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THE POLITICS OF ENERGY

APR/MAY/JUN 2016

Vol. 8 #2

greenmagazinehawaii.com

A CULTURE OF WASTE


KumuKit™2.0—New Version. New Vision. PV GENERATION

COLLECTIVE CLEAN ENERGY RESOURCE

YOUR ENERGY DASHBOARD

HOME LOAD MONITORING

ADAPTABLE GRID-WISE SOLUTION

ENERGY TIME OF USE

EMERGENCY BACKUP SCALABLE SMART STORAGE

Smart Energy Management Welcome to the way forward—KumuKit™2.0 with Smart Energy Management now has the ability to leverage a PV system’s production to your advantage by automatically optimizing energy generation, usage and export. Simple and automated control of your energy means you can take advantage of all utility and grid support benefits and adapt to changing solar energy policy. Modular in design, and scalable, optional Smart Storage increases your PV system’s effectiveness by allowing both smart energy export or non-export/self consumption between specific times each day. Additional benefits include emergency backup for important loads such as lighting, medical equipment and refrigeration when needed. Get connected. Join Hawaii’s clean-energy KumuHui.

kumukit.com 808-524-7336 Hawaii Energy Connection LLC | Contractor #C31046


Advanced home energy storage is here, just in time! “What’s most exciting is this solution—a renewable resource that can be added today to achieve near-term state energy goals while maintaining flexibility to achieve 100 percent renewables in the future,” says Hawaii Energy Connection managing partner Chris DeBone. Hawaii Energy Connection is well known for its KumuKit™ PV systems. The company debuted its brand-new home energy battery storage system, the KumuKit™ Powerblocks, at the recent BIA Home Building and Remodeling Show at the Blaisdell Exhibition Hall, where it was well received by the hundreds of attendees who stopped by the booths to inquire about home battery storage. “As a matter of fact, we already began taking orders at the show,” DeBone says. The KumuKit™ Powerblocks is a battery system that connects to new or existing KumuKit™ PV systems to provide electricity at night or if the power goes out. It can also be connected to any existing PV system. The system automatically stores excess solar energy produced during the day and puts it back into the home during times of peak energy use—

when people come home from work, cook dinner, take showers and watch TV. “With over 7,000 KumuKit™ PV systems already installed across the islands, our customers make up one of the largest distributed clean energy resources in Hawai‘i,” DeBone says. “We know about the new state energy policies better than anybody, and we have the tools to help you navigate through the process. We’ll help you do your part in meeting the renewable energy goal.” “Customers want to go with us because we have new technology and we’re leaders in this era of energy storage,” DeBone says. “There’s no hassle and no commitment— during the site inspection, one of our certified PV specialists will come to your house and properly ‘right-size’ your system to ensure you aren’t going to get more PV panels than you actually need. If it makes sense, then we move forward.” If you are interested in installing the KumuKit™ Powerblocks, sign up for a free site inspection at www.kumukit.com/storage or call Hawaii Energy Connection at 524-7336.

Battery Storage for PV NOW!

Your Power. Your Way.

Hawaii Energy Connection | Contractor #C31046

kumukit.com/storage 808-524-7336

Kelli Shiroma contributed to this article.

HAWAII ENERGY CONNECTION LLC 99-1350 Koaha Place, Aiea, HI 96701

808.524.7336 hawaiienergyconnection.com

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A FAMILY FOREST ONE FAMILY’S VISIT TO HAWAI‘I ISLAND GROWS INTO A MAJOR REFORESTATION EFFORT WITH THE PLANTING OF A 1,000-LEGACY-TREE FOREST On a recent visit to Hawai‘i Island, Karla Jurvetson witnessed the wide-ranging effects of deforestation on the slopes of Mauna Kea, where native trees and understory have largely given way to invasive species and barren pastureland. A longtime supporter of environmental causes, Karla joined friends and family on a tour of the more than 1,000-acre Legacy Forest operated by the nonprofit Hawaiian Legacy Reforestation Initiative (HLRI). More than 300,000 endemic trees, such as koa, ‘öhi‘a, mämane, naio, ko‘oko‘olau, kükaenënë and ‘iliahi, have been planted for permanent reforestation.

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GRE E N M A G A Z I N E H AWA I I .C O M

After experiencing HLRI’s reforestation efforts firsthand, Karla dedicated a 1,000-tree Family Forest—the first of its kind—to The Nueva School, an independent K-12 school near her home in the San Francisco Bay Area. She serves as a volunteer board member at the school, which teaches environmental stewardship as part of its curriculum. “The koa trees grow so quickly. It is rewarding to see the different ages of the trees and how they mature because they are so perfectly adapted to that environment,” Karla says. “I hope to bring my children back to visit.”

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HLRI is working closely with more than 70 Legacy Partners to reach its goal of planting 1.3 million trees for permanent reforestation across the Hawaiian Islands. Everyone who plants a tree can track its growth, maintenance, genealogy and carbon sequestration data via a proprietary radiofrequency identification (RFID) technology and Google Earth. “Each individual or organization is able to see the quantifiable impact of their sponsorship in what has become the most intricately mapped forest in the world,” says Jeff Dunster, executive director of HLRI. “In the past six years, with support from thousands of individuals and organizations, we have reestablished an entire native ecosystem, transforming Mauna Kea pastureland back to the spectacular koa forest it once was.” Sponsors of Family Forests, which have 1,000 Legacy Trees or more, each receive a handcrafted museum-quality ukulele built entirely from endemic Hawaiian hardwoods—the only ukuleles of their kind in the world. Crafted by master artisans under the guidance of Master Luthier Joseph Souza at Kanile‘a ‘Ukulele, these ukuleles showcase the sustainable use of Hawaiian hardwoods. “I am inspired by the vision behind HLRI,” Karla says. “We are all connected, and it is important to return the land to how it used to be.” Through Legacy Tree sponsorships, HLRI has raised funds for over 330 nonprofit organizations worldwide. These trees are not only building forests, but the funds they generate are building communities as well. For more information, visit legacytrees.org.

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CONTENTS VOLUME 8 NUMBER 2 // APRIL/MAY/JUNE 2010

HEALTH _____________________________________ _____________________________________ ________

ENERGY _____________________________________ _____________________________________ ________

10 Voices

26 LEED

River Matsumoto explains unnecessary waste

11 Perspectives

Photo by Michelle M.

12 DIY

Build a raised garden bed

13 Organic

Two movies and a book that trace our food back to its source

DESIGN _____________________________________ _____________________________________ ________ 14 Efficiency

ADUs offer a sustainable housing solution

15 People

Bernice Fielding brings sustainable horticulture to landscape design

28

The Hyatt Regency Maui Resort and Spa is Hawai‘i’s first LEED EBOM Silver resort

28 100%

State legislators set an ambitious 100 percent renewable energy goal

34 Waste

Hawai‘i’s waste-to-energy plant is fueling our culture of waste

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NATURE _____________________________________ _____________________________________ ________

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41 Conservation

The IUCN World Conservation Congress convenes in Honolulu

44 Reforestation

The Hawaiian Legacy Reforestation Initiative is spawning the revival of endemic koa

16 Green Living

Renters rejoice—Kapolei Lofts is a green living community

40 Fauna

The ʻalalā, Hawai‘i’s native crow, will be reintroduced to Big Island forests this year

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NEXT LEVEL

REACHING NEW HEIGHTS, WITHOUT LEAVING THE GROUND. Sleek shape, lower athletic stance and new double-wishbone rear suspension 4.2-in. color dual Multi-Information Display, available color Head-Up Display and Toyota Safety Sense™ P 58 mpg* city EXPERIENCE THE ALL-NEW 2016 PRIUS LIFTBACK AT YOUR TOYOTA HAWAII DEALERS.

* 2016 EPA mpg estimate for Prius Two Eco. Actual mileage may vary. See fueleconomy.gov for details.

Powered by Toyota Hawaii


Published by Element Media, Inc. VOLUME 8 :: NUMBER 2 :: APRIL/MAY/JUNE 2016

Publishers Jamie & Naomi Giambrone

Contributing Photographers Aaron Bernard, Dave Miyamoto

Associate Publisher E. S. Adler

Administration Athena Keehu, Sally Shaner

Managing Editor Kevin Whitton, kevin@elementmediahi.com

Publishers’ Assistant Enjy El-Kadi

Copy Editor Lauren McNally

Advertising Inquiries E.S. Adler, esadler@elementmediahi.com

Art Director Keith Usher

Editorial Advisory Board Mike Fairall, Dr. Jack Kittinger, Jeff Mikulina, Nicole Milne

Contributing Writers Stuart H. Coleman, Lindsey Kesel, Molly Mamaril

Subscribe and read online at greenmagazinehawaii.com. Contact Element Media at 1088 Bishop Street, Suite 1130, Honolulu, HI 96813; 808.737.8711. Follow Green on facebook at facebook.com/GreenMagazineHawaii and on Twitter at @greenmaghawaii. Green Magazine Hawai‘i is a quarterly publication available through subscription, direct mail and bookstores throughout Hawai‘i. The views expressed within Green Magazine Hawai‘i do not necessarily reflect the opinions of management and ownership. Green Magazine Hawai‘i may not be reproduced without written permission from the publisher.

