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The State of the Environment 2019 - 2020

Hawaii-environment.com

Highlighting progress, celebrating change-makers, and identifying opportunities to protect Hawai‘i’s environment and the self-sufficiency of its people.

Compiled by the Hawai‘i Environmental Funders Group Source info can be found at Hawaii-environment.com

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HE LONO MOKU

The name He Lono Moku, which means “an island(s) update/report,” was graciously recommended to the Hawai‘i Environmental Funders Group by Dr. Puakea Nogelmeier. 2

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The challenge is here. From the unprecedented rainfall and floods on Kaua‘i to an increase in tropical cyclones and more frequent coral bleaching events throughout the islands—Hawai‘i is feeling the impacts of climate change now more than ever before.

The good news is that our state has taken a leadership role in climate policy. Here’s one example: Hawai‘i was the first state to pass a law committing to the goals of the Paris climate accord after the current administration’s pullback, declaring: “We are still in.” What lies ahead is the rapid transition from commitments to aggressive action that will prepare our islands for the challenges ahead (page 10). Though a shift to clean energy is one of the key initiatives that will turn down the dial of carbon emissions, addressing the activities of other sectors like solid waste management (page 20) and agricultural practices, will help to dig us out of this climate crisis. Individuals also have a role to play. Daily decisions, from turning off unused lights to taking public transit, can shrink a person’s carbon footprint significantly. Even more, social scientists have found that when one person takes environmental action, those around them are more likely to do the same.

Source info can be found at Hawaii-environment.com

There’s yet another benefit—being part of the solution can help ease ecological grief. It’s hard not to feel anxious when constant, alarming headlines warn that a climate apocalypse is imminent. Taking action can help lift paralysis and fear. Because what’s underneath fear? A deep love and respect for the Earth—and a desire to protect what we still have. This sentiment may feel particularly strong for all of us in Hawai‘i who share our natural world with so many rare, magnificent species and natural wonders that are found no where else. Ironically, this climate emergency has the potential to raise our consciousness and reconnect us with nature, which studies tell us lead to happier, healthier lives (page 32). Traditional wisdom reminds us that we are not separate from our environment, but rather deeply intertwined. If we embrace this kinship, and pay attention to what needs to be done, we can find a way forward that we cannot yet fully envision.

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LET’S BEGIN The State of the Environment report for Hawai‘i. The report aims to provide a snapshot of priority issues critical to the protection of Hawai‘i’s environment and the self-sufficiency of its people—from highlighting approaches that are making a difference, to identifying opportunities that will sustain our unique island way of life for generations to come. Topics are chosen to align with the targets of the Aloha+ Challenge and U.N. Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The inaugural 2016 report concentrated on freshwater security, renewable energy, and community-based marine management. The 2017 report covered local food, invasive species, and green business & green workforce. Now on a biennial schedule, the 2019 – 2020 report focuses on the climate crisis, solid waste, and health & well-being. SINCE 2016, THE EFG HAS P UBLISHED HE LONO MOKU,

is a network of philanthropic individuals and institutions engaged in active, substantial grantmaking to promote environmental and community sustainability in the Hawaiian Islands. EFG’s purpose is to foster collaboration among its members and to steadily increase philanthropic support from both inside and outside of the state for environmental and sustainability efforts in Hawai‘i.

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PHOTO COURTESY OF HAWAI‘I GREEN GROWTH

THE HAWAI‘I ENVIRONMENTAL FUNDERS GROUP (EFG)

Aloha+ Challenge The Aloha+ Challenge is a statewide commitment to achieve Hawai‘i’s sustainability goals, and locally driven framework to implement the 17 U.N. SDGs. The initiative aims to meet state targets by the year 2030 in six areas: Clean Energy, Local Food Production, Natural Resource Management, Solid Waste Reduction, Smart Sustainable Communities, and Green Workforce and Education. Each of these areas is measured on an open-data Dashboard to provide accountability and inform action.

The commitment was launched in July 2014 and is jointly led by the Governor, County Mayors, State Legislature, and Office of Hawaiian Affairs with statewide business and civil society partners. The Aloha+ Challenge positioned Hawai‘i as an early leader on the SDGs and led to the U.N.’s recognition of Hawai‘i as one of the world’s first Local2030 Hubs for sustainability solutions. aloha-challenge.hawaiigreengrowth.org


T H E S TAT E O F T H E E N V I R O N M E N T

CONTENTS PHOTOS; CLIMATE CRISIS & SOLID WASTE BY RAFAEL BERGSTROM; HEALTH & WELL-BEING BY SCOTT KANDA/KUA‘ Ā INA ULU ‘AUAMO

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Climate Crisis

Solid Waste

The planet is changing. The rise in greenhouse gases due to human activity is causing warmer temperatures, extreme weather events, rising seas, and other impacts that will be felt far into the future.

