To enter, snap and share a photo of Hawaii's EV scene, whether it's a Tesla cruising down H1 or a Nissan Leaf charing outside of Whole Foods Market at Kahala Mall. Post it on to Facebook (www.fb.co/voltacharging) with the hashtag #NationalPlugInDay. Participants will be entered in a drawing for dozens of prizes.
The grand prize is a premium auto detailing worth $200 for your car (EV or not).
Arden Penton, director of operations for Volta, which operates the Volta Network (offering free-to-use EV charging stations) says there are 1,783 EVs in Hawaii – more per capita than anywhere else in the U.S. On Oahu, a total of 1, 371 electric cars were sold on Oahu as of August 2013.
"We're thrilled Hawaii is charging ahead on the course to clean energy, and hope this contest highilights how Hawaii has embraced EVs."
On the Big Island, the Big Island EV Association is hosting EV talkstory sessions from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 28 at the Hilo Home Depot (corner of Makaala and Roalroad Ave.) and from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 29 at Kona Commons near Sports Authority. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more.
Enphase in Hawaii is offering one Hawaii-based non-profit a $25,000 solar PV system as part of its "Mahalo Hawaii Giveaway" contest this month. You have until Sept. 30 to vote for the non-profit you believe is the most deserving of winning.
Non-profits and schools were nominated via video online until Sunday, Sep. 15. The winner will be determined by popular vote.
Many of Hawaii's solar companies are using Enphase microinverters, which claims to generate power in low-light conditions and reduce the impact of module mismatch or shade. Among the solar companies that use Enphase or AlternateEnergy, American Electric, Haleakala Solar, Hawaii Island Solar , KumuKit and Vivint Solar.
Among the top contenders, so far (as of Wednesday, Sept. 18), are a local family (with daughter Eva, who has a spinal disorder) with 6,417 votes, La‘a Kea Farm , an organic farm on Maui for adults with special needs with 6,089 votes and Central Union Church, with 1,757 votes.
Vote for your favorite non-profit today (you can vote for more than one group, by the way). There are so many worthy organizations - maybe some solar companies will be inspired to offer a PV system for those that don't win? It's such a no-brainer for any non-profit on the isles for energy savings (not to mention clean energy).
The Landscape Industry Council of Hawaii's 2013 Lanscape Sustainability Awards recognize advocates of sustainability and landscape projects that are in harmony with the natural environment and improve public health outcomes.
It's a recognition of sustainability as everyone's business and the need to share sustainable innovations and techniques within the industry.
And the LICH is also issuing a call for entries.
Here are the award categories:
>> Sustainability Award
>> Native Plant Design Award — Residential, Government, Commercial
>> Native Plant Advocacy & Research
>> Sustainable Company Award
>> Plant Pono Invasive Species Advocacy Award
>> Water Conservation Award
>> Edible Landscape Award
>> Student Poster
Awards named after moon phases will be given at two levels – the La‘au Ku Kahi Award for Excellence (with one award in each category) and the Mohalu Honor Award (numerous awards may be given in each category). The submission deadline is Aug. 30, followed by notification of winners Sept. 22 and an awards ceremony at the LICH Conference Oct. 10.
The very first Miss Earth Hawaii beauty pageant is headed this way. Miss Earth Hawaii and Miss Earth USA are both being held Sept. 1 at Ala Moana Hotel. The search is on for a "beautiful" ambassador for the environment. The pageant's motto is "Beauties for a Cause."
Now I'll be the first to admit beauty pageants have never really been my cup of tea. I often thought of them as superficial and silly.
There's been a lot of greenwashing in the industry, too, with companies labeling their products as "natural" which really doesn't mean anything.
I know, I know, I've heard the jokes — especially from those who grew up in the "hippie" era. Is Miss Earth going to wear Birkenstocks, patchouli oil and dress in hemp (actually, in future years, they may try to wear gowns from recycled materials) or go au naturel? And most environmental organizations have not really embraced the idea of a beauty pageant for sustainability.
But I do know that the scholarships for beauty pageants have always been a motivating factor and that many little girls still look up to beauty queens with admiration. I also have respect for the United Nations Environment Programme, which Miss Earth will become a spokeswoman for.
So if beauty and sustainability can come together for the betterment of the earth, why not?