All our Beef are from Grass-fed Big Island Beef, and all our eggs are 100% locally farm-raised eggs.

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Industrial Metals Recycling Industry leader Lenox Metals keeps excess industrial and commercial scrap metals out of Hawai‘i’s landfills to the tune of 40 million pounds Lenox Metals has been helping protect Hawai‘i’s environment for the last 25 years by providing turnkey metal recycling services to minimize the amount of scrap metals sent to island landfills. Lenox continues to serve as a leader in the industry, employing safe operating practices to fulfill Hawai‘i’s scrap-metal recycling needs with integrity and innovation. Lenox Metals buys and sells in the current scrap market to provide the best return for its customers. Lenox consistently sets itself apart from the competition by creating comprehensive and innovative recycling programs for its suppliers and vendors. This allows for a greater percentage of recyclable scrap material and reduces the amount of scrap metals potentially directed to landfills. As one of Hawai‘i’s original “green” companies, Lenox Metals strives to increase awareness of recycling issues and the public’s role in addressing those issues. Active in public recycling programs as well as industry forums, Lenox Metals is committed to improving the well-being of its customers and community through public outreach and quality service.

ALAN HORNSTEIN, president and COO of

Lenox Metals, has more than 35 years of experience implementing customized recycling programs for a range of clients. Hornstein is innovative in finding safe, efficient and environmentally sound methods for processing and recycling commercial and industrial scrap metals. Lenox Metals diverts these metals to outlets around the world for reuse, using state-of-theart technology to turn one man’s trash into another man’s treasure.

METALS LENOX rnstein Alan Ho & COO nt Preside

Blvd. alaeloa 91-185 K 7 0 7 HI 96 Kapolei, 9 3 5 82-5 (808) 6 ls.com oxmeta n e .l w ww

To learn more about recycling your materials, please tune into our podcasts on iTunes or YouTube under Lenox Metals http://bit.ly/LENOXPodcast

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EDITOR'S NOTE

CULTURE OF RESOURCES Immortality is in our mastermind And we destroy everything we can find. Tomorrow, when the human clock stops And the world stops turning, We’ll be an index fossil buried in our own debris. —Greg Graffin, 1988

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A

s a kid, I would get so excited when the trash collector pulled up in front of our house. I would watch, mesmerized, as two grubby guys jumped off the back of the truck, grabbed our rubbish bins and hurled the contents into the back of the yellow monster. Engines revved, hydraulic arms hissed and the internal compactor squealed. A quick industrial honk from the driver and the truck was off to the next house. Funny thing is, my kids do the same thing, but they get a honk and a shaka. I never thought about where the trash went after it left the curb or how much rubbish I made in a day. I only knew that no matter how much trash my family produced, someone would be there twice a week to haul it away. I bet so many people, adults as well as children—also take this service for granted. Let’s do some quick math. There are about 1 million people on O‘ahu and the average island resident generates a little more than six pounds of trash a day—that’s over six million pounds of trash to pick up everyday, just on O‘ahu. If there was even a brief lapse in curbside trash collection (like when your neighborhood’s pickup day coincides with a major holiday and you have to horde all that trash for two weeks) a million island residents would have two alarming realities staring them in the

face. One, that we make a lot more trash than we think and two, that no matter our socio-economic background, race, religion or astrological sign, we are all responsible for our island’s waste. On a global scale, burning trash has long been a means to deal with waste. European countries began harnessing the energy created during the process to power their communities. Since 1990, the City & County of Honolulu has been burning trash to create energy at H-Power, a waste-to-energy facility at Barber’s Point. At face value, it makes sense to burn our trash for energy rather than send it straight to an already teeming landfill. Trash may seem like a renewable resource in our consumer-based society, but unlike the sun, wind and waves—true renewable resources—trash is just a byproduct of our current culture of overconsumption. To shift our thinking from a culture of waste to a culture of resources, we have to reduce the amount of waste we leave curbside by recycling, composting and reusing as much of it as possible. Being apocaloptimistic by nature, one side of my brain thinks this is too much to ask in a capitalistic society based on growth and consumption. But then I watch my kids recycle and reuse objects bound for the trash for art projects and playtime and I know there’s still hope for the human race. —Kevin Whitton


DOLPHINS AND YOU

It was almost 17 years ago that Richard Holland, owner and founder of Dolphins and You, arrived in Hawai‘i after serving in the U.S. Navy and residing for many years in Japan. Richard moved his family to the islands and encountered, amongst a myriad of other natural treasures, Hawai‘i's dolphins (“nai’a” in Hawaiian). Richard was immediately captivated by these highly intelligent “angels of the sea.” The more he learned about dolphins in the wild, the more he wanted to share his fascination with the rest of the world. Since launching his dolphin sail, swim and snorkeling tour company, Dolphins and You has become Hawai‘i’s oldest and most prestigious dolphin adventure. The company has served more than 200,000 guests from all over the world, guiding them along the western shoreline of O‘ahu to a remote bay where dolphins have gathered for thousands of years, offering a glimpse into their unique existence and idyllic natural habitat.

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Dolphins and You encourages ocean sustainability by dissuading guests from touching or feeding marine life during the tour. The company uses only eco-friendly products on board and has discontinued plastic water bottle use. The captain and crew keep a recycling bin on board and are always on opala (trash) patrol, both in the ocean and on the beaches. The dolphin sail, swim and snorkeling tour features a number of activities that celebrate Hawaiian history, mythology and cultural practices. These include ceremonial chants, ukulele and Hawaiian songs, hula lessons, a flower ceremony and henna Polynesian tattoo transfers. Dolphins and You also offers several other tours, including a custom sunset cocktail cruise and a health and wellness tour and retreat. Visit www.dolphinsandyou.com for more information, and choose Dolphins and You as your dolphin tour operator for an experience of a lifetime.

GREENMAGAZIN E HAWAII.COM

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HEALTH

| VOICES |

BY RIVER MATSUMOTO RIVER MATSUMOTO IS A 12-YEAR-OLD STUDENT AT SEEQS. THIS PROJECT IS A PART OF HIS EQS (ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS OF SUSTAINABILITY) CLASS. RIVER WAS INSPIRED TO DO THIS PROJECT BECAUSE HE WAS CURIOUS ABOUT WHERE WASTE GOES AND WHAT HAPPENS TO IT AFTER IT’S THROWN IN THE RUBBISH BIN.

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VOICES // PERSPECTIVES // DIY // ORGANIC

Unnecessary Waste

my daily lifestyle to reduce my waste. I had conducted an experiment the month before that recorded how much waste I made for a week and compared it to how much waste I created after I tried to reduce it. Everything I put in the trashcan counted as waste. What I reused and recycled, I didn’t count as waste. The first Waste is something we inevitably create in week, I created an average of 3.6 pounds of our everyday lives. But imagine if, instead of trash per day. The second week, when I tried to throwing away so many things, we kept the reduce my waste as much as possible, I created waste from being created in the first place. an average of about 2 pounds of trash per day. Reduce, reuse and recycle—the three There was a very large Rs—is a commonly difference in the amount of known saying. The step waste I made and I think I that people recognize River's Tips to Reduce Waste had potential to reduce my the most is “recycle.” 1. Use a reusable water bottle waste even more. Recycling sounds simple 2. Decline plastic straws The experiment changed to do because you can put 3. Reuse plastic, paper and fabric bags 4. Donate items you don’t use the way I think about waste. cardboard and plastic in I don’t use plastic straws, the blue recycle bin, but cups and wrappers as much really it takes fuel and as I did before and I use glass bottles more often time to ship the recyclables to a factory so they when drinking things. One very important step can be processed and shaped into new products. to reduce your waste is to put in effort. It’s easy Reducing waste means not creating waste in the first place by simply buying only what you need. to throw away a plastic bottle in the trashcan if we don’t want to walk to a recycle bin. My Reusing non-recyclables keeps more things out results show that being aware of your waste can of the trash. make a big difference if you put in the effort. In November of 2015, I stopped consuming many different kinds of plastic and changed

Awareness is the first step to changing bad habits


VOICES // PERSPECTIVES // DIY // ORGANIC

HEALTH

| PERSPECTIVES |

PHOTO BY

MICHELLE M. Michelle loves fresh fruit. Originally from New England, she’s taken countless road trips to farm stands in New Hampshire to reap the fall harvest. On a recent trip with friends to the Big Island, Michelle saw these colorful beauties at a roadside fruit stand and had to stop for a picture and a snack. “What a treat to find these gorgeous, locally grown treasures,” she says. “The baskets of produce reminded me of the home-grown baskets of apples and fall vegetables back home, with their hand-written signs that were just so homey and, somehow, honest.”