Managing the waste for 1.4 million Hawai‘i residents— plus millions of yearly visitors—is not an easy task in an island state.

The question that remains is how our society will respond to the challenge—and how fast. Within, we explore the solutions that are being executed or proposed in Hawai‘i—from putting a price on carbon to planting trees—and shine a light on some of the people guiding our island state forward. PAGE 10

And globally, the recycling sector has been particularly volatile, making this an excellent time for the He Lono Moku report to take a deeper dive into the subject of how Hawai‘i handles its discards. We found that along with the challenges, new opportunities and mindsets are taking hold. There’s a growing interest in source reduction and sustainable production methods, which can help preserve our precious resources, protect Hawai‘i’s fragile ecosystems, and save taxpayer money.

Health & Well-Being Live near a grocery store? Spend time in the outdoors? Drive to work? Many factors, including those that people can and cannot control, affect a person’s health. In the report, we touch on a few factors of health as they relate to Hawai‘i’s environment, including what we eat, how we design our communities, and how we connect with the special places around us. PAGE 28

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C O N S I D ER THIS 

Turning Points

Progress

Setbacks

Game-changers for Hawai‘i

Getting closer to green

Slowing our progress

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Source info can be found at Hawaii-environment.com

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CONSIDER THIS TURNING POINTS, PROGRESS,

& S E T BAC KS

in Hawai‘i’s sustainability arena. Some actions push us forward, some don’t. Here’s a look at recent milestones across the state.

PHOTO BY JUSTIN TURKOWSKI

➤ EACH YEAR, MA JOR DE VELOPMENTS OCCUR

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CONSIDER THIS

Turning Points

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GAME-CHANGERS FOR HAWAI‘I

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An Impact Investment

PHOTO & ILLUSTRATION BY SHUTTERSTOCK

In 2019 the Legislature passed S.B. 390, which benefits users of SNAP (formerly “food stamps”) by doubling their purchasing power of Hawai‘i-grown fruits and vegetables. In practice, $10 of benefits would be worth $20 of local produce. It’s a big win for low-income families, as well as for local agriculture. The Double-Up Food Bucks Program, as it’s called, will receive a $100,000 appropriation over two years from the Legislature to expand the program beyond Hawai‘i Island, where it was piloted, to across the state. The state funding opened the door for a nearly $1 million federal grant to The Hawai‘i Food Basket, Hawai‘i Island’s food bank, in 2019.

Bye Chemicals— Hawai‘i Leads the Way In 2018, Hawai‘i became the first state in the U.S. to ban the use of chlorpyrifos—a pesticide sprayed on a wide variety of crops from citrus fruits to almonds and corn. Academic studies found that even tiny levels of exposure of the neurotoxin could hinder the developing brains of children and cause other health problems. The move was a major victory after six years of advocacy from groups and communities across Hawai‘i. Since then, California and New York have followed Hawai‘i’s lead to prohibit

Source info can be found at Hawaii-environment.com

its use. That same year, Hawai‘i became the first state to ban the sale of sunscreens containing oxybenzone and octinoxate, chemicals that scientists have found contribute to coral bleaching and harm marine life. The ban goes into effect in 2021—and has helped to spur a global movement for the use of reef-safe sunscreens.

Solar First The State of Hawai‘i’s Environmental Court ruled in early 2019 that the Department of Business Economic Development and Tourism was wrong to exempt gas water heaters from the state’s solar water heater mandate. Earthjustice, which brought on the lawsuit on behalf of Sierra Club of Hawai‘i and the Hawai‘i Solar Energy Association, says that the agency granted almost 100-percent of all gas variance requests without review, allowing more than 6,000 homes to be built with gas water heaters instead of solar. The ruling upholds the original intent of the solar water heating mandate, which was enacted 11 years ago by the Legislature in part to avoid 10,000 tons of greenhouse gas emissions per year. It also aligns with Hawai‘i’s commitment to be carbon neutral, with 100-percent clean energy by 2045.