Miss Earth Hawaii USA 2012 Siria Ysabel Bojorquez seems like the real deal. Having come from a humble background, her mother and grandmother emphasized a lifestyle of "never let anything go to waste," she said in an interview. She aspired to be an environmental lawyer, with an environmental platform on upcycling.
If these beauty pageant contestants can raise awareness about the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, global warming, sea level rise (and speak articulately about them), plus encourage people to recycle, use less plastic, compost food waste, stop throwing cigarette butts on the beach or explain the importance of the eat local movement, then bring them here.
Let's make sure it's not all about glamorous appearances and empty talk, but real action, too.
At the Honolulu Zoo Society, Arne served as a wildlife educator and coordinated outreach programs for more than 7,000 children a year. A South Dakota native, Arne has conducted marine biology snorkeling tours in Australia as well as directed youth adventure camps in Japan. She's spent the past decade exploring the world to experience wildlife as well as to spread her conservation message.
She and fellow Zoo Society educator Charles Lee were among 12 finalists in the video contest back in May. Competition was pretty stiff as the finalists were whittled down to three. Besides Arne, the other finalists were Reggie Busse of Omaha, Neb. and Thiago Silva of El Paso, Texas. All three traveled to Omaha to participate in interviews with show producers, an on-camera screen test and other activities before the final selection was made.
"The Wild Kingdom Wild Guide process has been mind blowing," said Arne in a press release statement. "I've realized that so many of my life experiences have prepared me for the role of Wild Guide. I'm so grateful to everyone who helped me get to this point. I was made to teach people about wildlife and show how they can help protect the planet that we share. I'm ready!"
The webisodes will be a mini-episode version of the classic Wild Kingdom program, redefined for today's generation of viewers and broadcast online. A "My Wild Kingdom" app is also available. As a Wildlife Guide, Arne will interact with viewers through social media (@stephaniearne on Twitter) and personal appearances.
Let's hear it for Honolulu Zoo Society educators Stephanie Arne and Charles Lee, who are both finalists in a video contest to become the next "Wild Guide" for Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom. The winner gets $10,000 and hosts the award-winning wildlife TV show's new webisode series, premiering this fall on YouTube.
Lee and Arne are among 12 semi-finalists whittled down from 200 entrants. The public can vote for the top three finalists until May 23 at www.wildkingdom.com/nextwildguide.
In his video, Lee — animal lover, adventurer and educator — says "My lifelong goal is to help wildlife and help people around the world appreciate them and their natural habitats."
Action speaks louder than words, according to Lee. He leaps along Oahu's rocky shoreline, tags an iguana, catches a mongoose, rescues a sea turtle with a hook in its mouth and teaches the public about how Hawaiian monk seals need to be given space to sunbathe on the shoreline.
Arne is also full of action. She kayaks, jumps into the ocean from a boat, climbs along the shoreline and introduces us to ring-tailed lemurs and how they groom one another. She takes us to the Oahu rainforest to look for Jackson chameleons — she's a great educator, showing us how their eyes can move independently and how they communicate through color.
Looks like they have some stiff competition from around the nation. Good luck to both of them!
The contest, sponsored by Watermark Publishing and author Frances H. Kakugawa, was open to writers from kindergarten through 12th grade.
Two winners were selected from each grade division (K-5, 6-8, and 9-12). You can read their poems at blog.bookshawaii.net.
Poems were judged for creativity, poetic merit and how well they conveyed what makes the trees special to the students. In Kakugawa's book "Wordsworth! Stop the Bulldozer!" ($10.95) young mice campaign to save the trees in their community by writing poems that remind neighbors about the special qualities of the trees around them.
The six contest winners — Makayla Rose Molden, Eli Wolfe, Cindy Tsou, Emerson Goo, Sophie Corless and Zoe Edelman Brier — received copies of Wordsworth series books, a gardening tool kit and Koa Legacy Tree from the Hawaiian Legacy Reforestation Initiative, donated by Hawaiian Legacy Hardwoods.
Here's a sample of the winning poetry.
Eli Wolfe, 5, from University Laboratory School, loves to climb banyan trees and write poetry.
Eli Wolfe, 5, University Laboratory School
I like to climb the
I can climb to
You should try it too
It is so fun.
Makayla Rose Molden, 6, Mauka Lani Elementary
The Mountain Apple tree is yummy to me.
