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Rooftop Solar: HECO speaks out JAN/FEB/MAR 2014

Vol. 6 #1

Hawaiian Monk Seals

Kaka‘ako Build-out

Meet urban sustainability

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CONTENTS LIFESTYLE DEPARTMENTS 06 SUSTAINABLE HOME High-rise style 07 THREADS AND GEMS Outerwear 08 GREEN RESOURCE Products and service providers 10 ENTERTAIN YOUR BRAIN Book reviews 12 FOOD AND BEVERAGE 12th Ave. Grill, Cactus, The Modern 14 IN THE KNOW Kathy Lee


15 Body & Soul Soap berries, ‘Ohana Organics, Ho‘ala Spa 16 COMMUNITY STEWARDSHIP Surfrider Foundation O‘ahu, B.E.A.C.H.


18 ART Jordan Dodson, Kapa Hawaii 19 SAVE THE DATE Kona Brewers Festival


40 28 Smart Neighborhoods

Kaka‘ako is Hawai‘i's latest social experiment in sustainable urban planning and design

34 Eco-Lux History

Kahala's first Gold-rated LEED certified home

40 Second Chance

Understanding and saving Hawai‘i's endangered monk seals


G rE E NM aG a Z I N E H aWa I I . C O M

20 Q & A HECO spokesman Peter Rosegg on the new utility rules for rooftop solar 24 HEALTH & WELLNESS Superfoods 48 PASSION WITH A PURPOSE Micropropagation Laboratory Director Nellie Sugii

COLUMNS 23 BUSINESS Michael Kramer on growing Hawai‘i's green economy 27 GARDEN Maile Sacarob Woodhall on USDA organic gardening practices at home







SBA’s 2008









What's Sustainable About Increasing Population Density? Great question. It’s one that I had to ask myself to wrap my head around the sustainability of redeveloping Honolulu’s Kaka‘ako district. Let’s face it, on the surface, dozens of high-rise residential towers and tens of thousands of additional residents jammed into 600 acres does not scream sustainability when traffic congestion, sewer woes and an imposing concrete jungle immediately come to mind. Organic gardening, saving endangered native Hawaiian plants, reusing lumber, turning off the lights when you’re not in a room, composting worms, that stuff screams sustainability. But as sustainable practices spread through society and become the norm, like organic gardening and energy efficiency, they will bleed into less sexy areas of life that seriously need a dose of consciousness, like large-scale development. Let’s not be naïve here, the population in Hawai‘i will continue to grow and people will need dwellings to live in. This isn’t a Keep Kaka‘ako Kaka‘ako debate. There’s no bluff to protect, no native plants to save and no developers to keep out. By developing a unique eco-urban community in Kaka‘ako there is an opportunity to save acres and acres of agriculture land that could potentially be paved over for housing tracts if development were to occur in central O‘ahu instead of Kaka‘ako. Look at the bottom line. Kaka‘ako has roads, infrastructure and businesses already in place. By incorporating permanent residents into the equation housed in towers and condominiums, thousands of people will share a structural footprint of just a few acres. If agriculture land is rezoned for residential and housing tracts take the place of pineapples, it would require hundreds of acres to accommodate the same number of residents that would inhabit a tower or two in Kaka‘ako. Not to mention, development of agriculture land would require building roads and infrastructure and take away from the natural character of the central plateau. It would also add to traffic congestion on the freeways. Because there are several developers building towers in Kaka‘ako, varying degrees of sustainable building practices will be employed in each new construction project. However, an overall master plan for the redevelopment of Kaka‘ako calls for each developer to follow rigid guidelines to create a cohesive sustainable urban community that promotes a live-work-play lifestyle without getting in a vehicle. It accentuates nature when possible and promotes walking, bike riding, public transportation and community events. While there’s no single silver sustainable bullet when it comes to population growth and residential development on O‘ahu, there are best-case scenarios that maximize resources and push the discussion of sustainability forward. Much like the success of rooftop solar in Hawai‘i as a model to others around the globe, Kaka‘ako has the potential to become a sustainable urban utopia in the Pacific. Let’s just hope the vision comes to fruition. —Kevin Whitton Ready to weigh in on the conversation or start your own? Please, raise your voice and send your letters to the editor to What do you have to say? 4

G rE E NM aG a Z I N E H aWa I I . C O M

Published by Element Media, Inc. VOLUME 6 :: NUMBER 1 :: JANUARY/FEBRUARY/MARCH 2014 Publishers Jamie & Naomi Giambrone Associate Publisher E. S. Adler Managing Editor Kevin Whitton Staff Writer Alyssa Fukumoto Contributing Writers Stuart Coleman, Tiffany Hervey, Michael Kramer, Natalie Schack, Blair Townley, Maile Sacarob Woodhall Art Director Keith Usher Contributing Photographers Dave Miyamoto, Kevin Whitton Advertising Director Brian Lewis Publishers' Assistant Chelsea Tsuchida Advertising Inquiries Editorial Inquiries Advisory Board Stuart H. Coleman, Hawaii Coordinator Surfrider Foundation Mike Fairall, Principal RME Mokulua High Performance Builder Alan Hornstein, President Lenox Metals Subscribe and read online at Contact Element Media at 1088 Bishop Street, Suite 1130, Honolulu, HI 96813; 808.737.8711. Follow Green at and Twitter @greenmaghawaii. Green Magazine Hawai‘i is a quarterly publication available through subscription, direct-mail program 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.

ON THE COVER There's nothing that sums up the new vision of Kaka‘ako better than a bicycle. With the erection of residential towers and Complete Streets that promote walking and biking in a live-work-play community, this experiment in urban sustainability could be Hawai‘i's biggest achievement yet.

Cover Photo: Keith Usher


popular posts Facebook friends give a shout out Kokua Hawaii Foundation Great issue! Mahalo for highlighting the great work by so many here in Hawai’i!

North Shore Soap Factory Mahalo for a great event! Congratulations on the relaunch of your fantastic publication and your new partnership with Element Media.

Toby Tamaye Congratulations to my amazing hardworking friends at Element Media (publishers of Pacific Edge Magazine and more) for being the new publisher of GREEN: Hawaii’s sustainable Living Magazine! We know that this magazine will now be taken to the next level and be Hawaii’s go-to information for green living.

Do you have insight, input, opinion, praise or criticism about the stories in Green Magazine Hawai‘i? What are your feelings on issues of sustainability for Hawai‘i and beyond? Raise your voice for others to hear. Make a comment on Facebook or send your letters to the editor to

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The High Life A spectacular ocean to the south and lush mountains to the north frame iconic Honolulu. This limiting geography requires density in order to house a growing population. To handle this need, developers have been building high-rise condominiums in Honolulu since 1961. Any box can provide shelter, but the essence of “home” comes from the intangible qualities of how that space reflects and allows a family to be who they are. THE VIEW —A hallmark of architecture, the better the view the less you have to create other visual stimuli. But along with the view can come scorching afternoon sunlight, so light control becomes crucial (especially if you have artwork or colorful fabrics that you’re trying to protect). Solar shades are my favorite way to control light as they are minimally present when away, can control sunlight penetration and still allow view and


G rE E NM aG a Z I N E H aWa I I . C O M

Photo: Kristin Hart/Pacific Home

High-rise living in Honolulu

are easily paired with blackout shades when additional darkness is required. SPACE —Furniture well scaled to its location is crucial and less is definitely more. Finding ways to multipurpose or define open spaces can become part of the program depending on how well the architect and developer have done their jobs. Consider logistics: a room may be big enough for a huge couch, but are the common halls and the freight elevator? EFFICIENCY —Some of these new towers will undoubtedly be constructed and marketed as “green.” In addition to sustainable building practices, additional

density provides for more walkable neighborhoods and potentially reduced commute times for those who also work nearby. For maximum efficiency, control your acquisitions. Making furniture, even bad furniture, requires a lot of energy and resources, so buying quality pieces with timeless style make both practical and financial sense. —Jeffery Thrun Pacific Home Senior Designer/Maui Showroom Director and ASID Allied Member Jeffery Thrun





Organic Outerwear Warm up for Hawai‘i’s winter A gentle Hawai‘i winter invites lower temperature, fresh trade winds and frequent showers to temper the year-round sunlight, allowing people a unique opportunity to don light layers and enjoy the temporary comfort of a cooler climate. A handful of local clothing companies offer casual options appropriate for the weather change that are not only stylish, but created with quality, eco-conscious materials. —Alyssa Fukumoto

1 Nuinani Men’s Hoodie A one color print on fleece twill, Nuinani’s men’s hoodies use ecofriendly, water-based inks on recycled polyester, organic cotton and natural rayon for a relaxed finish. ($38, available at Nuinani,

2 Lily of Valley Isle Ragland Tunic This long sleeve, belted tunic with coconut shell buttons is a versatile piece that can double as layered outerwear or a blouse for the beach. ($161, available at Lily of Valley Isle,

3 Nuinani Women’s Islands Script Pullover Stylish and sewn with organic and recycled materials, this teal pullover with a merrowed-hem neckline is perfect for a windy day outdoors. ($44, available at Nuinani,


4 Lily Lotus Bamboo Lily Wrap This wrap top, pictured in forest green wash and available in four other shades, is an earthy, versatile piece for casual or formal wear made hypoallergenic and with more than 90 percent bamboo fiber. ($68, available at Lily Lotus,




Sparkling Green

Photo: Honeybee Cleaners

Get it clean with Honey Bee Cleaners Locally owned and operated cleaning company Honey Bee Cleaners has the distinction of being one of the few green cleaning companies recognized by the Hawaii Better Business Bureau and is the only company of its kind accredited by the Green Clean Institute in the islands. Operating for a decade, Honey Bee offers both contractual commercial cleaning and onetime cleaning services on carpets, windows and floors. Over the years, Honey Bee’s dedication to eco-friendly cleaning and efficiency has garnered the company a slew of commercial contracts, including Gordon Biersch, Chili’s Bar & Grill and the U.S. Coast Guard. To give potential customers a better idea of their services, those interested can request a free demonstration from Honey Bee before signing up. For consumers looking to do their own eco-conscious cleaning, Honey Bee partners with cleaning product manufacturer IPC Eagle and janitorial equipment specialist EDIC to offer an online store of cleaning equipment and products, including scrubbers, washers and pure water cleaning systems. —Alyssa Fukumoto