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programs. The funding is critical to our water supply, since it will go toward installing fences to keep hooved animals—like wild cattle, goats, sheep, and pigs—out of native forests, which capture rain and moisture from the air and sky and eventually flow through our faucets. The Legislature also allocated $750,000 to combat Rapid ‘Ōhi‘a Death, which as of this writing has been detected on Hawai‘i Island, Maui, Kaua‘i and O‘ahu since the fungal disease was first discovered in 2014. (To date, the more aggressive form of the disease has not been found on Maui or O‘ahu, and is limited on Kaua‘i. Both forms are found throughout Hawai‘i Island.) Since ‘Ōhi‘a is the prominent vegetation of Hawai‘i’s forests, the disease poses a major threat to fresh water in the Islands.

Follow the Statute

Progress GETTING CLOSER TO GREEN Answering the Call Do well in business and do well by the ocean? Over 95 restaurants on O‘ahu, Kaua‘i, Maui, and Hawai‘i Island are proof that it’s possible, thanks in part to Surfrider’s Ocean Friendly Restaurants program. Here’s how it works: members commit to a handful of mandatory criteria, such as no polystyrene (aka Styrofoam) or plastic bags, as well as optional criteria, like water and energy conservation. An additional 100 restaurants have also pledged to be “foam-free.” Based on Hawai‘i’s success, Surfrider Foundation has made the program a national priority—and it’s now the non-profit’s fastest growing initiative.

Fresh Water Protection In 2019, the Legislature passed a biennium budget bill for fiscal years 2020 and 2021 that provided $7.5 million per year in capital improvement project funds for watershed and native ecosystem protection, in addition to the operating base budgets for those

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The Hawai‘i Supreme Court ruled in May 2019 that the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) must follow state law by explicitly analyzing the hidden costs of greenhouse gas emissions in all of its actions. The decision resolved the appeal by the non-profit Life of the Land (LOL) that challenged the PUC’s approval for a power purchase agreement between Hawai‘i Electric Light Co. and Hu Honua Bioenergy LLC that proposed to produce energy by harvesting eucalyptus and other trees from the forests of Ka‘ū, trucking them across the island and burning them at their biomass plant in Pepe‘ekeo. Attorney Lance D. Collins, representing LOL, says the ruling extends the earlier Supreme Court decision that recognizes the right to a clean and healthful environment as a protected property interest under the state constitution, and also ensures that the PUC does not ignore its legal obligations to consider the hidden costs of greenhouse gas emissions.

A New Beginning In the 2019 nesting season, six near-threatened Laysan albatross chicks hatched at Kalaeokauna‘oa (Kahuku Point) on O‘ahu’s North Shore, a big milestone since previous nesting attempts by adults in recent years had failed. The event was years in the making, catalyzing in 2015 when


CONSIDER THIS

The North Shore Community Land Trust (Trust) and a collaboration of Federal, State, and City governments, as well as community organizations and private individuals, were able to permanently protect the area, which encompasses 634 acres of coastal land. Since that time, the coastline has been under restoration by the Trust and numerous volunteers. Though only three chicks survived (one died from a mongoose attack, another invasive fire ants, and the last from natural causes), their hatching gives hope that a new colony will establish on O‘ahu, given that most nest in low-lying atolls in the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument, where the species is vulnerable to sea-level rise. 

Setbacks

it’s critical that funds are appropriated to execute studies and pilot projects to meet the state’s goal to be carbon neutral before 2045. (What’s carbon sequestration anyway? It’s the process of capturing and storing greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide— and it’s accomplished through practices such as planting trees and modifying farming practices.)

Putting on the Breaks In 2019, the Legislature passed S.B. 409, which tacks an additional $50 annual registration fee on electric and alternative fuel vehicles. The reason? The Department of Transportation (DOT) testified that because the cars are more fuel efficient, owners aren’t paying their share of the state gas tax collected at the pump, which goes towards the upkeep of Hawai‘i’s roads and bridges. Those opposed to the law say the new fee stunts the acceleration of electric vehicle adoption at a time when the state is aiming to transition to clean transportation, and that drivers of gas vehicles aren’t paying their share for the harm those emissions impose on the environment and health. What’s more, the DOT is exploring a switch from the current pay-at-the-pump fuel system to a “road usage fee” where owners would pay for miles driven. The proposed change could increase taxes on alternative fuel vehicles and reduce taxes on gas-guzzlers, like trucks and SUVs.