Beyond Possible The all-new 2016 Toyota Prius hits the road headed for the future of mobility

After almost 20 years of setting the standard for alternative energy vehicles, Prius is raising the bar yet again. Toyota has upgraded the Prius inside and out to deliver the complete package—emotional styling, smarter technology and impressive fuel economy—in a vehicle that’s more fun to drive than ever. Inspired by a runner in the starting blocks, the Prius’ new, sporty exterior houses a technologically advanced interior complemented by features that are functional, fun and have high visual impact. The Prius Two Eco model offers best-in-class fuel economy among vehicles without a plug, strengthening Toyota’s leadership in hybrid fuel efficiency. The 2016 Prius is the first global vehicle to implement Toyota’s New Global Architecture (TNGA), an integrated development program that standardizes vehicle platforms ADVERTORIAL

and components to reduce the amount of resources required for production. TNGA aims to greatly improve core vehicle performance and enhance product appeal while improving resource efficiency by more than 20 percent. The new rear double-wishbone suspension produces a better connection to the road, providing greater control and feedback in all driving conditions. TNGA also provides a more rigid structural framework to enhance occupant protection in the event of a collision. Now available at your Toyota Hawaii Dealers, the new Prius is also among the first U.S. models to offer Toyota Safety Sense, an advanced safety package anchored by automated pre-collision braking. For more information, go to ToyotaHawaii.com. GREENMAGAZINE HAWAII.COM

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HEALTH | DIY |

VOICES // PERSPECTIVES // DIY // ORGANIC

BUILD A RAISED GARDEN BED Crispy cucumber, juicy tomatoes and curly kale—home-grown vegetables make for quick salad fixings and are a great way to get kids excited about their greens. Put a little sweat equity into a small raised bed and you’ll be pleasantly surprised by how much that rectangle in your yard can produce. —Kevin Whitton

Get to work: 1. Designate a 4′x8′ area for the raised garden bed. Try to get the ground as level and vegetation free as possible.

2. Cut three of the 2x4s in half. Cut one of the other 2x4s into four 10 ½″ pieces to serve as corner supports.

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3. Form the perimeter of the box by propping two of the uncut 2x4s and two of the 4′ 2x4s on their sides. Make sure the 4′ boards are in between the 8′ boards.

4. Square one corner and pre-drill two holes through the outer face of the 8′ board into the end of the 4’ board. Drive screws into the holes and repeat at each corner.

5. Stand one 10 ½″ support in each corner, aligning the 4″ side with the 8′ board. Pre-drill two holes through the 4′ board into the support and one hole through the 8′ board into the support. Drive screws into the holes and repeat at each corner.

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6. Add a second and third level of 2x4s, repeating steps four and five.

7. Line the bottom of the raised bed with plastic, corrugated cardboard or old clothing to suppress weeds.

8. Fill between halfway and 2/3 full with organic soil or mulch.

9–12. Plant. Water. Grow. Eat.

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VOICES // PERSPECTIVES // DIY // ORGANIC

HEALTH

Hu¿ ku- Maol¿ Ola

| ORGANIC |

Transforming Land back to ‘Aina

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

The following works trace our food back to the source to show that a meal’s journey is just as important as its destination BY LAUREN MCNALLY

Specializing in Cultural and Ecological Landscapes • Hawaii’s largest selection of Native Hawaiian Plants & Endangered Species • Licensed and Insured • Erosion Control • Hydroseeding/Mulching • Xeriscaping • Landscape Maintenance

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nativehawaiianplants@gmail.com

808.235.6165

www.HawaiianNativePlants.com

Changing Season: On the Masumoto Family Farm (2015) David “Mas” Masumoto was on the verge of uprooting his family’s heirloom peach orchard when a change of heart anchored him in the worldwide organic

movement. Changing Season presents the history and philosophy behind the Masumoto farm’s longstanding organic practices and chronicles its latest transition as the torch is passed from father to daughter.

Epitaph for a Peach (1995) Mas Masumoto mourned the end of an era in his 1987 essay “Epitaph for a Peach.” His debut novel of the same name recounts a year in his subsequent journey to reconnect grower and consumer through organic farming practices.

LED LIGHTING INSTALLATIONS and other home efficiency upgrades available now for a limited time!

Ingredients Hawaii (2012) This Hawai‘i-specific follow-up to the featurelength documentary Ingredients (2009) highlights the cultural component unique to Hawai‘i’s local food movement, offering a glimpse into the integrated network of farmers, chefs and organizations fueling the movement at the grassroots level.

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EFFICIENCY // PEOPLE // GREEN LIVING

Rendering: Architects Hawaii

DESIGN

| EFFICIENCY |

HOUSING SOLUTION ADUs can be sustainable, too

Construction is all the rage these days. Unfortunately for many residents, luxury developments account for the lion’s share of new construction, while affordable housing is about as elusive as a vacant parking stall in Kaka‘ako. To increase housing opportunity for a greater segment of the population, Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell signed an ordinance in 2015 approving accessory dwelling units, or ADUs. The secondary dwellings—often referred to as “‘ohana units” in Hawai‘i—can be up to 400 square feet for lots that are 3,500 to 4,999 square feet and 800 square feet for lots 5,000 square feet or larger. An ADU can be built in a residential neighborhood and include full kitchen and bathroom. Following a model for green building called the Living Building 14

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Challenge, Architects Hawaii developed a design concept that sets a new benchmark for sustainable ADU building. As part of its pro bono work, Architects Hawaii partnered with Hawai‘i Appleseed Center for Law and Economic Justice to build an efficient and sustainable ADU in East O‘ahu. Using the criteria for Living Building Challenge certification as a guide, the ADU demonstration project addresses seven areas of sustainability in the built environment: water conservation, energy efficiency, safe and responsible material use, health and happiness, equity in the community, sense of place and inspirational beauty. This ADU is more than just a place to call home; it’s an affordable housing solution that also gives back to the community. —Kevin Whitton


EFFICIENCY // PEOPLE // GREEN LIVING

WWBD

(What would Bernice Do?) 3 tips from a master gardener

design

| PEOPLE |

RIGHT PLANT,

RIGHT PLACE Bernice Fielding brings sustainable horticulture to landscape design

Plant akia (wikstroemia uva-ursi)—it’s a native Hawaiian plant, requires less irrigation and has an amazing texture that blends beautifully with other native and noninvasive plants in the landscape. Always think, how would Mother Nature do this when gardening— nature functions in a

Bernice Fielding is a green-thumbed visionary. As owner and creative director of Bevolved Consulting, an O‘ahu-based horticultural consulting and landscape design business, Fielding spends morning walks with her dog imagining the yards she passes as sustainable Gardens of Eden. “I’m in love with horticulture,” Bernice says. “It is the perfect blend of art, design, science and the environment.” Established in 2012, Bevolved’s services are distinct because they are founded in sustainable horticulture, providing clients with design concepts and landscape management plans based on their capabilities and budgets. Low-maintenance plantings, water-wise landscapes, edible gardens with composting and native Hawaiian medicinal plant gardens are all par for the course. Fielding also designs in accordance with the natural environment, which translates to her practices of eliminating chemical pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, invasive plants and channeling rainwater. Her intent is to build stronger and healthier communities while ensuring that her triple bottom line—people, plants, profit—is met. Born in Singapore and raised around the world, Fielding spent much of her early adult life in Canada. She launched her first landscape design and maintenance company at age 22 after receiving a horticulture degree. Fielding later earned her International Arborist Certification and International Journeyman’s degree in horticulture while serving as the executive director of a fully sustainable botanical garden in Vancouver. Her passion for perpetuating native landscapes led her to a position designing and managing Ulu Garden at Lyon Arboretum, the University of Hawai‘i’s first educational, cultural and sustainable garden. —Molly Noelani Mamaril

closed circuit where there is no waste, so reuse logs and branches, compost all your kitchen scraps and green waste to improve your soil and use the compost tea as your fertilizer. If you choose the correct plant material for the soil and water and prune correctly, then your plants will be strong and healthy with deep roots, eliminating the need for chemical pesticides.

Photos: Dave Miyamoto

location, plant in healthy

GREENMAGAZINE HAWAII.COM

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design

EFFICIENCY // PEOPLE // GREEN LIVING


| GREEN LIVING |

KAPOLEI LOFTS

Photos: Kapolei Lofts

Sustainability enters the rental housing market A sustainable lifestyle is based on the choices we make as consumers, community members and global citizens. Those choices can be limited depending on whether or not a person rents or owns a home. According to current U.S. Census Bureau data, 45 percent of O‘ahu residents are renters, which means that nearly half a million people do not have the opportunity to outfit their homes and apartments with high-impact sustainable upgrades such as solar hot water, photovoltaics, energy-efficient appliances, low-flow fixtures and EV charging infrastructure. With the high demand for rental properties on O‘ahu, homeowners know they will get their properties rented with or without these important components. Beyond recycling, opting for energy-efficient products like LED light bulbs and other basic sustainable practices, renters have no choice but to shoulder the high cost of fossil fuel-derived electricity. GREENMAGAZINE HAWAII.COM

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Residential developer Forest City Hawaii is turning the “no need sustainability” rental model on its head, offering renters newly built one-, twoand three-bedroom homes at Kapolei Lofts, one of Hawai‘i’s largest rental development projects. “Factoring in sustainable elements into this masterplanned community helps to reduce maintenance and utility costs significantly,” says Jon Wallenstrom, president of Forest City Hawaii. “Kapolei Lofts has more than a dozen sustainable features that work together for the benefit of our residents.” Sustainability is at the heart of the project’s design. Electric vehicle charging stations, heatreflecting low-E glass windows, Energy Star appliances, high-efficiency toilets, ceiling fans, direct-response water heaters and high-efficiency air conditioners are standard features in every home. Around the community, the sustainable features include recycled asphalt pavement, LED street lamps, a 2.5-megawatt solar system to power common areas and reclaimed water for irrigation. Kapolei Lofts is proof that there is a demand in the rental housing market for sustainable homes and communities. Hopefully, homeowners with existing rental properties will take note, do the right thing and install a solar hot water system for their tenants ASAP. —Kevin Whitton

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TOP QUALITY

Homeowners with premium value homes trust Oceanview Roofing

What makes Oceanview Roofing unique?