Worm's the Way

Sweat, Not Poison Lawn care gets back to basics

Ridding isle waste with vermicomposting Photo: Kevin Whitton

Landscaping property maintenance typically entails the roar of noisy equipment, the release of exhaust and the use of harsh herbicides or pesticides. Carbon Zero Aina seeks to change the norm by going back to basics with their lawn care services. The company uses reel mowers, hand clippers, rakes and brooms in place of standard two-stroke gas-powered equipment, thereby reducing noise, air and ground pollution. When it comes to plant care, Carbon Zero Aina’s approach uses, according to Chief Operating Officer Scott Gibson, “sweat and hard work” in place of harsh lawn care chemicals, weeding each garden by hand. Gibson’s dedication to being environmentally friendly extends to the disposal of lawn waste as well, with customers allowing Gibson to set up a composting system for each home that turns the organic waste materials back into rich soil. Carbon Zero Aina will deliver the system and continue to maintain it alongside their yard work so customers need only see their lawn transformed by traditional, eco-friendly means of lawn maintenance. —Alyssa Fukumoto

When a home garden is healthy and producing luscious produce, worms never looked so good. Kokua Worms gives gardeners the opportunity to create nutrient rich soil and reduce their waste by way of vermicomposting. They also offer worms and worm habitats to process organic waste. Feeding the worms not only provides an odorless, pathogen-free alternative to throwing items in a plastic trash bag, it diverts products from local waste streams and produces vermicast, which returns nutrients back to the soil and plants, just as nature intended. Recycling with composting worms can also be beneficial to aquaponic systems, where worms process fish waste to keep plant trays clear of fish waste buildup. Kokua Worms provides support for the vermicomposting-inclined by offering how-to workshops for beginners and harvesting services for those busy worm owners who may not have the time to clean and re-bed their worm base. —Alyssa Fukumoto




Fueling sustainability

Alaska Airlines celebrated six years of serving Hawai'i last October and with 25 daily departures from four islands, they have become a key player in the local visitor industry and economy. What continues to set the airline apart, however, is its dedication to maintaining and growing its green initiative. In conjunction with an in-flight recycling program, Alaska Airlines signed an agreement with Hawai‘i BioEnergy to purchase sustainable biofuel for its aircrafts. Alaska Airlines’ support of Hawai‘i BioEnergy, who plans to use locally-grown feedstock to produce biofuels, is helping BioEnergy increase production of sustainable fuels in the islands within the next five years. According to Alaska Air’s regional manager Daniel Chun, once the company receives regulatory approval for production, which they should receive within a few months’ time, the airline can begin using sustainable jet fuels for its Hawai‘i flights by fall 2018. —Alyssa Fukumoto

Photo: Hawaiian Paddle Sports

Alaska Airlines unveils a new green initiative

Travel Pono Protecting Hawai‘i’s unique environment and culture through responsible travel

Photo: Alaska Airlines

While tourism brings many benefits to the state of Hawai‘i, there are also negative impacts associated with the state’s economic driver. To help mitigate tourism’s footprint, the Sustainable Tourism Certification Program, developed by the local non-profit Hawaii Ecotourism Association (HEA), provides an independent verification system to distinguish industry leaders in sustainable tourism, offers education for those trying to improve and helps ensure the long-term viability of tourism in Hawai‘i.

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For more than a decade HEA, with the support of the Hawaii Tourism Authority, has worked with tour operators, state agencies, environmental organizations, educators and community members to build this evaluation program that reflects best practices for Hawai‘i’s tourism industry and brings benefits to visitors, tour operators and residents alike. This January, tour operators will begin signing up for the latest round of certification to be awarded in May. A five-star certification system will allow people to easily identify industry leaders and recognize tour operators that are working to become the best. — Chris Barzman GrEENMaG aZ INE HaWaII.COM



Searching for Environmental and Social Justice New books by Roz Savage and Louis Herman are personal journeys that explore the interplay between society and the natural world Reviews by Stuart Coleman

Future Primal: How Our Wilderness Origins Show Us the Way Forward (New World Library, 2013)

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For decades, local author Louis Herman struggled to write a book that would capture his own strange odyssey from South Africa to England to Israel and finally to Hawai‘i, while also incorporating a political history of the human search for truth, equality and the best form of government. Herman’s new book Future Primal encapsulates this quest and is the culmination of his life’s work. What started out as a young man’s PhD dissertation has evolved over the years into an older professor’s intriguing hybrid of political philosophy and personal narrative. The central theme revolves around Socrates’ most famous question: How should we live? In all of his research and travels, Herman has been driven by this “primal truth quest” to find the best way to live as individuals and as a democratic society.


The author’s personal narrative is the beating heart of the book and his vivid stories pump energy into his survey of human history. Traveling back to South Africa, which he calls “the birthplace of humanity,” Herman describes his primal experiences in the African wilderness with the San Bushmen, the world’s oldest tribe. He also gets caught up in the Zionist movement and travels to Israel to live in the modern tribal community of Israel’s kibbutz system. After joining the Israeli Defense Force, he begins to see the systematic oppression of the Palestinians as a painful flashback of apartheid. Seeking shelter from the futility of war, Herman finds peace in Hawai‘i, where he pursues his PhD in political science. Over the last thirty years, he has integrated his personal experiences and philosophical insights into an in-depth study of how modern democracy has gone off the rails—politically, economically and environmentally. Herman’s diagnosis of free market capitalism’s cancerous growth is better than his prognosis for a cure, but the author does provide a vision for the future and a plan for recovery.

Stop Drifting, Start Rowing (Hay House, Inc., 2013)

In the summer of 2008, a British woman named Roz Savage rowed a 23-foot metal boat from San Francisco to Honolulu in just over three months. She had already crossed the Atlantic years before and this epic voyage was just one of three legs across the entire Pacific Ocean. In her new book Stop Drifting, Start Rowing, Savage writes in vivid detail about her wild odyssey to become the first woman to row solo across the world’s largest oceans. But equally intriguing is the backstory of her personal journey and transformation. A rower at Oxford University, Savage decided to become a corporate climber after college. She eventually worked her way up to a high-paid job as a consultant, a nice flat in London, a sports car and all the trappings of material success. The author describes that pivotal moment when she realized how unhappy she was and decided to change everything. “I sat down at the dining-room table and wrote two versions of my own obituary—the one I wanted, and the one I was heading for,” she writes. “I realized then that I needed to make a major course correction if I was ever to find happiness and meaning in my life.” What would compel her to walk away from a high-paying job, nice house, sleek car and all the things she had always wanted? After taking a long retreat in the country to meditate, read and reconnect with nature, Savage had an “environmental epiphany.” Once a disciple of free-market capitalism, she realized the endless appetite for more possessions was only polluting the environment. Rediscovering her love of rowing and being on the ocean, Savage became an eco-voyager. She decided to use her epic voyages as a platform to bring awareness to looming disasters like marine plastic pollution, the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, climate change and sea level rise. As Roz Savage’s book reveals, we can continue buying into pop culture’s mindless consumerism and wasteful ways or we can lead a more conscious lifestyle and do our part to protect the environment that sustains us. Either way, we write our own obituaries; it’s up to us to decide the legacy we will leave behind.

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Outstanding in the Field

Photo: Jim Denevan

It doesn’t get any fresher than eating in the field

Make your way to a table set amidst a field of green, rows of lush vegetables at your feet and a view of a mountain range flushed golden afternoon sunshine, as you partake in savory dishes made with the fresh ingredients around you. Pair that with the right bottle of wine and such is the experience when farmdinner group Outstanding in the Field (OITF) returns to Hawai‘i January 29 through February 5 with its unique outdoor culinary events set to take place on Maui, Kaua‘i, O‘ahu and Hawai‘i Island at various farms, dairies and ranches. Elevating the farm-to-table, quality dining experience, renowned local guest chefs serve their gourmet creations at the very source of some of their fresh ingredients. Since the event’s conception in 1999, OITF has worked to create a connection between diners and the origins of their food, including a unique opportunity to introduce patrons to the farmers and culinary experts responsible for meals. Guests are treated to wine, hors d'oeuvres and a tour of the host site before sitting down to a four-course, family-style meal with participating farmers, ranchers, fisherman and chefs among the natural beauty of the islands’ food sources. — Alyssa Fukumoto

Upcountry Vineyard Getting sideways at Maui Winery

Photo: Randy Jay Braun

The drive to Maui Winery at Ulupalakua Ranch is an experience in itself, undulating hills up to Haleakala’s peak and a view of the ocean below, the mom and pop shops of Keokea, even a tunnel of 100-year-old trees marking the entrance to Maui’s historic winery and vineyard. Now, approximately 40 years after the first batch of grapes was planted on the slopes of Haleakala, the 2012 Ho'okela E-Commerce Retail Business of the Year’s selection has grown to include a variety of grape, pineapple and raspberry wines. Located at the heart of the Ulupalakua Ranch, a place of relaxation for “Merrie Monarch” King Kalakaua, guests are invited to visit their tasting room for a complimentary sip of everything from the signature Maui Brut served at President Ronald Reagan’s inauguration to Hula O' Maui pineapple sparkling wine, winner of the Gold Medal Award and 90 points at the 2012 Los Angeles International Wine & Spirits Competition. They also sample unreleased offerings exclusive to the winery. Patrons can take a walking tour among botanical gardens and original lava rock buildings to get a behind-the-scenes look at the winemaking process. Organized tours and groups of 10 or more can make arrangements for private tours and tastings. Maui Winery also hosts “Sunday Drive” events in conjunction with Ulupalakua Ranch, encouraging guests to spend their Sunday on the grounds for relaxation, live music, historical sessions or performances and wine tastings. —Alyssa Fukumoto


Eat Fresh

Three island restaurants offer quality and taste in local and organic dining

The Modern Cosmopolitan chic resort The Modern Honolulu provides ambience along with quality eats. Whether guests choose to dine by candlelight in The Grove lounge area, in The Passageway, the lush alcove overlooking the ocean or in the comfort of their hotel rooms, Executive Chef Scott Toner imbues each menu item with liberal amounts of locally-sourced and organic ingredients. His unique philosophy is to buy better rather

Photo: The Modern Honolulu

With strengthening ties between small local farmers and conscious restaurateurs, farm-to-table restaurants are springing up all across the state. These eateries pride themselves in using fresh products grown and raised by local farmers and ranchers, creating menu items that offer patrons a true taste of the islands. —Alyssa Fukumoto

than in bulk, evident in the use of Maui gold pineapples, fresh fish from island waters, salad greens and vegetables from North Shore-based Ho family farms, organic dairy and farm-fresh brown eggs in his dishes. Cuts of salmon undergo a two-day curing process on-property while Toner and his team work on crafting spice mixtures, dough, ice cream and sorbet all from scratch.