The fruit is up so high to knock it down is a game I try.
A visual example of the many everyday plastic containers, No. 1 and No. 2, that can be recycled in Hawaii. Photo courtesy of Recycle Hawa‘i.
This coming Thursday, Nov. 15, is America Recycles Day — a nationally recognized day dedicated to encouraging Americans to embrace more of the everyday actions that lead to a sustainable lifestyle.
So it's a day to be conscious of what can be recycled instead of tossed into the trash can. I see a lot of items — SOLO beverage cups for instance (Which are No. 1), cardboard pizza boxes, and laundry detergent and shampoo bottles that end up in the trash when they could go in the blue bin for recycling.
Recycle Hawai‘i on Hawaii island is working in partnership with Keep the Hawaiian Islands Beautiful and all its affiliates to host events throughout the islands. The following is a brief list of those events:
Thursday, Nov. 15
>> America Recycles Day Concert. Recycle Hawai‘i sponsors the America Recycles Day Concert for invited schools from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at Palace Theater in Hilo.
>> Zero Waste Cafeteria Day. Today, schools in Hawaii learn about the waste that can be diverted from the landfill and how to eat healthy. Visit www.recyclehawaii.org to find out more.
>>Recycle-Bowl Competition. Schools may participate in this national competition, in which schools receive recognition for their recycling efforts. State champions receive $1,000 as a prize. The national winner receives $2,500.
>> Take a tour. See first-hand how several green businesses on Oahu take the responsibility of recycling seriously through the city and county of Honolulu's "Tour de Trash" from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Start and finish at the Kahala Hotel & Resort. You'll also visit Whole Foods Market, Gyotaku Japanese Restaurant and the Hard Rock Cafe in Waikiki. Call 768-3200 to register or visit opala.org for more information.
Damon, 7, is a nature lover and Boy Scout who became fascinated by the solar photovoltaic system on the Omidyar K-1 Neighborhood's rooftop. He convinced his parents, Christine and Garrett, that they, too, should install a PV system on the family barn and home in Maunawili.
They did — and the result is a monthly electric bill of about $16 per month, compared to $450 a month.
Damon picked up HECO's Energy Detective Guide during a nature study program at Punahou and went to work around his home, capturing energy phantoms and bandits. For his efforts, Damon wins an Energy Conservation Kit which he plans to share with his fellow "wolf scouts."
Oftentimes, it takes someone in second grade to point out to us what we should be doing. Have you heard your kids say things like: "You should compost that, mom" and "Shouldn't that be recycled?"
Damon also enjoys baseball, jiu-jitsu, tennis, swimming, playing the ukulele and has planted an organic garden. He plans to become a paleontologist or veterinarian one day.
Claire Flynt, last year's best overall winner of "One Foot at a Time" - Photo from raptober.org/images.
It's Raptoberfest time.
That's the Rise Above Plastics version of Oktoberfest. The Surfrider Foundation kicked off the second annual "Raptober" celebration earlier last week - it's a month-long effort to educate and inspire the public to eliminate plastic waste from our oceans.
"Each year millions of seabirds, fish and marine mammals die due to ingestion of, or entanglement in plastic," said Bill Hickman, Surfrider Foundation's Rise Above Plastic Program Coordinator. "By dedicating the entire month of October toward educating the public on the effects of marine plastics, we hope to jump start their desire to reduce their own personal plastic footprints and the amount of litter reaching our seas."
Some simple things you can do (as illustrated by Raptoberfest cartoons) include:
>> If you see a friend drinking out of a plastic water bottle, encourage them to switch to a reusable water bottle.
>> If you see a a friend using a single-use plastic bag, offer them a reusable bag.
>> During the week of Oct. 15, join or renew your membership to the Surfrider Foundation for a discount of $30 and get a wallet or pocketbook handmade from upcycled plastic bags collected from Bali beaches.
Read more at "10 Ways" to reduce your plastic footprint.
Participate in the "One Foot at a Time" plastic cleanup challenge again. Here's how it works: Participants collect one square foot of trash from their beach or community, then use the material to create a unique mosaic sculpture using one of five downloadable templates on the Foundation's Raptober event website.
The Foundation will judge photo submissions of the sculptures. Winners get cool surfgear, including a surfboard, from Rusty.