SLOWING OUR PROGRESS

Source info can be found at Hawaii-environment.com

GO

STO

Created by the passage of H.B. 2182 and signed into law by Governor Ige in 2018, the 19-member Greenhouse Gas Sequestration Task Force (GHGSTF) is responsible for a gamut of tasks to help reduce Hawai‘i’s contribution to global climate change—from establishing a baseline for greenhouse gas emissions within Hawai‘i to identifying policy options to incentivize farmers to adopt climate-smart agricultural practices. Unfortunately, the Task Force did not receive funding from the 2019 Legislature as it did the first year it was established. What legislators did do, however, was designate a means to fund the GHGSTF, via the Energy Security Special Fund. In the 2019 – 2021 biennium budget, submitted in December 2019, Gov. David Ige has requested to use $200,000 of barrel tax money to support the GHGSTF. Next session,

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A Bright Spot That Needs Funds

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A diver surveys coral reefs in West Hawai‘i following a mass statewide bleaching event in 2015 caused by warming ocean waters.

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Climate Crisis

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Hawai‘i is responding to the climate emergency with aggressive policies to curb fossil fuel use, but more action needs to happen—and fast.

PHOTO COURTESY OF DAVID SLATER/TNC

➤ JEFF POLOVINA TAKES OUT A GRAPH

that looks like a Jackson Pollock painting. Multi-colored lines show ocean temperatures zigzagging upwards, but two lines rise higher during the summers of 2015 and 2019. “We’ve never seen anything as extreme as these ocean temperatures over the last 100 years.” Polovina, a retired senior scientist for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, characterized the events as “wake-up” calls.

“The thinking was that waters would gradually warm, but we are seeing regular coral bleaching much sooner than we anticipated.” West Hawai‘i coral cover dropped from about 35 percent to 17 percent after bleaching in 2014 and 2015. The pace of climate change and its impacts are happening faster than scientists previously thought. Hawai‘i is experiencing events that are no longer hypothetical: more heatwaves, heavy rainfall and droughts, king tides, coastal erosion, and an increase in tropical cyclones. To avoid the worst effects of climate change, the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), says we need to limit the planet from warming more than 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) compared to nineteenth-century levels. Current trends show that we’re on a path to increase temperatures by 4 degrees Celsius.

Source info can be found at Hawaii-environment.com

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} How do we hold this hike? Humanity will have to race—starting immediately—to cut its greenhouse gas emissions by almost half by 2030, with a target of full decarbonization by 2050. While policy changes are needed at the federal level, Hawai‘i can be a leader in this transformation by demonstrating local solutions that can be scaled up.

Climate commitments are a starting point Hawai‘i is already a leader in climate policy. In 2018, Gov. David Ige committed the state to become carbon neutral by 2045. That’s the same year Hawai‘i plans to generate 100 percent of its electricity from renewable sources. In 2016, Hawai‘i became the first state to pass legislation committing to the goals of the Paris climate accord, a week after Trump pledged America’s withdrawal. But proclamations are only the start. Implementing our commitments into aggressive programs and actions need to happen now.

More EVs, less gas-powered cars One sector that needs a clean up: ground transportation. The motorcycles, cars, trucks, and buses on Hawai‘i’s roads account for a significant portion of the state’s greenhouse gas emissions. To date, electric vehicles (EVs) currently make up only a small fraction of vehicles on Hawai‘i’s roads—1 percent of one million passenger vehicles. “We reached 10,000 EVs, which is a great benchmark, but we have a long way to go,” says Lauren Reichelt, clean transportation director for Blue Planet Foundation. “The gains we’re making are being offset by an increase in sales of SUVs, trucks, and vans, which has gone up 20 percent in the last seven years.” Hawai‘i

is second in the nation for EV sales per capita, but pickups and SUVs make up 70 percent of car sales in the state. Acknowledging the woes in ground transportation, Hawai‘i’s four county mayors committed to eliminating fossil fuels from the state’s public and ground transportation by 2045. To get dirty cars off the road and push EV adoption, experts say sticks could include policies like requiring the state and counties to purchase EVs for their fleets of sedans and more fuel-efficient vehicles for larger vehicles (such as trucks, for which EV substitutes don’t exist as of now). Another option is increasing vehicle taxes or the fuel tax so that the social costs of vehicles—for example, living near a busy road can stunt children’s lung growth—are closer to the private individual costs. Carrots for consumers lie in financial incentives, such as tax credits and rebates for vehicles or charging infrastructure, as well as free parking at government lots and at meters. Kurt Speas, who ranked as one of the top three Nissan Leaf salesman in the U.S. while at Tony Nissan on O‘ahu, says, “For some buyers, those incentives were an important factor in the decision-making process.” Based on his experience, he says charging infrastructure was the main deciding factor. “For people with homes, it’s fine, but if you’re in an apartment building, and they don’t have a charger, there isn’t enough public infrastructure that they can rely on.” To address the charger barrier, the 2019 Legislature passed a bill that provides rebates for installing EV chargers in publicly accessible commercial areas, workplaces, and multi-family residential buildings. Makena Coffman, Director for the Institute for Sustainability and Resilience at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa, notes that while charging infrastructure is critical, so are electricity rates that