Cactus Bistro

Photos: 12th Ave. Grill

Photos: John Memering

Cactus combines the flavors of Mexico and South America with the fresh ingredients of the islands for a menu selection that is muy sabroso. Owner and Executive Chef John Memering’s Latin recipes employ locally-sourced ingredients from 18 to 20 local farmers and ranchers on a weekly basis, allowing him to incorporate Kahuku corn into tacos and ‘Ewa pineapples into Argentinean fry bread. The bistro recently struck up a partnership with O‘ahu Fresh, which delivers CSA boxes of primarily organic local produce. People subscribed to the program can pick them up and then treat themselves to some croquetas with Big Island goat cheese, Shinsato Farm’s pork al pastor tacos and other dishes along with handcrafted, signature cocktails.

12th Ave. Grill Chef and owner Kevin Hanney reopened 12th Ave. Grill just down the street from its original location with a clean, modern façade and a continued commitment to producing foods with fresh, local ingredients. The eatery’s seating has doubled and now includes a modern wood bar serving their traditional fare of local craft beer on tap, seasonal limited edition brews from award-winning Big Island Brewhaus, house signature cocktails made from Kula strawberries, local mango, honey and liliko‘i and a burger courtesy of Maui Cattle Company. The restaurant’s private dining room offers a locally-sourced, farm-totable custom menu as well as a whole animal menu with Shinsato Farms pork, Maui Cattle Company grass-fed lamb, beef or venison and Hawaii Ranchers or Kulana beef. GREENMAGAZ INE HAWA II.COM



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Knowledge from leaders in sustainability Cathy Lee President and Designer of Cathy Lee Style, Cathy's Marketplace and reStyle Hawaii 1. Why are designers and homeowners gravitating toward eco-conscious home design?

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2. Have you noticed any recent trends in sustainable home design? In both design and décor, people are mixing sustainable elements like rustic reclaimed wood with glamorous elements like chrome, crystal and acrylic. You’re seeing this not only in furniture, but in fixtures and finishes as well. It's my favorite look and one you'll see a lot of in my new store, reStyle Hawaii in Kaka‘ako.

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I feel that when it comes to an element of home design, people need to see that it’s not just a trend. So while ecoconsciousness in general has really taken off in the last few years, it’s usually after people start seeing eco-friendly home design in magazines and on TV that they realize it’s not only something good to do, but it’s also beautiful and achievable. And as a designer, it's exciting to see all the new sustainable products that are now available on the market. It makes it so much easier to be creative and conscious at the same time.

3. What are a few easy ways to spruce up a room with sustainable elements? A fun, fresh way is to incorporate reclaimed wood for shelving. Wood that comes with a history is hot and it looks fabulous juxtaposed with materials like Lucite or wrought iron. Be creative and find brackets from old furniture or shelves and create a one-of-a-kind piece to reflect your personal style.

Farm to Tattoo

‘Ohana Organics brings organic tattoo care to the islands Moving to California was a difficult transition for Hawai‘i-born Tara Cooper. She sought comfort by bringing the scents of the islands with her by creating ‘Ohana Organics with her family in 2000. The venture began with solid organic perfumes of pikake, plumeria and gardenia. Soon the product line expanded to include a range of skin softeners, salves and their newest offering, tattoo butter. The butter, created at the behest of tattooed friends who were fans of ‘Ohana Organics salves, employs organic herbs and soothing shea butter to heal and preserve new skin art. Tara and husband Matt obtain the herbs used in their products from their own Humboldt County garden, which is harvested, dried, packaged and distributed by the couple and their children. A true family endeavor, their hands-on, garden-toshelf approach ensures that each of their offerings is 95 percent or more organic. ‘Ohana Organics tattoo butter is available in select tattoo parlors on O‘ahu and Hawai‘i Island. —Alyssa Fukumoto


Laundry detergent that grows on trees You've heard of foraging in the forest for food, but how about for laundry detergent? If that seems odd, you probably don’t know about the soapberry. w named, these miraculous fruits are from plants in the genus Sapindus and contain a natural detergent called saponin. There are several species found in warm temperate and tropical regions of the world, from the Chinese soapberry tree to Hawai‘i’s own ma-nele, also called the O‘ahu soapberry. Soapberries, although a fruit, are commonly referred to as soap nuts. They are a globular fruit about the size of a gumball. When mixed with water, the concentrated saponin in the dried fruit works like regular commercial laundry detergent, lifting dirt, grime and odors from clothes and linens. Simply throw four to five nuts in a small, porous cloth bag and toss it in with your clothes, instead of detergent. Remember to remove the cloth bag of berries before you throw your laundry into the drier. Typically, a bag of four to five soap nuts will clean four to five loads of laundry unless you wash with very hot water, which will extract the saponin much more quickly. Once they are spent, simply toss them in the compost. For people with skin problems like eczema or dermatitis, soapberries are a gentle, effective way to clean clothes without chemicals that may irritate the skin. They are also a safe alternative to detergents for those that reuse their gray water in the yard. —Blair Townley

Photo: Ho‘ala Spa

Photo: Blair Townley

Photo: Ohana-Organics


The Rise of Relaxation Continued success for an award-winning spa

Ho‘ala Spa is fittingly tucked into a corner of Ala Moana Center between brightly lit, high-end clothing boutiques and a multistory, luxury department store. By consistently providing luxury product and quality service to its customers, the locally-owned enterprise emerged a winner in the Best of Honolulu Awards 2013 for the third consecutive year. The salon, which features a collection of Aveda’s natural and eco-sensitive products for everything from haircuts, coloring services and waxing to¬ nail care, massages and full body treatments, picked up their Best of Honolulu awards for being the Readers’ Pick Best Hair Salon, as well as Best Spa. They were also named the Editors’ Pick for the best place for mommies-to-be massages. The salon opened in 2010 when owners Lititia and Michael Thomas bought the business from Aveda and changed the location’s name to Ho‘ala Spa, meaning “to rise up.” —Alyssa Fukumoto




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A NEW BEAUTY BEAUTY STARTS WITHIN EXPERIENCE AWAITS Find beauty of greater depth and artistry at our new Aveda Concept Salon — plus a holistic experience to boost your well-being. You’ll receive complimentary Aveda Rituals of Renewal —and you’ll find the complete plant-powered Aveda line, so you can bring pure-formance™ home. Book your appointment today.

Find beauty of greater depth and artistry at Ho’ala Salon and Spa— plus a holistic experience to boost Findyour other Aveda locations well-being. You’ll receive comat 800.328.0849 or plimentary Aveda Rituals of Renewal—and you’ll find the complete plant-powered Aveda line, so you can bring pure-formance™ home.


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In early 2013, a group of students at the University of Hawai‘i at Ma-noa’s Surfrider Quad Club proved it really only takes a few, passionate people to make a big difference. They decided to tackle the widespread use and litter of expanded polystyrene (EPS) foam products on campus. Better known as styrofoam, this form of plastic foodware is bad for both the environment and human health. EPS foam is one of the least recycled, most toxic and frequently littered types of plastic. Easily broken up into pieces and blown out to sea, these floating bits of EPS foam are often mistaken as food and ingested by marine creatures, including endangered sea turtles and seabirds. The Centers for Disease Control and the National Institutes of Health are expected to confirm that styrene, a main component in EPS foam, is a human carcinogen; exposure to styrene is already attributed to respiratory and neurological disorders. The student and volunteer campaign demanded an end to EPS foam at campus food vendors in support of eco-friendly alternatives. One thousand signatures and several meetings later, a draft policy was submitted, revised and passed. With the support of Chancellor Tom Apple, the University of Hawai‘i at Ma-noa Sus-

tainability Council and several other stakeholders, this student-led campaign was successful after just a few months. In August, the on-campus Jamba Juice made the switch away from EPS foam cups so students can now enjoy their smoothies out of cups sourced from paper. A growing number of local eateries offer reusable or compostable products and more and more people can be seen using their own plates and forks. Building on the success of Hawai‘i’s plastic bag ban, the Surfrider Foundation and many other environmental organizations hope to eventually create a ban on EPS foam products at county and state levels. —Doorae Shin


Breathing Easy O‘ahu’s new smoking ban

Photos: B.E.A.C.H

Cigarette butts are the most littered plastic items on Hawai‘i’s beaches and in the world. Each little nicotene delivery vehicle contains 4,000 chemicals including arsenic, hydrogen cyanide and formaldehyde. Cigarette butts are no ordinary litter, they are dangerous, toxic waste. When high tide washes cigarette butts into the ocean, the chemicals leach out within an hour of contact with the water and can kill fish. To stamp out cigarette butt litter, a new law banning smoking at all City and County of Honolulu parks is now in effect. Bill 25 bans smoking at beaches, parks, playgrounds, swimming pools, tennis courts, athletic fields, botanical gardens, beach right-of-ways, park roadways and all recreation areas. The fines in place for offenders are $100 for the first offense, $200 for the second and $500 for the third. Beach Environmental Awareness Campaign Hawai‘i (B.E.A.C.H.) developed educational materials to inform residents and visitors about the new smoking ban at beaches, including Bill 72, which banned smoking at Waik k , Ala Moana and Sandy Beach in 2013. B.E.A.C.H. volunteers have long been tackling the cigarette butt pollution problem and have picked up thousands of cigarette butts off beaches. In 2007 at Sandy Beach, volunteers collected and counted over 5,000 butts. Last year, one day after the new “Smoking Prohibited by Law” signs went up at Sandy Beach, volunteers with B.E.A.C.H. found just over 1,800 butts. At Kaimana Beach last year, three weeks after signs went up, B.E.A.C.H. volunteers found only 102 butts. —Suzanne Frazer