How is roofing in Hawai‘i unique?

Experience and attention to detail. We’re not going to practice on your roof—we get it right the first time.

In tropical climates, you have to choose roofing products that will withstand the extremes of strong winds, excessive rain, heat, sun and salt air. Many roofing products will fade, peel, chip or crack in this weather.

We also use materials that will give your roof a longer life, including stainless steel nails that won’t rust out, top-quality underlayment (not just felt paper) and custom-folded flashings.

What should I look for in a roofing contractor? Safety. Beware of roofing companies that are not compliant with OSHA regulations. If contractors don’t have up-to-date workers’ compensation and liability insurance, you could be personally liable if they are injured on the job. Ask for proof of insurance before your roofing company begins work, and keep a copy for your files. References here mean everything. Always ask for references and addresses of completed projects in your area. Oceanview Roofing offers excellent local references from extremely happy clients island wide.

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What is your company’s specialty? Quality. Oceanview Roofing was the 2015 Metal Roofing Contractor of the Year here in Hawai‘i. We only use quality materials and pay close attention to details. We have extensive experience working with concrete and Spanish tiles, aluminum, wood shakes, asphalt shingles and silicone flat roof coatings. We are also a Gaco Western Qualified Applicator specializing in Gaco Western silicone coatings, which offer a 50-year material warranty and up to a 20-year labor warranty. oceanviewroofing.com


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HALEAKALA SOLAR LEADS HAWAI‘I INTO THE FUTURE

In 1977, the world was just getting used to higher energy prices as a result of the rapid increase in the price of oil following the 1973 oil embargo. Haleakala Solar began installing solar hot-water systems to help consumers reduce their electric and gas bills. According to Solar Power World national rankings, the company has grown from a single product line into the largest solar company in the state of Hawai‘i, employing 180 local residents. The company now provides solar hot-water heating, PV systems, solar pool heating, PV-powered swimming pool pumps, energy-conservation products, critical-load and off-grid battery systems, carport systems, solar air conditioning and electric vehicle charging stations for both the residential and commercial markets. The company opened its first showroom in 2009 to give consumers, contractors, architects, engineers and other interested parties a place to view products and talk to highly knowledgeable consultants about lowering their energy bills. The response

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to the first showroom was so great that the company opened two more showrooms to serve the public. The showrooms are located on Maui in Maui Mall across from Whole Foods; on O‘ahu in Waimalu Shopping Center, across from Best Buy and right next to Zippy’s; and on Kaua‘i in Kukui Grove Shopping Center next to Times Market. Over the years, the company has monitored the changes occurring in the solar industry and kept up with its new rules and regulations. Company consultants are knowledgeable about HECO, MECO and KIUC programs and can custom tailor a variety of products to meet the new regulations and save you money on your energy bills. The company has many different financing programs available, all of which allow you to keep your tax credits and cost you less than the value of your energy savings. Visit haleakalasolar.com for photos, videos and more information about reducing or eliminating your energy bills.


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ENERGY

LEED // 100% // WASTE

| LEED |

SMALL IMPACT,

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The Hyatt Regency Maui Resort and Spa is Hawai‘i’s first LEED EBOM Silver resort

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Tourism is the state’s top economic driver. Beachfront hotels and resorts across the state play home to over eight million visitors a year. Over the past decade several hotel and resort companies have retrofitted their properties to include water- and energy-saving measures. They’ve also incorporated environmental education into the list of the activities and services they provide their guests. The Hyatt Regency Maui Resort and Spa is one of those properties committed to environmental sustainability and social responsibility. Employing a wide range of sustainability measures to improve indoor environmental quality, site management, and resource, emissions and waste reduction, the resort achieved LEED Silver certification in the Existing Buildings Operations and Maintenance (EBOM) category. The EBOM criteria for certification provides performance strategies for existing buildings that, if sustained, will yield


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operational benefits throughout the life of a building and improve its performance over time. At the Hyatt Regency Maui Resort and Spa, the guestrooms have been retrofitted with efficient showerheads that save six million gallons of water per year and motion-sensing air conditioning that shuts off when lanai doors are open or when guests leave the room. Upgraded filters and bird screens afford excellent indoor air quality and the resort’s non-turf landscaping features native and adaptive plants, special hydrodynamic separation systems and Vortechs units that protect the ocean from stormwater runoff. The installation of an intelligent, weather-based, real-time irrigation system combined with gray-water irrigation has reduced the resort’s landscape water use by over 27 percent. The Hyatt Regency Maui uses environmentally friendly and sustainable cleaning products and more than 70 percent of its purchased goods are locally sourced,

“We have a long-term strategic approach to environmental sustainability built on three focus areas—use resources thoughtfully, build smart and innovate and inspire.” —Gary Bulson, senior engineer at the Hyatt Regency Maui Resort and Spa recycled or made with renewable resources. The resort donates more than 500,000 pounds of food scraps to a local pig farm each year for feed and compost and durable goods are donated to employees, schools and nonprofits. Recently a 598-kilowatt photovoltaic system was installed, generating 960,000 kilowatthours of energy a year. The array of solar panels produces more than six percent of the resort’s annual electricity needs. As a result of its sustainability measures, the Hyatt Regency Maui Resort and Spa is 30 percent more energy efficient and 34 percent more water efficient than resorts of similar size, using one million less gallons of water per year than its counterparts. Next to occupancy rates and profits, these are important numbers that management can be proud of. —Kevin Whitton

GREENMAGAZINE HAWAII.COM

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ENERGY

LEED // 100% // WASTE


State legislators set an ambitious 100 percent renewable energy benchmark for the state’s energy utilities. Even with the new law in place, removing fossil fuels from the current energy-producing portfolio remains an uphill battle.

by STUART H. COLEMAN


Photo: Office of Representative Chris Lee

Representative Chris Lee is leading the charge in the state legislature on many sustainability issues. He is currently the chair of the Committee on Energy and Environmental Protection, and serves on the Ocean, Marine Resources and Hawaiian Affairs, and the Water and Land committees.

then power is its measure and politics is the arena where they battle for control. In the past year, Hawai‘i has become a battleground between political leaders fighting to develop the state’s renewable energy sources (solar, wind, geothermal and wave) and powerful utility companies clinging to their control over an antiquated energy-producing empire that relies on fossil fuels (crude oil and natural gas) to generate electricity.

In 2015, Representative Chris Lee and leaders at the Hawai‘i State Legislature helped launch the nation’s boldest energy plan with House Bill 623. The unprecedented legislation sets forth a goal of creating a 100 percent renewable energy portfolio standard for the state by 2045. According to Representative Lee, this powerful bill is “game changing for Hawai‘i and our country.” When Governor Ige signed the bill into law (Act 097) last spring, Representative Lee suddenly popped up on the national radar as a young politico 30

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on the rise. Legislators around the country were contacting him, asking how they could create and achieve success with similar bills in their states. Like Lee, the bill’s energy goals are bold. Some wonder if the state can achieve them. Currently, Hawai‘i spends billions of dollars each year on imported oil. Can Hawai‘i move from being the state most dependent on imported fossil fuels to becoming the first state to achieve energy independence? That is the billion-dollar question. The transformation would require dramatic systemic changes in the way

we produce, distribute and use energy. Leading the charge toward energy independence, Representative Lee, Representative Cynthia Thielen and Senator Mike Gabbard are trying to promote renewable resources while also fighting a potential takeover of Hawai‘i’s utility system by the Florida-based company NextEra Electric.