VOICES

Lead organizer, Hawai‘i Youth Climate Strike

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D E M A N D I N G C L I M AT E A C T I O N “Protests are visual, they energize people fast, they aren’t impossible to organize, they get people ready to mobilize on the issue, and then you’re able put pressure on public officials,” says eighteen-year-old Kawika Pegram, lead organizer for the Hawai‘i Youth Climate Strike (HYCS) and senior at Waipahu High School. “We want young people to have their voices heard on climate change, an issue that’s going to predominantly affect them, and we want them to demand action.” In September 2019, nearly a dozen climate marches led by HYCS were held across the islands, attracting roughly 3,000 people statewide, according to Pegram.

PHOTO COURTESY OF ANTHONY ARICAYOS

Kawika Pegram


Pollution should have a price One other way to reduce fossil fuel use—in nearly all sectors—is to put a price on carbon. The Hawai‘i Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation Commission called on the Legislature to pass a carbon tax, noting that it’s “the most effective single action” to reach emissions reduction goals. Other experts agree, including Nobel prize-winning economists and four former chairs of the United States Federal Reserve. A carbon fee makes pollution more expensive, a stick that incentivizes change towards clean energy. Hawai‘i currently produces 27 percent clean energy, but burning petroleum accounts for almost

Source info can be found at Hawaii-environment.com

A Different World

A snapshot of how climate change threatens every aspect of life, from nature itself to the food we eat.

PHOTOS (CLOCKWISE, FROM TOP LEFT): DLNR-DOFAW MFBRP ROBBY KOHLEY, CONSERVATION INTERNATIONAL/JHANA YOUNG, OLIN LAGON, SHUTTERSTOCK, TNC/ETHAN WELTY, LI YANG ON UNSPLASH

better integrate renewable energy supply with demand. “Electrification of transportation is a tremendously important component of decarbonizing transportation systems; however, we need to better incent the integration of renewable energy sources. This includes electricity rates that would promote charging EVs when renewable energy is ample on the grid, like during high sun hours, and discourage charging with fossil fuel sources.” But forget cars for a second. Reducing the amount Hawai‘i folks drive in the first place—or what’s called vehicle miles traveled—can slash even more emissions pollution. Hawai‘i commuters face some of the worst traffic in the nation. Here’s one factor that contributes to this: almost 70 percent of people (over 16 years) drive to work solo. That’s where policies and incentives come into play to encourage and implement other options of commuting, such as riding buses, biking, ridesharing, rail, and walking—and community-forward development that makes roads and corridors safer. (This increases health and well-being, too, and buys back time spent in traffic. See Health & Well-Being, page 28.)

Birds 10 of 21 rare and endangered Hawaiian forest birds may dramatically lose their habitat by 2100, making them susceptible to extinction. The reason: If temperatures continue to rise, mosquitos will travel higher in elevation, and avian malaria will go with them.

Coral & Food Fish With warming temperatures, widespread coral bleaching is expected annually in Hawai‘i by 2045. Around that time, studies predict the state’s coral cover to drop from its current 38 percent to 11 percent, causing a $1.3 billion per year loss to the economy. Hawai‘i’s reefs also provide seven million meals annually for local families, according to Conservation International Hawai‘i. The number of tuna and billfish are also expected to decline.

Health

Water

Climate change has major health implications and is already causing an increase in heat-related deaths, which is expected to disproportionately affect low-income populations, who, for example, may not be able to afford air conditioners.

Decreasing rainfall, more extreme rain events, and increased drought are already more common in the state, all of which can cause water shortages (for people and natural systems) that pose a serious threat to our remote islands.

Sources: Fourth National Climate Assessment, 2019 - 2020 Hawai‘i Sea Level Rise Vulnerability and Adaptation Report

Culture With a rise in seas of 3.2 feet, nearly 550 Hawaiian cultural sites would be flooded or eroded statewide, resulting in forced separation to places that offer a connection to ancestors and identity for Native Hawaiians. Reduced streamflow also threatens taro and other traditional crops.