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Tropical Connection Jordan Dodson discovers creativity in the islands

Photo: Casey Fegley

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Artist Jordan Dodson’s career is a childhood dream realized. “I always stood out as that artsy kid,” Dodson laughs, recalling a childhood of private art lessons and creative thinking encouraged by an art-loving mother and sister. It was no surprise to anyone that she chose to pursue a bachelor’s in art education and take graduate art courses at the University of Hawai‘i at Ma-noa. A fan of Georgia O’Keeffe from adolescence, the Pennsylvania native was in awe of and inspired by the beauty of the islands’ beaches, plants and landscapes. O’Keeffe’s influence on Dodson’s work is also palpable in their shared penchant for depicting nature up-close. Now a stay-at-home mother of two, she paints alongside her children, adding color to canvas in a bid to capture the Pali Coast, the island fern and the ocean currents. The encouragement of both her family and Facebook backers propelled Dodson into shopping her artwork at local galleries. She got her big break at The thomadro Gallery in Hale‘iwa, where she quickly creating several pieces for her first showcase. She now has a large wall space at thomadro dedicated to her work, as well as pieces in five other galleries around O‘ahu. In addition to working on commissions, gallery work and selling online, Dodson enjoys donating art to auctions that raise money for Hospice Hawaii, Make a Wish, Team Red White and Blue and several schools. She also began teaching private art classes from her home attended by several of the neighborhood children, effectively recreating her own childhood environment. —Alyssa Fukumoto

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Kapa Hawaii Traditional artwork in a modern age

Grind the material to make dye. Strip the bark. Pound to soften. A colleague of novice kapa toolmaker and artist Dalani Tanahy tapped her to teach a kapa-centric arts and sciences course at Na-nakuli Elementary School in the late 1990s. Surprised yet thankful for the opportunity to pursue her passion, the exposure brought Dalani future commissions, steadily increasing her workflow while maintaining her passion for kapa for the next 20 years. As proud owner of Kapa Hawaii, Dalani finds herself working on commissions, teaching courses, answering inquiries and preparing collections for galleries. “Part of the whole backstory of kapa is that it all comes from the individual,” Dalani says. “I grew and cut the tree, carved the tools, gathered the dyes, everything.” This creates not only an intimate connection between the artist and her work, but allows her to make each piece unique to fit the person or place. A prime example occurred when Dalani was asked to make a kapa piece for the Dalai Lama on his visit to the islands. She chose turmeric for its ancient Hawaiian use of spiritual cleansing, turning the scarf a brilliant yellow and decorating it with a print of mountain ranges to represent the Himalayas. Whether she is teaching, brainstorming design ideas or handcrafting a new design, Dalani is certain she chose the right path. “I’m a professional kapa maker and I pound tree bark for living,” she says happily. “This has all been a blessing.” —Alyssa Fukumoto Photo: Kapa Hawaii

Kale-ribbean Breeze™ 18


Photo: E. Edwards


Cheers, Prost, ‘Okole Maluna Celebrating the 19th Annual Kona Brewers Festival More than 40 breweries from around the country, alongside 40 Hawai‘i chefs, will take part in the annual Kona Brewers Festival. The multi-day anniversary celebration of Kona Brewing Company marks the introduction of its signature local brews to the islands nearly two decades ago. The festival expects a regular turnout of over 2,000 attendees at the Courtyard King Kamehameha’s Kona Beach Hotel. Participants will get the chance to experience savory food and brew samplings alongside a slew of activities. This year’s main-stage event kicks off with live entertainment, a selection of gourmet food from Hawai‘i Island’s top restaurants and brew pour samplings. The annual Trash Fashion Show is back to promote recycling by way of quirky outfits made entirely of recycled materials. The lineup of special events begins with the Brewers’ Pa‘ina Dinner. Each gourmet course is emphasized by locally-sourced ingredients and the incorporation of beer into the recipes. In addition, the dishes are paired with a select Kona Brewing Company beer. While enjoying the meal, guests can take part in a silent art auction or sit back and enjoy some Hawaiian-style live entertainment. For more interactive shenanigans, the festival hosts a golf tournament, 18 holes of one-day friendly competition, as well as the Run for the Hops 5K or 10K races with post-race beer tasting. Local amateur beer-makers also have the chance to enter the Homebrewers competition sponsored by the American Homebrewers Association, in which judges will evaluate entries from 28 different types of beers, meads and ciders. This fundraising event not only spotlights the revolution of local craft brewery, but also supports various local charities while entertaining beer connoisseurs island wide. —Alyssa Fukumoto

Photo: Bay G. Dohie

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†Toyota Hawaii Care is complimentary with any new Toyota vehicle purchased. Covers normal factory-scheduled service for 2 years or 20,000 miles, whichever occurs first. Subject to change without notice. Toyota vehicle may not be part of a rental or commercial/government fleet or a taxi vehicle. See a Toyota Hawaii Dealer for additional details.

Photos: Hawaiian Electric Company


Get Connected HECO spokesman Peter Rosegg discusses HECO’s September 2013 rule change that put in place a pre-approval process for rooftop solar systems Interview by Kevin Whitton GREEN: There was an outcry from O‘ahu solar contractors in September 2013 when Hawaiian Electric Company (HECO) announced it would immediately be requiring that an application for a net energy metering (NEM) agreement be submitted to the utility before any new rooftop PV system—10 kW and under—could be installed and connected to the grid. Until that time, small residential PV systems could be installed and connected to the grid before submitting a NEM application. Why did Hawaiian Electric roll out these new requirements during the busiest time of the year for solar installations? Rosegg: Solar growth in Hawai‘i has been faster and greater in the last two and a half years than anyone predicted, since the Japan earthquake and tsunami resulted in record high electricity prices. Hawai‘i leads the nation in rooftop solar installations and total solar watts per customer, far ahead of any other utility in how much and how fast customers are connecting PV to the utility grid. More PV was added on O‘ahu in 2012 than all previous years combined. Nearly 10 percent of our customers now have rooftop PV,



much more than anywhere else. California utilities—much larger and interconnected to regional and national grids for reliability—have only two percent to three percent. That means Hawai‘i utilities are dealing with safety and reliability challenges no other utility in the nation has faced. As we gain more experience with such high levels of PV on our system and evaluate solutions, we have continued to push integration to higher levels. In September [2013], we made changes to help more customers install PV without safety studies and equipment upgrades. At the same time, with the more liberal threshold that allows higher levels of PV, for safety and reliability in those neighborhoods with a lot of PV, an interconnection study to determine potential safety upgrades might be needed before those systems can be energized. Some of the solar contractors thought the timing of the rule change was a strategic low blow. The sole reason for the change in procedures was concern for safety and reliability.

Q & A PETER ROSEGg The pre-approval rule change shocked many O‘ahu solar contractors, but this practice has been in place on the neighbor islands for years, is that correct? Is HECO now requiring a pre-approval on all O‘ahu rooftop PV systems, even in low grid saturation areas?

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Filing a net metering application with the utility before installing and interconnecting has been required at Maui Electric and Hawaii Electric Light Company for some time. O‘ahu is now in line with that procedure. Many circuits on O‘ahu can accept added solar without studies or upgrades; those applications are processed quickly. Contractors and customers are now asked to file a NEM application for projects on all circuits at the start of the process. PV levels change rapidly and it would be confusing to ask for applications to be filed for some circuits and not others.


In HECO’s September 2013 press release, the news of the preapproval process rule change really overshadowed the rest of the press release in the local media, which also stated that Hawaiian Electric would be enabling more small PV systems—10 kW and under—to be added without potentially time-consuming interconnection studies and possible safety upgrades, so that more people will be able to connect to rooftop solar. How will HECO accomplish this goal?

rabbit ears?

Enabling more small, residential size PV systems to be added without an interconnection study and possible safety upgrades was done in recognition of the important role PV plays. It is a valuable part of the mix of renewable resources we need to meet Hawai‘i’s clean energy goals. We also recognize that it is an important option to help some of our customers cope with high electric bills. That is why, based on utility studies and experience with growing levels of rooftop solar, we have continued to push the integration to higher levels. At the same time, once the amount of PV on a circuit reaches the more liberal threshold, it is important to consider whether an interconnection review is necessary to ensure additional PV systems can be interconnected safely and without degrading reliable electric service. Previously, when PV levels were lower, O‘ahu customers were allowed to interconnect their PV systems while they were awaiting final Hawaiian Electric approval of their net energy metering contract. In November 2013, you stated there are nine utility-scale PV projects on proposal that could eventually help power O‘ahu more cost effectively. Does Hawaiian Electric favor this type of largescale solar installation because Hawaiian Electric retains control and ownership of the power produced and can continue to make a profit from ratepayers, whereas rooftop solar is more monetarily beneficial for a homeowner who only has to pay the small monthly connection fee? Like most renewable energy choices, it is not “either/or” but “all of the above.” We support both utility-scale and rooftop solar. Utilityscale PV at prices far cheaper than oil can lower bills for all our customers, including many who cannot take advantage of rooftop PV on their home because they are renters, live in high-rises or simply do not have the money or credit rating to get PV. Rooftop PV helps individual customers who own single-family homes to virtually eliminate their electric bills. Both solutions are important, as part of a statewide renewable energy mix that also includes wind, waste-to-energy, biofuels, biomass, hydro and geothermal.