L

ike many young people, Representative Chris Lee thought politics was an insider’s game where lobbyists for corporate interests control the players. Yet a curiosity to understand government and politics led him to an internship with Representative Sylvia Luke as one of her staffers at the Capitol. Curiosity turned into passion when he witnessed a group of local surfers protest the development of a luxury high-rise condominium complex on state land in Kaka‘ako. The ragtag group grew into a full-fledged grassroots movement. Their momentum peaked when 450 protestors marched to the capitol wearing t-shirts saying, SAVE OUR KAKAAKO: PUBLIC LAND NOT FOR SALE. The coalition successfully stopped the development dead in its tracks. Witnessing the power of the people, Lee was hooked on politics. After working at the Capitol, Lee decided to run for office as the Representative of House District 51. In the run-up to the election, he visited every residence in Lanikai, Kailua and Waimānalo. Voters saw his passion and gave him a seat in the House of Representatives in 2008. During the past eight years, Representative Lee has gone on to become the Chair of the Energy and Environmental Protection Committee


A

fter moving to Hawai‘i almost five decades ago, Cynthia Thielen felt the need to get involved in politics after learning that Hawai‘i residents have the highest utility bills in the nation. An environmental lawyer at the time, she decided she could enact more change in the state legislature. She won a seat as a Republican representative for District 51 (Kailua, Käne‘ohe) in 1990. Politics runs in the Thielens’ blood and her daughter, Laura Thielen, would enter politics as well, but on the other side of the aisle. Laura became a Democratic senator in 2012. As Assistant Minority Floor Leader, Representative Thielen often goes against fellow Republican members in supporting clean energy and environmental issues. Known as a RINO—Republican In Name Only—Representative Thielen is more progressive than many of her democratic colleagues, who in their own right are often more like DINOs—Democrats In Name Only. “The label Democrat and Republican doesn’t work the way it does on the mainland,” Representative Thielen says.

Representative Thielen wants to steer Republicans away from conservative social policies and back to their conservationist roots as embodied by President Teddy Roosevelt, who created the national park system. Unafraid of controversy, for decades she has fought to legalize industrial hemp for its agricultural and industrial benefits. A staunch advocate of clean, renewable energy, Representative

“Hawai‘i is the second best place in the world for wave energy,” she says, “Wave energy is on and working over 90 percent of the time.” Wave energy would add continuity to intermittent solar and wind energy sources that depend on energy storage systems to provide consistent power. Representative Thielen’s ceaseless advocacy for wave energy is generating

Photo: Office of Representative Chris Lee

and the main driver behind the state’s historic 100 percent renewable energy law. But many question the effectiveness of the new law because it doesn’t provide specific guidelines to achieve the lofty renewable energy goals. There is also the looming possibility of NextEra’s takeover of Hawaiian Electric Industries. Opponents of the acquisition say the $4.3 billion deal would undermine the state’s clean energy goals by shipping liquefied natural gas to the state in large quantities. The utility would build a costly new LNG plant and opponents argue that this move would siphon money out of the state for more fossil fuels instead of developing local energy from solar, wind and waves. Though on different sides of the political fence, legislative veterans Representative Cynthia Thielen and Senator Gabbard were also instrumental in the passage of the 100 percent renewable energy bill and support the need for major transformation in Hawai‘i’s energy policies. But to understand their policies, it helps to understand their political positions.

On June 8, 2015, Governor Ige signed the 100 percent renewable energy bill into law. The bill sets an aggressive clean energy goal for the state, but does not outline any specific steps to accomplish the goal.

Thielen has fought against Hawaiian Electric Industries’ control of O‘ahu’s utility system. She also opposes NextEra’s proposed takeover and its plans to import liquid natural gas (LNG) and build a new processing facility. “It would be so detrimental to our moving ahead with the 100 percent goal,” says Representative Thielen. Some critics refer to the company as NextError or NextTerror because of their willingness just to swap one fossil fuel (crude oil) for another (liquid natural gas). Hawai‘i Gas and Hawaiian Electric Industries have been selling LNG as a bridge fuel to lower utility costs for ratepayers during the proposed transition from fossil fuels to renewable resources. “Liquid natural gas is a bridge to nowhere,” Representative Thielen quips. Representative Thielen supports alternative energy projects such as building and deploying wave energy converters in Hawai‘i waters. Since Hawai‘i is in the path of ocean swells that constantly sweep past the islands, she believes the opportunities to harness that untapped energy is rich.

waves of its own at the Capitol. She promotes innovative ocean projects at the Marine Corps Base Hawaii in Käne‘ohe, where they will be installing a third test buoy this summer. Though the technology is still in development, Representative Thielen says wave energy converters could one day provide up to 90 percent of the energy for the islands. Senator Mike Gabbard shares Representative Thielen’s penchant to a conservationist roots. Feeling the pull of public office and a call to protect the environment, Mike Gabbard ran for Honolulu City Council in 2002, won and served till 2005. Like the Thielens, politics and public service runs in the Gabbard family as well. Senator Gabbard’s daughter, Tulsi Gabbard, followed his footsteps into politics. Her career in government began with a seat on the Honolulu City Council. In 2004, Mike Gabbard ran for a U.S. congressional seat, but lost the election to Steve Case. Years later, Tulsi would go on to win the same congressional seat, which she still holds today. GREENMAGAZINE HAWAII.COM

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Photo: Office of Representative Cynthia Thielen

After Mike Gabbard’s defeat, he rebounded and won a seat in 2006 as a Republican state senator for District 10 (Kapolei, Makakilo, ‘Ewa and Waipahu). In 2007, he became a Democrat. As the Chair of the Energy and Environment Committee, Senator Gabbard has pushed for progressive policies such as higher taxes on oil companies and tax breaks for wind and solar companies.

Representative Cynthia Thielen, a strong supporter of renewable energy projects, often works across the aisle with Democrat lawmakers, including her daughter, Senator Laura Thielen.

Politics makes for strange bedfellows. Several years ago, Senator Gabbard and Representative Lee faced off on opposite sides the same-sex marriage debate. Though Lee’s side won and civil unions became legal, the pair put the issue behind them and worked together to introduce the 100 percent renewable energy bills. “This legislation is huge,” says Senator Gabbard. “The state spends $3 billion to $5 billion annually importing dirty fossil fuels, which we can all agree is not good for the environment, future sustainability or our pocket books. I’m committed to Hawai‘i kicking its addiction to imported fossil fuel by exploring every avenue for energy efficiency and utilization of indigenous renewable energy resources.” With the abundance of sun, wind and waves in Hawai‘i, Senator Gabbard believes the ambitious goals can be reached. “We’ll 32

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achieve the biggest energy turnaround in country, moving from 90 percent dependence on fossil fuels to all clean energy,” he says. “Currently, we’re at 23 percent clean renewables. The 2015 goal was to be at 15 percent, so I’d say we’re off to a strong start.”

W

hile ambitious goals are necessary for progress, many people wonder how the state can realistically achieve 100 percent renewable energy by 2045. A loophole in the law allows fossil fuels to be part of the 100 percent renewable energy solution. How can fossil fuels be considered renewable energy? The bill bases the state’s renewable portfolio standard on an equation that calculates the percentage of renewable energy sold by the utility, not the percentage it generates. This leaves the door open for electricity to still be generated by fossil fuels. “More than any other utility in the country, NextEra leverages the political process to maintain absolute control over energy generation and distribution, which would only slow our progress toward our renewable energy goals,” says Representative Lee. “The 20th century model of centralized utilities owning power and generation and distribution no longer works in a renewable future in which anybody can generate power on their own roof.” To close this loophole, Representative Lee is currently working with Senator Gabbard, Representative Thielen and his legislative colleagues on a series of bills that would reinforce the 100 percent renewable energy law and restructure the state’s utility system. “The big focus this year is on bills that change the utility business model to put the interests of people first, ensuring that renewable energy use goes up and cost to consumers goes down,” Representative Lee says. In the future, Lee would like to see the energy utilities make money based on their performance toward goals like reducing overall costs and maximizing renewable energy. Representative Lee is also collaborating

with Senator Gabbard, Representative Thielen and others on legislation to push for more energy storage and public ownership like Kaua‘i’s co-op utility. “We’re moving forward with bills that create new incentives that promote new battery integration and smarter ways to manage power, which will in turn allow substantially more solar and other renewables on the grid,” says Representative Lee. The guise of low oil prices and ever-soslight rate reductions for ratepayers does not mask the fact that oil is a polluting, finite resource. It’s time for Hawai‘i to invest heavily in renewable energy infrastructure and technology. “The cost of renewable technology is going to beat the price of fossil fuels in the long run because renewable energy is a technology and its price declines with its advances,” says Representative Lee. “Fossil fuels are a commodity. Its price increases as it becomes more and more difficult to extract from a shrinking resource. Inevitably, we’re going to get there.” Along with the 100 percent renewable energy bill, Representative Lee helped pass a net-zero energy bill for the University of Hawai‘i and worked with the 350.org coalition to spur the University of Hawai‘i Board of Regents to divest from fossil fuels. This session, he and Senator Gabbard are fighting an uphill battle to get the state’s Employees’ Retirement System to divest from fossil fuel industries, especially since the stock positions have only gone down over the last few years. “This is the first time in the history of our nation when we are saying that enough is enough!” says Representative Lee. “We have to make a change. Not because it makes financial interest right this minute, but because it makes a world of difference to our future, both economically and socially; because it’s the right thing to do for our country and that’s really what this is all about.” Stuart Coleman is the award-winning author of Eddie Would Go, Fierce Heart and a new gift book, Eddie Aikau: Hawaiian Hero. For this article, he received assistance from legal intern Kaily Wakefield, a student at the University of Hawai‘i’s Richardson School of Law.