Infrastructure & Community Sea level rise of 3.2 feet could cause 6,500 structures and 38 miles of major roads to flood—cutting off some communities with a single roadway—and causing nearly 20,000 residents to be displaced, with uncertainty of where they would go. HE LONO MOKU

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VOICES

“IF YOU CARE ABOUT HOW MUCH YOU PAY FOR INSURANCE, THEN YOU SHOULD CARE ABOUT CLIMATE CHANGE.” Jeff Shonka

CEO of First Insurance Co. of Hawai‘i MANAGING THE RISKS Climate change could make insurance unaffordable for some people and economies. That’s the warning from advocates, policymakers, and leading insurance companies around the world. “The more bad things happen as a result of extreme weather events, like flooding, hurricanes, and wildfires, insurance companies take note and adjust their rates accordingly,” says Jeff Shonka, CEO of First Insurance Co. of Hawai‘i, the largest insurer of property in the state. “If you care about how much you pay for insurance, then you should care about climate change.” According to the New York Times, officials in California, Washington, Montana, and Colorado are getting more complaints from people whose insurance companies have refused to renew their coverage. The uptick follows years of record-setting wildfires in both size and cost. Shonka wants to see Hawai‘i take a more proactive approach to manage risk. “Insurance companies should be wary about covering buildings that are close to shore, not only because of rising sea levels, but also due to king tides, storm surges, and other events that suggest that flooding and inundation are more likely than they were a decade ago,” he says. “It’s our responsibility as an insurance company and as part of the risk management industry to avoid reinforcing behaviors that may place property and people in jeopardy.”

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two-thirds of the state’s energy needs. At the time of publication, five states have introduced carbon fee legislation, but none have passed. Hawai‘i could be the forerunner, though how to design it takes varying shapes and forms. That’s why policymakers passed a bill in 2019 requiring a comprehensive study to better grasp the opportunities, potential impacts, and options that a carbon fee will bring to Hawai‘i. The deadline for the study is winter 2020. The major design questions are which carbon sources to tax, such as gas, coal, and jet fuel (or all fuels), how much to tax each, and where the revenue should be spent. For example, the money generated could expand clean energy projects, or dollars could go back into the pockets of taxpayers. Fairness is crucial, given that existing studies show a carbon fee would be regressive, since lower-income households spend a higher percentage of their earnings on energy, more than double of what upper-income households spend, according to a 2017 report of the Hawai‘i Tax System by PFM Group Consulting. So how much money would a carbon fee bring in? A July 2016 study by the Brookings Institution estimates that Hawai‘i could generate more than $360 million annually in carbon tax revenues. It’s a rough figure based on assumptions on its design. Rough figures are important, though, given that some percentage of the revenue could also be used to make communities safer given the worsening impacts of climate change.

Adapt for the challenging future ahead As the planet’s atmosphere heats up, the ocean expands, and ice and glaciers melt, leading to sea-level rise. This is where reality hits: Even if the world stops its emissions today, sea levels will continue to rise for centuries. As Peter Clark, Oregon State University climate scientist, put it, “Sea level has a very long memory, so even if we start cooling temperatures, the seas will continue to rise. It’s a bit like trying to turn the Titanic around, rather than a speedboat.” The U.N.’s Climate science panel predicts up to 3.2 feet of sea-level rise by 2100, though recent studies suggest it could happen as early as 2060. What does that look like for Hawai‘i? Statewide, 25,800 acres will flood, compromising 6,500 structures and displacing 20,000 residents. The Hawai‘i Sea Level Rise Vulnerability and Adaptation Report (SLR Report) estimates the lost value of structures and land at over $19 billion statewide. This figure doesn’t include the cost to relocate and repair roads, airports, water, sewer, and electrical systems, or the impact to the visitor industry and natural resources. “Now that we know what the future has in store for us, this is where the rubber meets the road,” says Sam Lemmo, administrator for the state Office of Conservation and Coastal Lands, whose office produced the SLR Report. “There’s a lot of hard decisions to be made, and