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fossil fuel? There’s just a better way of doing things Like how you get your energy


Q & A PETER ROSEgg The Public Utilities Commission rules apply a “cost causation” principle. That means when an individual customer requires a particular upgrade that benefits only that customer or a small cluster of customers, the customer who benefits directly from the upgrade is expected to pay for it. Does it seem fair to ask customers who cannot benefit from rooftop solar to pay for upgrades that directly benefit only those who can add solar to their rooftops? We have taken steps to reduce the potential impact of such costs on the customers who do have to pay. We’ve initiated special planning studies to identify the right protective equipment. Individual DG customers will not be charged for these studies. We have set up a cost-sharing model to minimize the financial impact to any single customer. What advice do you have for homeowners in one of the saturated areas on O‘ahu who still want to get a rooftop solar system? Should they go ahead and talk to contractors? Will they be able to get approval? If so, how long will it take them?

Peter Rosegg has been a spokesman for Hawaiian Electric Company since 2003. For many years before that, he was a reporter and editorial writer for The Honolulu Advertiser. He has taught journalism, public relations, marketing, writing and public speaking (not all at the same time) at the University of Hawai‘i at Ma-noa and Hawai‘i Pacific University.



Hawaiian Electric is negotiating with developers of nine proposed large solar projects on O‘ahu offering nearly 250 megawatts of electricity at prices lower than any other renewable projects on O‘ahu and far lower than the cost of oil-fired electricity. If the Public Utilities Commission ultimately approves agreements, these will be privately owned and operated. Hawaiian Electric takes no mark up and makes no profit on electricity purchased from independent power producers or on fuel for its own power stations. (Separately, Hawaiian Electric is proposing a solar facility next to Kahe Power Plant to supply electricity at similarly low prices.) These low prices will benefit every customer on O‘ahu.

By all means, all those interested in adding solar, no matter where they live, should consult contractors. A reputable solar contractor will help a customer size the system properly, explain the interconnection process that may include delays and additional costs, submit a complete and accurate net metering application to the utility and wait for utility approval before installing and interconnecting the system to the grid. Systems with battery backup must also be reviewed by the utility to ensure the interconnection is done right. Does everyone have the right to put a rooftop solar system on their house? Everyone has the right, within the limits of applicable regulations. For example, a building permit and meeting electrical codes is required before adding rooftop solar.

In heavily saturated areas where people still want to put up rooftop solar, why does the responsibility of paying for upgrades to the grid fall into the ratepayer’s pocketbook? Shouldn’t Hawaiian Electric pay for circuit upgrades to modernize their own utility to keep up with technology and the unprecedented consumer demand for rooftop solar here in Hawai‘i? Otherwise, it looks as if Hawaiian Electric is trying to stammer the demand and growth of rooftop solar and green lighting large-scale projects instead.

Most people with rooftop solar want to be connected to the grid to get power at night and at times when the system does not provide enough electricity to meet their needs—and to get the financial benefits of net metering. To be connected to the grid, one must conform to requirements in place to ensure one’s own safety and reliable service and that of one’s neighbors, whether or not they have PV. These requirements also protect utility crews and utility equipment, which all must pay for if damaged.

Hawaiian Electric spends hundreds of millions of dollars a year to upgrade and modernize the grid annually. In 2013, our utilities have already invested $235 million in capital improvements to modernize our grid, improve reliability and support the integration of clean energy. These planned, staged upgrades ultimately benefit all users of the grid and are paid for by all customers in our monthly electric bills.

Anyone wishing to disconnect totally from the grid and not use its services does not need permission from the utility to install a PV system.


Everybody Needs A Helping Hand Cultivating Hawai‘i’s green economy Hawai‘i is in the midst of a green economy boom. One of the top states in the nation for green job growth, Hawai‘i is seeing a rise in renewable energy and green building at commercial and residential levels, while green purchasing continues to expand as more businesses promote their local and sustainable products and services. Building the green economy in Hawai‘i goes far beyond building and energy issues, however. It involves responsible and sustainable practices that any business large and small can employ. Sustainable business practices address everything from labor, human rights and governance, to procurement, community involvement and environmental responsibility. Expanding the green economy requires helping businesses improve their sustainable practices, while enabling consumers to find these businesses and understand the larger importance of local and sustainable purchasing. This, in turn, facilitates a local and national policy environment that supports sustainable business policies and practices, while incubating and financing social enterprises to help them succeed. It’s a tall order, but Hawai‘i is moving in this direction. Here are some of the key organizations creating a ripe environment for successful green businesses. • The Sustainability Association of Hawaii (SAH) is a membership organization dedicated to educating businesses about green business practices, championing the B Corp certification process as the highest national triple-bottom-line operational standard providing benefits for owners, employees, customers, the community and the environment. Currently, only five of the 875 certified B Corps are based in Hawai‘i. SAH is also the official Hawai‘i partner of the American Sustainable Business Council, enabling local businesses to chime in on national legislative efforts that grow the green economy. SAH is also the primary resource on Hawai‘i’s own Sustainable Business Corporation, a corporate structure signed into law in 2011 that illustrates the independently verified benefits a business produces for society. (

By Michael Kramer

• HI Impact is an association of investors, sustainable businesses and capacity-building organizations seeking to expand investment in Hawai‘i’s socially responsible and environmental enterprises. The impact investing field is blossoming across the country and HI Impact’s conferences and workshops are sharing with the financial and entrepreneurship community in Hawai‘i what “impact” means and how deals are structured. HI Impact is also in the planning stages of a Hawaii Community Loan Fund to make loans and mentor social enterprises, filling in the financing gap between banks, government agency financing and venture capital. ( • HI Impact is also working to catalyze HUB Honolulu in Kaha‘ako, which is poised to be one of 40 HUBs on five continents worldwide that cultivate the social enterprise community through events and individual and enterprise collaborations that can address community needs to help businesses succeed. ( • On the neighbor islands, Malama Kaua‘i’s Green Business Program and smartphone app help people identify green businesses on the island, while the Big Island’s Hawaii Alliance for a Local Economy operates a Think Local Buy Local program and directory to encourage local, sustainable purchasing. (,

Michael Kramer is Managing Partner of Natural Investments (, Hawai‘i’s only investment advisor exclusively managing sustainable, responsible and impact investment portfolios. Michael serves on the steering committee of the Hawaii Alliance for a Local Economy and the American Sustainable Business Council.



Photos: Kevin Whitton


Understanding Superfoods From high end to humble, optimize your daily intake

It seems every trip to the grocery store these days garners the discovery of a trendy new superfood that is housed in snazzy packaging. With magic bullet marketing claims that promise glowing results and extreme health benefits, this category can easily overwhelm and mislead shoppers. Some superfoods popular in the last few years include chia seeds, acai, goji berries, spirulina, flaxseed, matcha and quinoa, to name a few. But what qualifies these foods as “super?” Generally, superfoods have much higher levels of antioxidants and micronutrients, such as vitamins and minerals, than your average ingredient. And there’s no denying that many shoppers could benefit from increasing their intake of nutrient dense foods such as these. However, the monthly costs of some superfoods and superfood derived supplements can quickly put a dent in the average shopper’s food budget and give healthy eating an undeserved reputation of being elitist and expensive. For instance chia, goji, spirulina and others can have hefty price tags. However, there are more humble foods that are considered superfoods not bolstered by hefty marketing campaigns that provide great nutrition for a fraction of the cost. Dry goods purchased in the bulk


GrE E NM a G a Z I N E H aWa I I . C O M

food sections of health food stores can be anti-oxidant superstars packed with protein and fiber to boot. Some of the highest antioxidant levels per serving in the bulk section can be found in black beans, lentils, Brazil nuts, walnuts and hibiscus tea. Loose tea can also provide anti-oxidants and help make mundane water a little more exciting. Keep in mind that cold brewed teas retain even more antioxidants than the same tea prepared hot. The produce section can contain a wealth of more affordable superfood staples. Kale, collards, mustard greens, sweet potatoes, purple cabbage and beets all have a high nutrient density per serving and can be much more affordable than other packaged ingredients or meals. Cooked and seasoned simply or incorporated into stews, curries, stir-fry and more, these ingredients can be tastily integrated into many different meals. Not only are some mass marketed superfood products expensive, they can also be highly processed versions of the original powerhouse plant or seed. Powdered, juiced, baked, encapsulated, dehydrated and otherwise processed, these superstars may still have nutritional benefit, however, when sourced in whole form, superfoods can often be found much cheaper, fresher and have more nutrients that are bio-available to the body.

Health & Wellness superfoods

If improving health through diet is a priority, checking the bulk or produce section for these alternative superfoods is a budget conscious route to a robust constitution. If you are feeling even more adventurous and thrifty, Hawai‘i’s weather is the perfect excuse to explore your green thumb. Easily grown in Hawai‘i, noni, kale, collards, beets, turmeric (olena), broccoli, sweet potatoes, moringa and most other dark leafy greens can thrive in most backyards. Diversity in diet is a crucial component to vibrant health and keeps the taste buds guessing. Keep in mind, regularly eating fresh superfoods will not erase the negative effects of a diet otherwise com-

prised of packaged meals or take out. However, gradually swapping out processed foods (things that come in boxes and/or have ad campaigns) for whole food snacks and meals made from scratch using superfoods and other high quality whole ingredients, will do wonders for the body’s long term capability to maintain health and fight off chronic disease. Rather than buying that new exotic fruit in a fancy package, simply allocating some budget on upgrading diet staples to local and organic. Choose mainstays over marketing by purchasing more high quality fresh foods like dark greens, colorful tubers, dried legumes and high quality teas. —Blair Townley




Super Green Soup (Serves 4) • • • •

• • • •

1 onion, chopped 1 cup peas 4 cups water 6 to 8 large handfuls of dark leafy greens, washed and chopped (use any combination of collards, dandelion greens, rainbow chard, kale or moringa) 4 tablespoons unpasteurized miso (found in the refrigerated section) Juice of 1 lemon 4 tablespoons tahini paste (optional) Unpasteurized soy sauce or coconut aminos to taste

Place 1 chopped onion and 1 cup peas in a medium saucepan. Cover with 4 cups water and bring to a boil. Add the chopped dark leafy greens. Steam/blanch briefly until greens are emerald in color. Add 4 tablespoons miso and juice of 1 lemon. Use an immersion blender or transfer to countertop blender to puree the contents of the pot (including liquid). Ladle into bowls, stir in optional tahini and soy sauce. Serve immediately.