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WILL SUSTAINABILITY REPORTING HELP MY BUSINESS CUT COSTS? Absolutely! Saving money is the number one reason executives give for adopting sustainable practices in their operations. Sustainability reporting has increased significantly in recent years as more and more businesses—both large and small—strive to incorporate social and environmental responsibility initiatives in their organizations. Developing a sustainability strategy for your company doesn’t mean sacrificing the bottom line. In fact, most companies have found that “going green” actually saves you green, even when budgets are tight. For example, Walmart estimates it is saving $7 million annually on electricity since adopting energy conservation measures. IBM claims it has saved over $100 million through energy conservation and use of renewables. Increasing energy efficiency and use of renewable and alternative fuels has the added benefit of lowering exposure to oil price volatility, allowing companies to budget more reliably. Developing and showcasing sustainability practices has also been shown to increase customer interest and loyalty.

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WHAT HAPPENED TO OUR TOPSOIL? The greater population doesn’t think twice about the Earth’s soil, but soil is a source of life, right up there with air and water. Topsoil— the fertile, uppermost layer of soil where seeds germinate, plants flourish and food grows—is a precious resource that most people take for granted. Due to agriculture, land development and other human activities, our topsoil is eroding and degrading faster than it can be replenished. Generally speaking, there isn’t any native topsoil left in Hawai‘i. Island Topsoil is on a mission to imitate nature by producing manufactured topsoil. Soil is analyzed per batch and enriched with the nutrients it needs for successful gardening and landscaping projects. New statistics show that we’ve already lost up to 70 percent of the planet’s topsoil, and we may have only 40 to 60 years before it’s all gone. Protect your soil by picking the right plants for your environment, as roots help to anchor soil during heavy rain, and cover bare soil with mulch to prevent erosion, weeds and moisture loss.

Lorra Naholowa‘a Soil/Compost Specialist Island Topsoil LLC 808.681.2361 islandtopsoil.com

GREENMAGAZINE HAWAII.COM

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Photos: Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii

| WASTE |


BY LAUREN MCNALLY

HAWAI‘I’S WASTE-TO-ENERGY PLANT ISN’T KILLING TWO BIRDS WITH ONE STONE—IT’S BURNING THE CANDLE ON BOTH ENDS


Photo: Lauren McNally


FEEDING THE BEAST

Now that H-POWER churns out up to 10 percent of the island’s electricity using municipal waste as fuel, island residents are seeing trash in a new light. Given that we generate 30 percent more trash per person than the average American, waste-to-energy seems like a win-win. Municipal solid waste qualifies as a renewable energy source under Hawai‘i’s renewable portfolio standard and takes up a fraction of the space at the landfill after it’s incinerated at H-POWER. But burning through our resources is exactly why we have a surplus of trash in the first place.

P

rior to hopping onboard the waste-to-energy train, Honolulu sent the majority of its trash to the landfill. The methane in landfill gas is 86 times more potent a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide from waste combustion, but landfilling is the most common form of waste disposal in the United States. Abundant land and cheap fossil fuels create little incentive to explore costly alternatives like incineration. The opposite is true in Honolulu, where energy prices are three times the national average and the municipal waste stream threatens to outpace available landfill space. Unlike cities on the mainland, we can’t schlep our trash to backcountry landfills in the Midwest once ours are filled to capacity. “H-POWER is an ideal facility for O‘ahu,” says Markus Owens, public information officer for the Department

of Environmental Services. “H-POWER is a form of recycling, turning nearly 800,000 tons of municipal solid waste, which would have normally gone to the landfill, into renewable energy. The city targets only municipal solid waste that is non-recyclable as well as combustible for H-POWER and adheres to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s recommendation of waste-management hierarchy.” Municipal solid waste qualifies as a renewable energy source under Hawai‘i’s renewable portfolio standard, but burning fossil fuels for energy isn’t renewable, no matter how you sort it. Although more than half of the municipal waste stream is comprised of organic matter, thousands of tons of plastic and other fossil fuel derivatives end up in the incinerator. The truth is, most plastics aren’t recycled due to the cost and logistics of sorting, processing and marketing the variety of plastics that enter waste stream, and only a third of the plastics that can be recycled on O‘ahu actually make it into the blue bin. Waste prevention is the EPA’s gold standard for sustainable waste management, followed by reuse, recycling, incineration and landfilling. Hawai‘i’s solid waste management law requires the counties to uphold the same priorities, but incineration has played an increasingly starring role in the City and County of Honolulu’s solid waste management program in recent years. H-POWER increased its annual capacity by 300,000

Photo: Kevin Whitton

The Honolulu Program of Waste Energy Recovery is fed up to 3,000 tons of municipal solid waste a day and still has room to spare. The island’s trash is trucked in to be weighed, dumped and bulldozed amid the clank and hum of intake conveyors working around the clock to funnel a steady flow of trash into the belly of the beast. Operated by Covanta Honolulu Resource Recovery Venture in a public-private partnership with the City and County of Honolulu, the 28-acre waste-to-energy facility known as H-POWER has incinerated more than 13 million tons of trash since beginning commercial operation at Campbell Industrial Park in 1990.

The Honolulu Program of Waste Energy Recovery added a third combustion unit in 2012, increasing its capacity to incinerate waste and generate electricity by 30 percent.

GREENMAGAZINE HAWAII.COM

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Photos: Kevin Whitton

The good: H-POWER extracts and recycles approximately 22,500 tons of metal every year. The bad: The city cut a metal recycling subsidy in March due to lack of funds, though it spent three times more on H-POWER than originally intended.

tons in 2012, adding a third boiler for processing bulky waste. The facility’s sludge intake station, completed in 2015, feeds diverted sewage sludge into the new combustion unit along with the bulky waste, where it’s mixed into a stew of discarded mattresses, old tires and shredded carpets. According to facility operator Robert Webster, the 65,000 tires that H-POWER incinerates every year in the mass burn combustion unit are highly toxic when burned alone, so they’re mixed in with other oversized items and burned at a rate of about 18 tires an hour. Although today’s waste-to-energy plants are more closely regulated than the toxin-spewing incinerators of the early twentieth century, there’s conflicting evidence about the safety of the emissions that are allowed to fly by modern standards. There’s also the fact that the Department of Health conducted less than one inspection per year during H-POWER’s first decade of operation, even though the established procedure dictated quarterly inspections, and that procedures were changed to once-a-year inspections after 1996. But the danger isn’t just what H-POWER burns—it’s also about what it isn’t burning. A put-or-pay provision in Covanta’s operating contract guarantees a minimum quantity of waste each year, which the city more than fulfilled prior to the facility’s expansion. The current delivery guarantee of 800,000 tons, however, was established based on how much waste O‘ahu generated prerecession, so the city has been coming up roughly 100,000 tons short and forking out more than a million dollars each year to cover the deficit. If there’s anything that could rain on the waste-reduction parade, it’s having to pay for the trash we don’t make. A city audit released in December found that H-POWER is costing the city more than $1 billion dollars in construction and operating costs. According to the auditor, the department’s amendments and task orders to expand and refurbish the facility violated state and city policies designed to minimize costs, establishing new contract

terms that transfer all financial risk to the city and its taxpayers. The clincher? An amendment that extended Covanta’s operating contract to 2032. H-POWER collects $40 million dollars per year in tipping fees, yet the department had to cut a glass recycling subsidy in 2014 due to a lack of funds. Granted, the subsidy was funded by a 1.5-cent advance deposit fee that failed to cover rising costs. But the same wastemanagement law that places recycling ahead of incineration in the hierarchy called for a restructuring of funds— specifically, that state and county agencies use an increased portion of disposal fees to fund programs that reduce the amount of waste disposed. A subsequent audit of the advance deposit fee program also determined that funds were ineffectively administered. Even recyclers are divided about the sum-total benefits of recycling glass, but there’s little debate when it comes to recycling metal. A $600,000 scrap-metal recycling subsidy was vetoed, however, in March 2016 on the grounds that the majority of the subsidy would go to Oregon-based Schnitzer Steel Industries, the state’s largest metal recycler. Still, seven out of eight city council members backed the measure, which would have offered recyclers a 25 percent subsidy, though it originally sought to reinstate the 65 percent subsidy that was cut in 2013. If that weren’t enough to suggest H-POWER is stealing the show from waste reduction and recycling, then consider this. State officials signed a declaration in 2014 to achieve a number of sustainability goals by 2030, including a 70 percent reduction in the state’s solid waste stream. Hawai‘i’s diversion rate is a whopping four percent better than it was five years ago, and that’s likely due to the declining economy more than any real advances we’ve made in waste reduction since then. But you might not know it, depending on which version of the story you’re following. The state has two of them: one that plateaus at a reduction rate of 40 percent and one that paints a much more optimistic portrait of our progress.