you can’t just wave a wand to solve the problem of elevate the private property interest over the sea-level rise.” public and everyone loses.” He adds, “Do we want One option is managed retreat, essentially beaches for our children?” moving development away from the coasts to higher Working together to confront the threats ground. That means such actions as moving existing buildings, or not allowing proposed projects in As places everywhere face the challenges ahead, vulnerable areas. If that sounds hard to accomplish, in Hawai‘i a commitment to sustainability and it’s because it is. A state report, commissioned by the tight-knit communities are essential to our ability Office of Planning in 2019 to better understand the to thrive. challenges and opportunities of a managed retreat In the O‘ahu Resilience Strategy, which outstrategy in Hawai‘i, poses several key questions lines 44 policies and projects to help the island that need careful consideration. For example: If a become more resilient, the connection is made homeowner needs to move away from the coast due to hazards, does the government offer a buyout at pre-disaster market prices, or is the onus on the homeowner? What state and county lands are available for this relocation effort? Lemmo says his Seawalls and other shoreline office has encouraged armoring are built to protect property, but lead to beach narrowing the counties to use the and beach loss. predicted 3.2-foot rise (or higher) for planning purposes by “incorporating it into their zoning Accelerated erosion and planning systems.” 1 of adjacent property The Office of Planning’s report says retreat should be considered in context with two other adaptation Seawall approaches, accommoda2 tion (e.g., elevating structures) and protection Erosion (e.g., a hard method, like seawalls or a soft method, like dune restoration). Chip Fletcher, viceSource: Adapted from Thomson - Brooks/Cole 2006 chair of the Honolulu Climate Change Commission, says coastal armoring can exacerbate already existing eroclear when it states: “Community is the essential sion, causing beaches to narrow and disappear. His element of resilience.” Josh Stanbro, the City and research found that 70 percent of beaches on Kaua‘i, County of Honolulu’s chief resilience officer, says O‘ahu, and Maui are eroding, based on historical “We need to build smarter, cleaner, and more photos and survey maps. O‘ahu alone has lost more flexible infrastructure, but the number one tool than 5 miles of beaches due to shoreline armoring. for a resilient community is social cohesion—we “Beaches are where families go to build memories, have to know our neighbors and lend a hand after where children in Hawai‘i often encounter nature a disaster.” for the first time. It’s where people gain personal The concept isn’t hard to grasp, considering happiness and they are the primary ocean access that Native Hawaiians lived in these islands for point for Hawai‘i. If you harden the coastline, you

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Shoreline Armoring

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over a thousand years—working together to steward the ‘āina (land), placing kapu (prohibition) where it was needed, and harvesting resources to feed themselves. Now, with up to 90 percent of our food imported, there’s no better time to recommit to our self-sufficiency. And despite all of the hard information that comes with climate change, we also need to know our strength. In A Sea of Warriors, an essay that analyzes three performances of island resil-

ience, Candace Elanna Steiner says, “…there is a world of difference between viewing Islanders as climate-change victims in a far and rising sea and viewing them as a sea of warriors with the power to rise up against climate change. The first emphasizes helplessness and victimization, while the second acknowledges Islanders’ agency and ability to work together… to make their voices heard and to effect change.”

went door-to-door checking on families and helped with everything from cleaning houses to doing loads of laundry to refilling prescriptions to helping process loan claims. Initially, people they visited would say, ‘I’m fine, go check on my neighbor; they are worse off.’ Our community has a lot of pride; they are strong; they don’t ask for help. What was important was to have people whom they know go back to them, and maybe by the third time, they could say, ‘OK, we need help.’ Groups like the Hui Maka‘ainana o Makana, Waipa Foundation, and the Kilauea Agricultural Park were already on the ground, so they were able to spring into action and immediately offer their staff and facilities to do things like make community meals. People are clear that the strength and health of our ‘aina is the best resilience we have. The floodwater went through the lo‘i, that natural infrastructure was critical, as is the ongoing ability to feed ourselves from the land. Waipaā has an abundant garden. They were dispersing kale and more. Relief looks very different for our community. We didn’t need a lot of bottled water or packaged food. After a disaster, there is this expectation that everything will get back to normal. For some people, normal no longer exists. Multiple communities in coastal Louisiana have had to move. And that’s the hard question, ‘How do you find ways to keep communities together after events like this?’ The biggest strength and solace after Kaua‘i’s floods was in having each other. If people are forced to move away and disperse from the community, that is undercutting the very source of their resilience.” - students interviewed In 2019, Vaughan and 12 UH Manoa

PHOTO COURTESY OF ROBERT SHALLENBERGER/TNC

VOICES

Mehana Blaich Vaughan Associate Professor, University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa COMMUNIT Y RESILIENCE IN ACTION [Edited for brevity and clarity.]

In April 2018, torrential rains flooded Kaua‘i, setting a national record for the most rainfall in 24 hours, reaching nearly 50 inches. The result was catastrophic flooding that caused severe damage. Raised in the rural Halele‘a district, Vaughan shares what resilience looked like for the North Shore community. “A few key lessons that emerged were that resilience lies in the strength of your existing community groups, the strength of people’s connection to place, and the strength of the connections they already have to one another. After the floods, people went right into action, helping their neighbors. In the ensuing weeks, we organized teams by ahupua‘a and created a database of those affected. These teams

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over 70 Kaua‘i community members who shared their stories of the floods. A video featuring some of these stories can be seen on YouTube; type “Halana ka Mana‘o” in the search bar.