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Gardening Organic

Growing Organic

Implementing USDA organic practices into home gardens By Maile Sacarob Woodhall There is nothing more rewarding than being able to harvest food from your home garden. Just stepping foot into your personal garden can feel like a transformation in your daily experience. Knowing how to grow food that is not only delicious, but also organic is the desire of most home gardeners. Certified organic food in the United States is grown and produced according to standards set by the National Organic Program (NOP). Just because you’re a home gardener and don’t need organic certification, understanding the NOP standards can benefit your gardening practices. As a backyard gardener this may sound a little complicated, but chances are you already are practicing some of these techniques. Overall, organic operations must demonstrate that they are protecting natural resources, conserving biodiversity and using only approved substances. Here are some NOP USDA organic standards to take into consideration when starting a new home garden, transitioning your garden or improving your organic garden.   • Start a farm plan. For certification this is called an Organic System Plan. Essentially, your plan will include what you do, how you do it and what you use to do it with.   • Protecting your organic crops from unintended prohibited substance contamination is another important step. Things to take into account are defining buffers and borders, notifying neighbors, family members, guests and tenants. Sometimes posted signs are a necessary measure for prevention.   • Well-balanced soils produce strong, healthy plants that become nourishing food. Soil building is an important part of organic farming and using approved substances is a requirement for certified farms. Usually, your local garden supply store is knowledgeable about organic substances, but you can also find approved products through Organic Materials Review Institute (, Washington State Department of Agriculture ( or contact your local organic certifier.

• In Hawai‘i, pests, disease and weeds are a major issue. When identifying these issues the Master Garden Program ( uhmg) can provide free assistance. Incorporating preventative management practices are a requirement of the NOP and a good technique for home gardeners. For pest control these practices can include crop nutrient, sanitation, predatory release, predatory habitat development, traps, lures, repellents, varietal selection or crop rotation. Examples of preventatives controls for disease include suppression, varietal selection, pruning or burning. For weeds try mulching, mowing, heat, flame, grazing, mechanical, hand or plastic tools. • Another important point to remember when planting that perfect garden is the seeds you use. A certified producer must use organically grown seed, transplants and planting stock that have not been treated with a prohibited substance and are from a non-GMO source. There are search engines available to look at numerous seed companies that carry organic seeds. OMRI also provides a seed resource service.   Understanding and following some of these simple USDA organic standard techniques will get you on your way to growing the perfect organic backyard garden. Get out there and get growing.

Maile Sacarob Woodhall is a USDA—National Organic Program Standards and Good Agriculture Practices—Farm Food Safety inspector for Organic Certifiers, Inc. She travels throughout the state of Hawai‘i visiting farms and facilities to verify compliancy.




Bike photos: Keith Usher

Rendering: The Howard Hughes Corporation

Smart Neighborhoods and Complete Streets



Photo: Kevin Whitton

Kaka‘ako is Hawai‘i’s latest social experiment in sustainable urban planning and design By Kevin Whitton As towering cranes become all the more commonplace in Kaka‘ako and morning newscasters jokingly refer to them as our “state bird,” it’s no secret that Kaka‘ako is ground zero for one of the largest redevelopment plans in the history of the state. The overall vision is to turn the gritty industrial area and shopping district into a livework-play mixed-use neighborhood featuring high-rise residential towers and low-rise condominiums for future residents. Right now, there are five projects under construction, seven permitted projects and five proposed projects in the “pipeline.” With the only cap on development being the physical size of the district, tower heights, spacing and zoning rules, more towers can only be expected. Let’s address the elephant in the room right off the bat. Erecting 20 towers over the coming decades and increasing the population of Kaka‘ako by the tens of thousands just doesn’t sound very sustainable or environmentally friendly. But when you look at the alternative for housing all those people and peel back the layers of what constitutes sustainable development, turning Kaka‘ako into a thriving urban center of residences and commerce makes perfect sense on an island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.

Hawai‘i’s unofficial state bird is a harbinger of change in the urban district.



Lush vegetation separates shoppers on wide pedestrian pathways from the busy road.

Kaka‘ako has had quite a storied past. In ancient Hawaiian times, the area was a place of fishing villages, fishponds and salt ponds. Taro was also grown in the area. By the 1800s, immigrant camps gained a foothold as migrant workers settled in, laying the groundwork of residential neighborhoods amongst agriculture. In 1852, Honolulu Iron Works, a metal foundry and machine shop, was established in Kaka‘ako near the intersection of South Street and Ala Moana Boulevard, bringing the first taste of industrialization to the area. Around the 10-acre metal plant a strong blue-collar community grew (the plant employed about 500 people). Along with the burgeoning immigrant camps came a strong sense of family and an interconnected sense of place that came to partially define the area’s residents. But the neighborhood was not immune to its problems. As the metal plant grew, so did the cemeteries laden with bodies of those that had succumbed to small pox and bubonic plague. It was also a quarantine area for those with Hansen’s disease. By the turn of the century, as crushed coral dredged from the Ala Wai Canal and Honolulu Harbor were deposited in Kaka‘ako to fill the low lying ground, Kaka‘ako’s camps had grown to ethnic neighborhoods— Hawaiian, Japanese, Portuguese, Chinese and Filipino— and small stores, churches, schools and parks abound. The 1940s marked an end of an era for Kaka‘ako’s 5,000 residents, as the community was rezoned for commercial use in the 1950s. Residents left as neighborhoods were razed to make way for industrial lots and the Quonset huts, World War II relics, that we still see today.



Photo: Kevin Whitton


Will your auto shop still be there as the development ramps up? Most likely, yes. According to the Hawaii Community Development Authority (HCDA), the organization responsible for the planning, oversight and implementation of the rules governing the development of Kaka‘ako, the overall goal is to enhance the existing quality of Kaka‘ako by building upon its strong sense of place. How will they accomplish this? Through the Kaka‘ako Community Development District Transit Oriented Development (TOD) Overlay Plan, an ambitious plan that calls for the redevelopment of specific city blocks in the 600-acre district—Kaka‘ako stretches from Punchbowl Street to Pi‘ikoi Street and from King Street to Kaka‘ako Waterfront Park—to create a vibrant, multi-use urban district. Since the cornerstone of any vibrant community is people, more specifically, residents, erecting high-rise residential towers is the first priority of development. With infrastructure and utilities like water, sewer and electricity already in place, building up instead of out allows the population density to grow without taking up large swaths of precious land. Since O‘ahu’s population will undoubtedly continue to grow, this urban housing strategy takes the place of the only other alternative left on the


island for new home construction—paving over agricultural land for housing tracts on the Central Plateau. Traditional neighborhood developments of single-family homes have about 10 units per acres; that’s 400 homes on 40 acres. A single tower in Kaka‘ako might have about 400 units on just a few acres. If housing development were to occur on agriculture land instead of this urban center, precious natural resources would be lost and a great deal more capital would be spent to build the infrastructure to support a new community. The design and placement of the towers is also important to the overall sustainability of the proposed neighborhoods. Tall, slender buildings that contribute to the urban environment, yet fit the local culture are planned. These sleek buildings of different heights will allow for visual mountain-to-ocean corridors for aesthetically pleasing views from the street level as well as towers. They are also being built with green podiums, outdoor green spaces at different heights that act as parks, community gardens or active public spaces and give a pleasing view looking down from the towers so residents see green in addition to concrete and glass. This focus on livable, healthy places for people is a central element of the overall plan and filters from the towers to the streetscape, where comfortable, pedestrianoriented environments are envisioned. The towers will essentially be wrapped by condominiums and businesses at street level with larger sidewalks and pedestrian promenades to promote a social outdoor environment. Native Hawaiian and tropical landscaping, as well as art and water features, add to the allure of the public spaces. The HCDA calls this pedestrian-friendly design Complete Streets. The goal is to create an urban environment in Kaka‘ako centered on non-motorized mobility and access by reducing conflict between pedestrians and vehicles. There will be internal block connection for strategic pedestrian thoroughfares and a planned bicycle mobility network with a possible Bike

Share component. At the center of the Complete Streets philosophy is mass transit and its accessibility throughout Kaka‘ako. Honolulu Rail Transit is slated to pass through Kaka‘ako and, in conjunction with The Bus, will offer residents opportunities to get around easily without a vehicle. By taking advantage of mass transit and creating strategic pedestrian thoroughfares from residential towers, to the transit station, to the Civic Center, the HCDA hopes to improve public health, lower vehicle emissions traveled and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. For people driving in to the area, Kaka‘ako will have a Park Once area located nearby transit and businesses so visitors can easily park their car and walk around to shop, eat and enjoy the area’s recreation. The TOD Plan was designed to be scalable, so that as Kaka‘ako grows, the design elements and building practices can be implemented seamlessly throughout the district to create a cohesive, economically viable urban city center. Plans, however, are a guide to the overall vision. The landowners and developers hold the next piece of the puzzle in their hands.

While there are several landowners working in conjunction with the HCDA to develop their respective blocks in accordance with the TOD Plan, two major landowners SUSTAINABILITY hold the bulk of the property and are practicing sustainability in very different ways. The Howard Hughes Corporation has a formidable presence in the district as the owners and developers of Ward Village. The 60-acre area is an established shopping and entertainment hub in Honolulu with 1.2 million square feet of industrial, retail and office space, with almost 300 tenants in malls spread across several city blocks. Phase


—Race Randle Development Manager The Howard Hughes Corporation

Rendering: The Howard Hughes Corporation

“The great thing about working with sustainable planners and the LEED process is it really drives you to look at each individual decision you make and then each individual benefit for the neighborhood.”

