. You can search Mauka (mountainside), Makai (oceanside) or Maoli (cultural).

>> Search for a type of conservation activity, including invasive species removal, planting natives, nature walks and education/community outreach. For instance, a search for "native plants" came up with an opportunity to be a weed warrior at Haleakala National Park.

>> Learn about upcoming volunteer opportunities.

>> Seek research opportunities and internships at various conservation organizations.

More than 60 organizations in Hawaii are featured on the website, with more on the way. Down the line, ConservationConnections.org will also allow users to make online donations to no-profits through a partnership with PayPal.

  conservationconnecti#419938

Posted in Conservation, Volunteer | Comments Off on Conservation Connections

Save your bottle caps

By
May 9th, 2014



 

The students at Mililani ‘Ike Elementary collected the most plastic bottle caps, winning a concert by singer and co-founder of the Kokua Hawai‘i Foundation, Jack Johnson.

The students at Mililani ‘Ike Elementary collected the most plastic bottle caps, winning a concert by singer and co-founder of the Kokua Hawai‘i Foundation, Jack Johnson. Mililani ‘Ike and Mililani Mauka Elementary schools tied for most caps collected, while St. Elizabeth School collected the most caps per capita. Honolulu Pulse photo.

Save your plastic bottle caps.

Kokua Hawai‘i Foundation's first Bottle Cap Collection Challenge netted 21,862 pounds of plastic bottle caps this year, and plans to hold another one in 2015. More than 50 schools, pre-school to high school, public, charter and private, participated in this  year's inaugural challenge. The caps collected have been sent to California to be recycled into new products, including Method's Ocean Plastic bottle and Preserve toothbrush and razor handles.

The contest, which ran from Feb. 1 through March 31, was an initiative to collect and recycle plastic bottle caps that are normally thrown away (they don't belong in the blue bin, in case you didn't know). And if you've been to a recycling redemption center, you find out that you need to remove them before feeding the reverse-vending machines.

Mililani Mauka and Mililani ‘Ike Elementary Schools tied for most caps collected overall, while St. Elizabeth School collected most caps per capita and won a special performance by Jack Johnson.

Congratulations to all of the following schools, who placed tops in the challenge (Top 13 get a waste-free classroom celebration kit with cloth napkins, Preserve cutlery, cups, plates and Method Ocean Plastic dish and hand soap):

1st Place Elementary - St. Elizabeth School - Most Caps Per Capita
2nd Place Elementary - Soto Academy
3rd Place Elementary - Kahala Elementary School

1st Place Middle/Intermediate School - SEEQS: The School for Examining Essential Questions of Sustainability
2nd Place Middle/Intermediate School - Waialua Intermediate School
3rd Place Middle/Intermediate School - Niu Valley Middle School

1st Place High School - King's Christian Academy
2nd Place High School - King Kekaulike High School
3rd Place High School - Aiea High School

1st Place Pre-School - Aiea Hongwanji Mission Academy
2nd Place Pre-School - Central Union Pre-School

Some inspiring stories and photos from the schools are available on the Kokua Hawai‘i Foundation blog page. Students and teachers alike shared their thoughts on the bottle cap challenge. Fifth grade students at Kahala Elementary volunteered to help unscrew caps at Honolulu Zoo. "Even recycling one bottle cap can make a difference," said one student at Niu Valley Middle School.

All proceeds from Jack Johnson's concert at Waikiki Shell on Friday, Aug. 1 during his "From Here to Now To You" Tour! will benefit the Kokua Hawai‘i Foundation. Tickets go on sale tomorrow, Saturday, May 10.

Great idea! Folks at Reynold's Recycling helped collect plastic bottle caps (which don't go in the reverse vending machines) to help schools participating in this year's Hawaii Bottle Cap Challenge. Photo by Nina Wu.

Great idea! Folks at Reynold's Recycling helped collect plastic bottle caps (which don't go in the reverse vending machines) to help schools participating in the Kokua Hawai‘i Foundation's Bottle Cap Challenge. Photo by Nina Wu.

Posted in Plastic, recycling | Comments Off on Save your bottle caps

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