FEEDING THE BEAST

The Hawaii Revised Statues specifically defines incineration as waste disposal, not waste diversion, but the Department of Environmental Services and the state’s online performance platform both include waste that’s been diverted to H-POWER in their tallies, arriving at a much more palatable diversion rate of 80 percent. O‘ahu currently recycles about 38 percent of its municipal solid waste, none of which is manufactured locally. This means Hawai‘i is particularly vulnerable to the fickle recycling market because everything we recycle already comes with a high price tag for shipping. According to the city’s recycling specialists, local manufacturing facilities aren’t feasible for the volume of materials processed here, so we’re stuck sending them on fuel-burning ships to manufacturers in Asia and the mainland. A study commissioned by the Department of Environmental Services compares the life-cycle impact of recycling wastepaper and incinerating

it at H-POWER. The study found that even after accounting for the significant journey that Hawai‘i’s recyclables make to reach off-island manufacturers, the environmental benefit of collecting, processing and shipping recovered materials is still greater than burning those materials on-island for energy. When it comes down to it, extracting, processing and manufacturing virgin materials is a far greater expense to the planet. In other words, incineration’s sole environmental value comes from its secondary benefit—energy production. According to H-POWER facility manager Robert Webster, incinerating one ton of waste generates the energy equivalent of a barrel of oil, in addition to offsetting the fossil fuels that would have been used to ship the oil here. But incineration isn’t winning any MVP awards as far as energy production goes, and the megawatts it sends to HECO is hardly the best that Hawai‘i can do in terms of renewable energy. Not when we have access to some

of the world’s richest sources of renewable energy—real renewable energy from the sun, wind and waves. Waste-to-energy creates a demand for trash—early adopters like Norway and Denmark have started importing trash from neighboring countries to generate revenue from energy production. But without legislative policies and city programs in place that increase what we can recycle and reduce what we send to H-POWER, our only option may be to minimize the amount of waste that makes it to the curb. The last thing Hawai‘i needs is a get-out-of-jail-free card that validates overconsumption. Incineration is a short-term solution for a long-term problem, and if we use it as a crutch, then it’s counterproductive to the state’s sustainability goals. That’s the nature of the beast—failing to address our culture of waste at the source only sets us up for an even bigger monster down the line.

This Is Your Trash

Photo: Sustainable Coastine Hawaii

After cleaning the same stretch of Kahuku shoreline again and again, it became apparent to Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii founder and CEO Kahi Pacarro that it was going to take more than beach cleanups to keep trash off of Hawai‘i’s coasts. To do this, Pacarro is addressing the culture of waste that put it there. Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii has since added public awareness campaigns and wastereduction initiatives to battle ocean pollution on all fronts, including partnering with Method, a company that produces environmentally conscious cleaning supplies. Method is turning the recovered plastic into packaging for its products stocked at Whole Foods Markets nationwide. The plastic recycled is a drop in the bucket, though, compared to the program’s greater mission to generate mass awareness about our culture of consumption.

GREENMAGAZINE HAWAII.COM

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NATURE

FAUNA // CONSERVATION // REFORESTATION

| FAUNA |

BACK IN BLACK

Photos: San Diego Zoo Global

The ‘alalā, Hawai‘i’s native crow, will be reintroduced to Big Island forests this year for the second time since its extinction in the wild. Researchers hope that the flock’s large population and genetic diversity will give the species a fighting chance for biological success.

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Hawai‘i Island’s native crow may once again thrive in the Ka‘u Forest Reserve and Pu‘u Maka‘ala Natural Area Reserve. The endemic ‘alalä, extinct in the wild and once reduced to a population of 20 birds in captivity, is expected to be released back into the wild later this year. At the moment, 114 crows are being raised in captivity at the Keauhou and Maui bird conservation centers through a program funded by San Diego Zoo Global. “We have been working for many years to build up a large enough— and genetically diverse enough—population,” says Bryce Masuda, manager of the zoo’s Hawai‘i Endangered Bird Conservation Program. The long-term goal is for the ‘alalä to flourish in multiple self-sustaining populations throughout its historical habitat range. Since the crow’s Endangered Species Act listing in 1976, government agencies, NGOs and private landowners have partnered to restore native ‘ohi‘ä forests in the crow’s habitat range, yet urban development and climate change remain challenges to those efforts. Due to the ‘alalä’s role as a seed disperser, ‘alalä repopulation could increase the area’s biological diversity. This is not the first attempt at an ‘alalä reintroduction. In the mid-1990s, 27 juveniles were reintroduced to South Kona, but disease, unfit habitat and predation by the ‘io (Hawaiian hawk) and non-native mammals led to the loss of 21 birds. The last six were returned to captivity. This year’s release holds more promise for the species due to the larger flock size, better predator control and more suitable habitat selection. Jolene Sutton, an evolutionary biologist at the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo, says that researchers now have an ‘alalä DNA map that could prove critical to the species’ recovery. —Molly Noelani Mamaril


NATURE

Photo: International Union of Conservation of Nature

FAUNA // CONSERVATION // REFORESTATION

| CONSERVATION |

PLANET AT THE CROSSROADS

IUCN WORLD CONSERVATION CONGRESS HAWAI‘I 2016 SEPTEMBER 1–10 HAWAI‘I CONVENTION CENTER

The quadrennial IUCN World Conservation Congress convenes in Honolulu, the first U.S. host city over its 68-year history

In environmental conservation circles across the state, people are buzzing about the IUCN World Conservation Congress coming to Honolulu this fall. While members of local government, academia and the nonprofit sector have been busy preparing displays and speeches to share Hawai‘i’s environmental milestones with international IUCN Congressional members, the IUCN organization and conference is new to most people. The International Union for Conservation of Nature, known by its acronym IUCN, is an international organization of 1,300 government and NGO members. Conserving biodiversity across the globe is central to its mission. Every four years, IUCN members, scientists and community leaders convene at the World Conservation Congress to discuss the world’s most pressing environmental issues and offer solutions to influence the global conservation agenda. This year’s congress in Honolulu marks the first time the event will be held in the United States. The congress has two components: the Forum and the Members’ Assembly. The Forum is a combination of workshops, knowledge cafés and social events for attendees to discuss and develop solutions to the world’s environmental challenges. The highest-level IUCN members convene for the Members’ Assembly, where they establish environmental policy and direct the focus of the IUCN for the next four years. The public can participate by attending the Exhibition portion of the event, a showcase of initiatives, innovations and conservation solutions from local and international organizations. —Kevin Whitton

IUCN = International Union for Conservation of Nature, the world’s oldest and largest conservation network Participants include 1,300 state and non-GMO IUCN members from 161 countries Produces the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species The Exhibition is open to the public daily from September 2–10

GREENMAGAZINE HAWAII.COM

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MARTIN & MACARTHUR Crafting Sustainability and Innovation

Back before being green was the scene, one Hawai‘i company was ahead of the curve in its commitment to sustainability and green practices. For over 50 years, Martin & MacArthur has been at the forefront of Hawai‘i’s sustainability efforts. Martin & MacArthur is the premier fine koa furniture maker in Hawai‘i. When founder Jon Martin started the company back in 1961, he set out to make the most beautiful furniture in the world with the world’s most beautiful wood—koa. He believed that sustainability was the kuleana, or responsibility, of his company, and this belief endures today as one of Martin & MacArthur’s founding principles.

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Today, Martin & MacArthur is the only company that makes fine furniture in Hawai‘i. All the big retailers buy their furniture from China. Not Martin & MacArthur. The company employs over 35 craftsmen at its furniture workshop in Honolulu. Every single piece of furniture is made right here in Hawai‘i, by Hawai‘i craftsmen. Three generations of fine furniture craftsmen have worked at Martin & MacArthur, creating beautiful furniture enjoyed in prestigious locations throughout Hawai‘i, including the Royal Hawaiian Hotel, the Moana Surfrider, the Halekulani, the Four Seasons Hualalai and the Ritz Carlton Kapalua. Besides fine furniture, the company creates innovative lifestyle accessories such as koa wood watches, koa rings, koa sunglasses, fine koa jewelry and koa-leather handbags. The company has expanded to 14 retail stores, including a flagship in the Grand Canal Shoppes at The Venetian Resort in Las Vegas. More importantly, Martin & MacArthur has championed sustainability long before any other company. Martin & MacArthur works with private plantation owners on Hawai‘i Island to select highly figured, curly koa from dead or naturally fallen trees. The company does not tolerate or do business with any Hawai‘i craftsmen who use koa from trees cut down for commercial practices. Martin & MacArthur works with the plantation owners to fence off land where dead trees are removed, allowing new koa trees

SPECIAL PROMOTION


to grow safely away from roving livestock. The land from which dead koa trees are removed is scarified to help germinate koa seeds embedded in the ground over the years. The combined efforts of plantation owners and Martin & MacArthur has resulted in thousands of new koa trees flourishing in Hawai‘i now compared to 50 years ago. Martin & MacArthur President Michael Tam is proud of the net positive impact of his company’s best practices. Martin & MacArthur was the very first company to partner with Hawaiian Legacy Hardwoods in its efforts to farm koa. Recognizing the value of HLH’s vision, Martin & MacArthur saw the opportunity to plant a new koa tree for every piece of koa furniture purchased. Customers who buy the company’s fine furniture and lifestyle accessories not only enjoy beautifully crafted products made in Hawai‘i, but also help reforest koa for future generations to enjoy.