Photos: Kevin Whitton

Honolulu Beer Works is an example of the sustainableminded businesses sought after by Kamehameha Schools to service Our Kaka‘ako.

One of The Howard Hughes Corporation’s redevelopment plan for Ward Village is centered around constructing 900 units total in two market-rate residential towers and one workforce housing tower: Waiea at 1118 Ala Moana Boulevard; Anaha at 1108 Auahi Street; and 988 Halekauwila Street. “We decided early on to hold our own feet to fire, building in a sustainable manner,” explains The Howard Hughes Corporation’s Development Manager Race Randle. “We worked with Rocky Mountain Institute to create sustainability guidelines for our master plan, which were submitted to HCDA as part of the master plan implementation.” The Howard Hughes Corporation is building their Phase 1 towers to target LEED certification for each project. They are automatically required to reduce energy and water use for each building, use local and recycled materials, natural landscaping and overall efficiency in building practices. Due to the fact that their sites are in ideal locations with close proximity to a number of transit options and have uses including parks and educational facilities, The Howard Hughes Corporation decided to build for an addition certification, LEED Neighborhood Development (ND), which focuses on the areas between the buildings. “The great thing about working with sustainable planners and the LEED process is it really drives you to look at each individual decision you make and then each individual benefit for the neighborhood,” explains Randle. “Rather than look at another neighborhood and try to implement what they do, you can look at each concept, whether it’s street design, walkability, or transit, use what’s already there now and think about what you can commit to do in the future to make it a better place.” For their efforts to redevelop Ward Village with sustainable practices in mind specific to overall neighborhood sustainability, the project recently received the LEED-ND Platinum certification. To date, Ward Village is the nation’s largest LEED-ND Platinum-certified project and the only LEED-ND Platinum-certified project in Hawai‘i.



As in life, there are often many roads that lead to the same place. While LEED certification is commendable and sets tangible, high standards that must be achieved through a strict verification process, there are other complimentary ways to achieve sustainability on a large, community scale. On the west end of Kaka‘ako, a separate redevelopment is taking place. Kamehameha Schools, another major landowner holding 29 acres over nine city blocks, is planning to build 2,750 residential units and create or repurpose over 300,000 square feet of commercial space in the immediate future. Their plan includes six residential towers, both market-rate and workforce housing, surrounded by low-rise residential units and commercial space set on beautifully landscaped pedestrian promenades. Instead of focusing on projectbased sustainability, Kamehameha Schools is engendering sustainability in the neighborhood

people make the place

through its hands-on promotion of local businesses that contribute to the health and deep sense of place in Kaka‘ako. To fully realize Kamehameha Schools’ mission to create one of the most vibrant, unique, successful and sustainable urban communities in the world, Christian O’Connor, senior asset manager at Kamehameha Schools’ Our Kaka‘ako, is taking this social experiment of urban renewal to heart. Christian is working hand-inhand with young entrepreneurs, curating and selecting individuals and co-ops to incubate and grow radiant new talent, ideas and business, in turn, creating an interconnected community in Kaka‘ako that is opening doors for Hawai‘i’s bright and ambitious. A sign of the times, many of these new businesses incorporate some level of sustainability into their bottom line. “We’ve been able to do this all on labor of love, recycled materials and passion,” says Jeffrey Gress, co-founder and operator of Lana Lane Studios, a shared community art space. Lana Lane is a membership-based organization offering members open space or private studio space for their craft. Visual artists, designers, musicians and photographers find inspiration at Lana Lane through the synergy of the space for their own art and host community and educational events. According to Gress, to create a comfortable working environment, some renovations were necessary to fix up the funky warehouse. Hawaii Energy switched out all the ballasts to fluorescent fixtures to save electricity. Skylights were installed to increase natural light and a massive, helicopter-like industrial ceiling fan spins constantly instead of an air conditioning system. Brewer Geoff Seideman, owner of Honolulu Beer Works, always dreamed of opening a relaxing pub in a renovated warehouse space, like his favorite establishments in San Diego, California and Portland, Oregon. Seideman looked no further than Kaka‘ako. The first-time business owner, who is brewing all of his beer creations on site, was excited to transform the dilapidated structure using recycled materials. Inside, Geoff is using reused roofing shiplap on the interior and recycled pallet furniture, as well as wine barrels for tables. Doing all the work himself, Geoff scored a pallet of bricks to use in the outdoor beer garden area and is installing living walls to soften the alleyway. “The nice thing is I can experiment,” explains Seideman. “I have a lot of freedom to be creative.” Christian O’Connor is curating Our Kaka‘ako with a range of conscious local businesses, from restaurants cooking with locally-sourced food to furniture stores featuring custom sustainable furniture. Why? Because he feels the market is demanding these types of business. “Where there’s dust and gas in the universe, stars form,” O’Connor says. “We’re trying to create that place, a nebula, and all the characteristics are there for people to start and flourish, for ideas to take off and new businesses to be formed and succeed. “Kaka‘ako is a place where you can live, where you can be, where you can experience and dwell. It’s also a place where you can create, collaborate and be a part of the community, growing this sustainable urban culture. The dollar here that you spend with some of our tenants will be a dollar that stays in the Hawai‘i economy.”


Eco-Lux History kahala's ďŹ rst leeD Gold-rated home

Photos: Architecture by Long & Associates Architects and Interior

By tiFFaNy HeRVey




Being ecologically minded is all about respecting what has come before us. It is the knowledge that we are just one piece of something much greater and that everything we do is interconnected, impacting the whole. Even when we are developing or constructing anew, we can pay homage to the creations that came before in order to achieve a sustainable foundation. That mindset is exactly what led architect Jeffrey Long to deconstruct a three-bedroom home from the 1950s and—reusing its foundation and building materials—to create Kahala’s first ever LEED Gold-certified home. Built in 2009 by Long & Associates Architects, the new, multilevel home features five bedrooms and four-and-a-half baths. Marketed as “Luxury Contempo,” 3927 Kahala Avenue entered the market with its first open house in January of 2010. With an open floor plan and high ceilings, the 5,644-square foot, eco-luxury home has sweeping views of the Pacific Ocean and Diamond Head. Natural building materials and non-toxic finishes were selected, including low-VOC paints, bamboo floors and recycled window frames. Ecologically sound features include cedar soffits and exterior fascia trim, mahogany doors and FSCcertified mahogany cabinets. Renewable woods were also used in the soffit details and cabinets. Custom artwork was created from the scraps of the exterior cedar planks. The home was designed on a previously developed lot, tied to existing infrastructure. Rather than demolishing the existing residence and sending the waste to the landfill, the home was deconstructed and the previous building materials were then reused to create the new structure. The concrete was crushed and reimported for fill and donated to Re-use Hawai‘i. 




In order to reduce electricity needs, natural day lighting is used at every opportunity with skylights placed in the center of the home where light is most valued. The textured glass details also let in little hints of natural light throughout the house. The home’s southerly orientation creates bright, daylight interiors. In addition, a 20-panel photovoltaic system on the roof generates approximately 4.6 kilowatts per hour and a solar domestic hot water unit also reduces energy consumption. The air conditioning demands on this home are lowered by a variety of sustainable features: high efficiency spray foam insulation and double-pane efficient windows keep the home cool; pocket doors fully retract to encourage cross ventilation and reduce the need for air conditioning; deep overhangs and covered lanai spaces keep direct sunlight from penetrating into the house and maintain a comfortable temperature in summer and winter; all ducts are tested for leaks to ensure the home is thoroughly insulated. The ducts also feature high-grade filters to trap airborne germs, toxins and allergens. Aside from the natural ways to lower the temperature in the house, there are also ceiling fans and an energy-efficient central air-conditioning system with multiple zones. All appliances in the gourmet kitchen and throughout the home are Energy Star appliances, including the washer and dryer, televisions and ceiling fans. Spa amenities include an exterior access pool bath, a 38-foot lap pool and separate spa. There is




Built on an existing site with reused materials from the previous home, the design opens up the living room to the Pacific Ocean to integrate the natural environment into its layout. This feature allows for ample natural lighting, passive cooling and creates a comfortable living space far removed from the busy road adjacent to the property.




also an entertainment and home-theater room, equipped with wet bar and plasma TV. Finally, a walk-in temperature-controlled storage room was constructed for wine storage or humidor. All technological features throughout the home are processed through an electrical room, which enables easy access and longterm maintenance. In order to reduce water consumption, dual-flush toilets and low-flow fixtures reduce indoor water use. Outside, native and drought-tolerant plants that don’t need much water to survive adorn the property. A soy-based synthetic turf putting green and lawn also decrease landscaping water use. Additionally, a tree preservation plan was practiced during and after construction. This features a permanent erosion control plan, a lot plan that keeps 95 percent of runoff water onsite, the use of nontoxic pest control alternatives and the use of high-albedo materials in the roof and paving to reduce heat-gain throughout the property. Long & Associates won numerous architecture awards for this residence, but most importantly, they inspired more homes like it to be built. As Hawai‘i’s LEED home build-outs become more commonplace in neighborhoods across the state, the Kahala remodel is a reminder that eco-lux is more than just a trending aesthetic; it’s a complete building philosophy that integrates the home with the environment and the surrounding community on par with the highest of quality standards.




Modern luxury meets energy efficiency in this warm and inviting kitchen with Energy Star appliances and FCScertified mahogany cabinets. The rich mahogany and other FCS-certified wood is a common thread throughout the 5,644-square foot Kahala home.


0 % 4.50 % APR*

Fixed for the First 6 Months


Current Variable Rate as of 1/2/14 for Priority Banking Level 3 Customers

~ Choose your own licensed contractor with no added mark-ups * ~ Pay no interest for the first 6 months * ~ No closing costs for most homeowners

~ May qualify for Federal and Hawaii State tax credits** ~ Use the equity in your home— personal loan option also available

for mor e i n for m at ion.

Visit any branch or call 643-LOAN (5626).

Yes, We Care.

Member FDIC

* Initial rate is for Equity FirstLineSM Plus credit line fixed rate advance for purchase price of a photovoltaic system for 6 months from account opening and will not increase during this period and then will adjust monthly at 1.50 percentage points over the index, which is The Wall Street Journal Prime Rate. After the initial fixed rate period the Annual Percentage Rate may vary and will never be lower than 4.50% per year and shall never be higher than 19% per year. Variable Annual Percentage Rate as of 01/01/14 is 4.50% for Priority Banking Level 3, 4.57% for Priority Banking Level 2, and 4.82% for all other customers. After the introductory period, Priority Banking Level 3 customers receive a discount of 0.35 percentage point lower than the APR, and Priority Banking Level 2 customers receive a 0.25 percentage point discount. Priority and Private Banking discounts do not apply to the introductory fixed rates. Unless locked at fixed rate, other advances after account opening are subject to variable rate. Investor rates are 0.50 percentage point higher. You must carry insurance on the property that secures the credit line. Lender closing costs waived for owner occupants; however you may have to pay certain closing fees to third parties such as: title insurance ($100-$245) and if the property requires an ALTA policy (estimated at $982), condo review ($136-$325), appraisal ($550-$750), trust review ($156-$312), or other legal document preparation fees ($104-$208). There is an annual fee of $100, which is non-refundable and will be charged to your credit line on each anniversary date of your Credit Line Account beginning with the second anniversary. The Annual Fee is waived for the first year and will be waived thereafter if you have a personal Priority Banking Checking Account Level 3. Offer subject to credit approval and good for new approved Equity FirstLine Plus applications received between 01/01/14 to 03/31/14. Offer also good until 03/31/14 for existing Equity FirstLine Plus accounts in good standing with lock and line availability. Only Hawaii properties are eligible. * Offer only good for the purchase and installation of a new photovoltaic system. First Hawaiian Bank is not an agent or partner of or affiliated with any contractors in the EnergySmartSM financing program. ** Consult with your tax advisor regarding the application of state and federal tax credits and tax-deductibility.

FHIB-27582R1_7-875x4-875_v2_F.indd 1

1/13/14 9:26 AM


Last Chance

Racing against time to save the Hawaiian Monk Seal By Natalie Schack



Photo: NOAA/Mark Sullivan


‘Ilioholoikauaua, which translates in Hawaiian to “dog running in the rough sea,” have played in the Hawaiian Islands’ waves for thousands of years. Ancient Hawaiians immortalized them in the Kumulipo, the Hawaiian creation song, but in truth these majestic animals were birthing, living and playing in Hawai‘i long before that. As one of only a handful of mammals that managed to brave the thousands of miles of open Pacific Ocean to reach this isolated archipelago on their own, they have more than earned the right to call Hawai‘i their home. So why do we find them now to be one of the most critically endangered animals in not only the state, but also the entire world? Today we refer to ‘ilioholoikauaua as the Hawaiian monk seal. Its lovable and playful demeanor, as well as its uniqueness, has made it a symbol of Hawai‘i both to outsiders and to kama‘aina. It is such a treasured creature that to see it frolicking in an aquarium is a treat, while in nature a rare and precious joy. Its status as an endangered animal is so dramatically real that, despite strict laws designed to protect it from harm or harassment, the population is dwindling at an alarming rate of four percent each year. With barely more than 1,000 seals alive in the entire world, four percent means the Hawaiian monk seal could go



Photo: NOAA

Photo: Hawaii State Archives

Photo: NOAA/Guerin


Hawaiian monk seals live in two very distinct environments that exist side by side: the raw natural world of the deep Pacific Ocean and the Northwest Hawaiian Islands, as well as the beaches of the main Hawaiian Islands, which they share with human beings. While they face threats in both environments, their increasing presence in the main Hawaiian Islands could be advantageous to the species as a whole.

Photo: NOAA/Barbara and Robert Billand


from endangered to extinct in the span of a couple of generations: the blink of an eye in nature’s terms. There is some hope. Activist groups like Conservation Council for Hawai‘i (CCH) are struggling to save the Hawaiian monk seal from extinction with efforts that reach far down to the roots of the community and extend up to the policy makers that have the power to enact important legislative change at the state level toward the conservation of Hawaiian monk seals and their habitat. It’s an uphill battle and a controversial dialogue that must contend with competing economic and political concerns, as well as quite a bit of misinformation. “Fishers and others opposed to critical habitat and translocation [of the seals] to the main islands are making the seal a scapegoat for declining fish stocks, while the real reasons for that decline are ignored,” says Les Welsh, in last year’s Ko Lea, the Conservation Council for Hawai‘i’s newsletter. “To make matters worse, those opposed to protecting the monk seal have spread misinformation, leading people to believe that monk seals are not native to Hawai‘i, and instead are invasive species,” despite archaeological and cultural evidence indicating otherwise, he says. To combat these and other struggles, CCH has teamed up with other entities, like the National Wildlife Federation. Their work focuses on dispelling damaging myths, educating the community about the Hawaiian monk seals’ dire situation and inspiring individuals to act. They also bring the fight to the system by securing funding to protect the seals and working to hold government agencies and decision makers accountable. It’s this work by rescuers and organizations like the CCH that are making differences in the plight of the monk seal. In turn, monk seals are touching the human counterparts they encounter. The story of the monk seal Ho‘ailona, a name that means “sign” or “symbol” in

Hawaiian, chronicles the journey of one monk seal from near-death to a life so vibrant that it inspires people to look forward and see a future, not an end, for Ho‘ailona’s species. When rescuers found Ho‘ailona on the island of Kaua‘i as a pup, abandoned by his mother in 2008, he was desperately suckling on a rock. They retrieved him, brought him to O‘ahu and nursed him back to health. After being released back into the wild on the island of Moloka‘i, Ho‘ailona, who had become accustomed to human interaction, made his way from Kalaupapa to the more human-populated Kaunakakai Pier and quickly earned the love of the community. His name was given to him by Moloka‘i resident Loretta Ritte, who sees Ho‘ailona’s struggle as an opportunity to educate people about the importance of monk seals and our coexistence with wildlife. For all those who work to pull the seals back from the brink of disappearance, it is a refreshing sign indeed. These workers are constantly battling the many dangers that monk seals, like Ho‘ailona, encounter: the starvation of pups, unreported accidental hookings, shark attacks on pups at the French Frigate Shoals, high pup mortality in general and even intentional killings. These dangers all contribute to the shrinking numbers of Hawaiian monk seals. The federal Endangered Species Act does grant critical habitat status for the monk seals in the remote Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, but their numbers still continue to decline due to these threats. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, in response to a citizens petition, proposed expanding critical habitat designation to the main Hawaiian Islands, where there is actually a higher rate of survival and where more and more seals, like Ho‘ailona, reside. Stiff resistance from fishermen and misinformation about what the monk seals’ return to the main islands could mean for the environment and industry makes their fight an uphill battle.



Photo: Caren Loebel-FriedPhoto: Isaac Frazer


Children at the Waikiki Aquarium are enchanted by the resident monk seals. Education, outreach, respect and understanding for Hawaiian monk seals' natural needs and behaviors are the tools to save this endangered native mammal with just over 1,000 individuals remaining in the wild.

Want to Help? The first step is being informed. Use these resources to help protect our environment, to report marine life in distress or to report marine resource violations.




24/7 NOAA hotline for seal injuries, entanglement, fishing interactions and other incidents

855/DLNR-TIP (356-7847) Confidential reward hotline for reporting information on monk seal killings

808/541-2727 (O‘ahu) or 800/853-1964 Report violations of the Marine Mammal Protection Act and Endangered Species Act

To report monk seal sightings call: 808/220-7802 (O‘ahu) 808/651-7668 (Kaua‘i) 808/553-5555 (Moloka‘i) 808/292-2372 (Maui and La-na‘i) 808/756-5961 (East Hawai‘i) 808/987-0765 (West Hawai‘i)

Photo: NOAA

If action is taken to protect and bolster the fragile monk seal population, this battle could be over in just a few decades, the monk seal coming out the loser. Ho‘ailona was named because he was a sign for the monk seals’ return, but he was also named because he was a sign of the monk seals’ coexistence with humans, a sharing between species of the land and ocean, so that these majestic mammals can be enjoyed, respected and valued for posterity. Now, monk seals need the help of the human community just to survive the coming years. Their cousins, the Caribbean monk seal, were deemed extinct in the 2000s, while the Mediterranean monk seal inches closer every year with about 500 seals left in the world. Will the demise of the monk seal in Hawai‘i follow suit or will people act to protect this amazing creature?

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designed and built in Hawai‘i


Sprouting Hope

Photo: Dave Miyamoto

Nellie Sugii is saving Hawai‘i’s most endangered plant species from extinction



“It’s kind of nice to be able to do something that makes even a little bit of a difference, to give back to Hawai‘i,” says a humble Nellie Sugii, program director at the Lyon Arboretum Micropropagation Laboratory. However, it could easily be argued that Nellie makes much more than just “a little bit” of a difference. At the lab, she is integral in one of Hawai‘i’s most dire fights: to save Hawai‘i’s rarest, most endangered and rapidly disappearing native plant species that have 20 or fewer representatives left in the wild. Established in 1991 under the Hawaiian Rare Plant Program, Nellie and a team of lab technicians use a technique called micropropagation for plant genetic conservation. Under sterile hoods, they grow tiny pieces of parent plants in test tubes to prevent the extinction of an endangered species. The fragile collection of young propagules is

maintained for future planting back in the wild. The situation sounds grim, but the program’s progress is hopeful. Nellie and her team have successfully grown 300 Hawaiian plant taxa via micropropagation, currently have more than 11,246 plants in various stages of propagation and last year alone produced 1,028 plants for outside use. Sugii, an O‘ahu native who graduated from the University of Hawai‘i at Ma-noa, worked with orchids for years until her “dream job” at the Arboretum opened up. “I took it without even looking at the lab,” she says. For Nellie, her extraordinary work is more than just any job. It’s part of a much larger circle of sustainability in Hawai‘i, a circle that includes the need for more education about the value of sustainability and growing native plants on a scale the homeowner can understand. —Natalie Schack

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