SPECIAL PROMOTION

GREENMAGAZINEHAWAII.COM

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| REFORESTATION |


Hawaiian Legacy Reforestation Initiative is spawning the revival of endemic koa, fostering rare connections with nature and restoring an ecosystem


arl Regidor sets a spindly koa seedling into a small hole in the ground. Taking his time, he packs the soft soil around the root ball and pours water from an ipu over his hands. It trickles down over the newly planted tree, bonding it to the earth. As he whispers a blessing for growth and longevity, he notices a pueo, one of his family’s ‘aumakua, soaring overhead. Warm feelings of comfort and familiarity wash over him knowing that his kupuna are sharing the deeply spiritual moment. An environmental renaissance is underway at Kukaiau Ranch in Pa‘auilo. Once home to King Kamehameha the Great’s personal koa reserves—possessing koa was kapu for all but Hawaiian monarchs and ali‘i—the area is a far cry from the thickly forested mountainside that used to force horseback riders to dismount and walk through on foot. During the 1800s, huge tracts of land were clear-cut to provide grazing range for introduced cattle, destroying an entire ecosystem of native bird, plant and insect species in the process. Earl Regidor is one of the many participants helping to restore the region’s natural habitat through the Hawaiian Legacy Reforestation Initiative, an organization that’s hard at work cataloging seeds, nurturing and tagging koa seedlings, building fences and managing a 1,200-acre forest on the northeastern slope of Mauna Kea. Known by his acquaintances as “Uncle Earl,” the Four Seasons Hualalai’s Ka‘upulehu Cultural Center director was asked to join the Hawaiian Legacy Reforestation Initiative advisory board in 2015 by the organization’s founders, Jeff Dunster and Darrell Fox. “Ask anyone how to build a forest and they’ll say plant a tree,” says Dunster, who serves as the Hawaiian Legacy Reforestation Initiative’s executive director. “But that’s only one small part of the story. The Hawaiian Legacy Forest is a massive production, an ecosystem in progress that needs constant collaboration and many hands to make it happen.” 46

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Dunster’s interest in conservation began about 15 years ago when he and longtime friend and business partner Darrell Fox brainstormed ways to kickstart koa reforestation in Hawai‘i without going broke in the process. The value of tropical hardwoods had been steadily rising for years and investment tree planting seemed to be the most viable option. Yet conventional forestry models seemed counterintuitive to their overarching mission of koa conservation. Their solution was to develop a new forestry model that could financially sustain itself without needing to clear-cut the trees to turn a profit. They called the business Hawaiian Legacy Hardwoods, applying sustainable forestry practices to grow investment-grade koa. The first lot of koa trees went in the ground in 2010. Only one of every four trees was slated for eventual harvest, and local craftsmen and businesses were given first dibs on the lumber in order to energize the Hawai‘i market. To avoid the devastating effects of monocropping, Dunster and Fox planted an understory of native vegetation, including ‘iliahi (sandalwood), which serves as critical habitat for the endangered ‘akiapölä‘au bird, and mämane, the primary food source for a rare type of Hawaiian honeycreeper known as palila. In addition to creating investment opportunities in koa lumber the business afforded a second revenue stream through its Legacy Tree program. Allocating more land for permanent reforestation and setting an initial goal to plant 1.3 million endemic and endangered trees, Dunster and Fox invited individuals, businesses and organizations to sponsor Legacy Trees plantings to honor an individual, commemorate an event or memorialize a loved one. The $60 koa tree sponsorships and $100 sandalwood sponsorships generate funds for forest maintenance and expansion in addition to benefitting local charities like Big Brothers Big Sisters and Habitat for Humanity. Sponsors began expressing interest in visiting their trees, which inspired Hawaiian Legacy Hardwoods’ ecotourism arm, Hawaiian Legacy Tours. Seasoned guides well versed in the science

and mythology of the area take Legacy Tree sponsors on ATV rides across miles of forest in the making, traversing the Umikoa Trail, where Hawaiian royalty once walked. Guests select their seedlings and plant, water and bless these living legacies in elaborate, hands-on planting ceremonies. Families have planted microforests to honor their lineage. Companies can arrange group plantings to show their appreciation for their staff. In 2013, a Merrie Monarch Legacy Forest was planted to supply rare ferns and flowers for performances. Less than a year after its inception, Hawaiian Legacy Tours was named 2014 Ecotour Operator of the Year by the Hawaii Ecotourism Association. The program’s success confirmed Dunster’s hunch that people are yearning to feel connected to the land. In 2015, the Hawaiian Legacy Reforestation Initiative was officially formed as a nonprofit organization dedicated entirely to tree sponsorship and planting. The Hawaiian Legacy Reforestation Initiative’s reforestation strategy is based on the ancient Hawaiian ahupua‘a landmanagement system. As the Hawaiian Legacy Forest grows, it will stabilize the soil, provide habitat for endemic wildlife and improve the quality of the streams and the watershed, eventually reestablishing the natural mauka-makai corridor. Faced with a boneyard of tree limbs on the desiccated pastureland, the reforestation crew combats non-native grasses, tests soil depletion and adds mulch and other amendments to help ready the ground for planting. Each season, they pick a tract of land, fence it, grind up all the felled branches and let the ranchers’ cattle graze the land one last time to minimize ground cover that could compete with the native trees. Once the koa trees reach the five-year growth mark, they selfprune and form a loose canopy, creating shade and naturally suppressing non-native grasses and shrubs. Although Kukaiau Ranch was cleared for cattle grazing nearly a century ago, the tract is dotted with intrepid “mother” trees that escaped the slaughter. These old-growth koa provide the seed stock


"Ask anyone how to build a forest and they’ll say plant a tree, but that’s only one small part of the story."


for all of Hawaiian Legacy Reforestation Initiative’s koa seedlings, ensuring that prime genetic material lives on. Since koa are geospecific—they prefer the same soil and climate as their parent trees—planting within a mile of the mother is ideal. The crew puts the majority of seedlings into the ground during the rainy season—from December to April—but understory tree and shrub plantings, land preparation, fencing and seed collection continue year round. In favorable conditions, a koa tree can grow ten feet a year. As Hawaiian Legacy Hardwoods’ chief operations officer, Fox is tasked with developing biological strategies that produce a healthy forest, including planting symbiotic flora to attract endemic birds. Lobelia, a plant in the bellflower family, produces nectar favored by Hawaiian honeycreepers, as their hooked beaks are perfectly shaped to fit inside the flower. Hö‘awa, a small tree with teardrop-shaped leaves and oily seeds, might one day feed the highly endangered ‘alalä (Hawaiian 48

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crow). Thanks to Fox’s efforts, i‘o (Hawaiian hawk), pueo (Hawaiian owl) and even nënë (Hawaiian geese) are not uncommon sights in the forest, a sign that the ecosystem is returning to balance. That’s when Dunster and Fox realized they were sitting on another piece of the ecological puzzle—carbon sequestration. Since the trees in the Legacy Forest take in carbon, Dunster and Fox brought in Dr. Lewis Rothstein, a climatologist from the University of Rhode Island, to form Legacy Carbon, the first program in the world to produce certified carbon credits for the reforestation of koa. Calculations were developed to assess the forest’s capability for carbon sequestration and the technology team honed its tagging and aerial mapping system to gather biomass, maintenance, genealogy and carbon sequestration data. Independent auditors verified the Legacy Forest’s carbon data and projected growth rates to track the trees’ quantifiable impact. Simply stated, one Legacy Tree can absorb enough carbon to offset a one-week

vacation in Hawai‘i for a family of four. Profits from the carbon credit sales are pumped back into forest maintenance (the fencing for a 1,200-acre parcel costs $2.4 million). Dunster dreamed of one day walking through a koa forest with his kids. Fox wanted to use his knowledge to give back to the land. In August of 2015, they reached a milestone: 300,000 endemic trees in the ground and sponsorship commitments for 700,000 more. The duo’s long-term plan is to phase out the investment side of the business and focus solely on reforestation, eco-tourism and carbon sequestration. With the help of private and public land partners, it’s only a matter of time before Hawaiian Legacy Forests could be established on O‘ahu and the other major Hawaiian Islands. “Hawai‘i used to be 96 percent agricultural land and now it’s down to a depressing two percent,” Dunster says. “We really want to make this model truly sustainable and show other people how to do it.” Since planting his first Legacy Tree in memory of his late son, Uncle Earl has taken more than 100 family members on intimate tree planting tours. Faith Elarionoff, another Big Island local who has made koa plantings a regular part of her life, has brought everyone from her Zumba students to her Zhineng Qigong master up the mountain. “During the blessing and water ceremony, you feel like part of you settles down into the ground and you get this comforting feeling that you are tied to the land forever,” Elarionoff says. “There is this intense feeling of home, a deep realization that we should have been doing this all along.” It’s been a year since Uncle Earl planted his son’s Legacy Tree, which now stands about 10 feet tall. “I watch my son grow through the koa,” he says. “My son is large in stature and his love for his family and friends was just as large— that’s why his tree’s branches are nice and thick.” Through the Hawaiian Legacy Reforestation Initiative, Dunster and Fox are creating much more than native forest reserves; they are reconnecting people to nature while perpetuating a prized ecosystem for generations to come.


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Green Magazine Hawaii Apr/May/Jun 2016  
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