PHOTO COURTESY OF MEHANA BLAICH VAUGHAN

Volunteers for the Halele‘a flood recovery efforts host Gov. David Ige at the Hanalei Courthouse. Pictured (L to R): Koral McCarthy, Mindy Laney, Katie Conant, Jeremy Brown, Gov. Ige, Megan Wong, Mehana Blaich Vaughan, Carrice Caspillo-Gardner (governor’s liaison on Kaua‘i), Mina Morita, and Lanae Anakalea


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PHOTO COURTESY OF ROBERT SHALLENBERGER/TNC

The Power of a Tree

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Trees sequester carbon, produce oxygen, slow rainfall, provide habitat for wildlife, help recharge the aquifer, offer shade for heat relief, reduce stress, and the list goes on. Across the state, people are working to plant and preserve more of these natural multi-taskers.  DEFINITION: Carbon sequestration is the process of capturing and storing atmospheric carbon dioxide.

O‘ahu’s 100,000 Trees

Kona Hema Preserve

} Large trees that are placed strategically can lower air conditioning costs by providing shade that reduces temperatures. That’s just one of many reasons why the City and County of Honolulu has committed to planting 100,000 trees across the island by 2025. Goals will be accomplished by working with communities through an adopt-a-tree program and community planting projects. resilientoahu.org/urbanforest

} The ‘io (Hawaiian hawk), the ‘ōpe‘ape‘a (Hawaiian hoary bat), and songbirds like the ‘i‘iwi (scarlet honeycreeper) and ‘elepaio (monarch flycatcher). These are just a few of the species seen at The Nature Conservancy of Hawai‘i’s (TNC) Kona Hema Preserve, an 8,000-acre area that protects part of an ancient koa and ‘ōhi‘a forest that stretches more than 100,000 acres in South Kona. TNC has actively managed the preserve since 2000, with efforts focused on fencing, removing hooved animals, and controlling invasive plant populations. Now, the non-profit is launching a certified forest carbon sequestration project on the preserve that will produce marketable carbon emission offset credits from existing and still growing koa trees. The income will be reinvested in conservation land management and the project is expected to sequester more than 130,000 tons of carbon over the next 20 years. Ulalia Woodside, TNC Hawai‘i’s executive director says, “One of our main goals for this project is to share our work and demonstrate to other Hawai‘i landowners the carbon sequestration capacity and economic opportunity from native forest management and restoration.”

Carbon Neutrality Challenge } In 2018, Camilo Mora led University of Hawai‘i students and volunteers in planting a record-setting 1,000 trees in two hours. Dubbed the Carbon Neutrality Challenge, the next step is to plant 11,000 trees in one day, then a million trees annually after 2021. The goal is to offset all of the state’s carbon emissions, making Hawai‘i the first carbon-neutral state. “We have plenty of tools to combat climate change, the issue is how to implement them in a large enough scale to make a difference,” says Mora, an associate professor of Geography at UH Manoa. “Planting trees is by far the easiest of them.” One of the biggest threats to new saplings is the lack of water. But a newly designed and low-cost rain catchment system will increase the tree survival rate from 50 percent to up to 90 percent, according to Mora. A crowdfunding campaign has been set up to support the project and its goals. uhfoundation.org/Trees

Source info can be found at Hawaii-environment.com

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PHOTO COURTESY OF JAMES WHEELER

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The Power of a Tree (continued)

The DLNR Division of Forestry and Wildlife (DOFAW) is pursuing two carbon forest offset projects that absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and store it in trees and other plants to curb the effects of global climate change. Together the projects are estimated to absorb 192,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere— equivalent to one year of energy use for nearly 23,000 homes. dlnr.hawaii.gov/ forestry/frs/initiatives/forestcarbon/

Kahikinui/Nakula

Pu‘u Mali

} Over the last five years, reforestation efforts by DOFAW and community partners have begun to reverse decades of forest degradation across more than 10,000 acres on the leeward slopes of Haleakala, bringing new life to a dying ancient forest. Reforestation actions include out-planting of more than 250,000 plants—koa‘a‘ali‘i, ‘ōhi‘a, pilo and māmane—removal of feral goats, and construction of more than 30 miles of fencing to keep the area free of hooved animals. The partners are also reintroducing endangered species to the area, including the critically endangered kiwikiu, or Maui Parrotbill. The area is now undergoing carbon certification so that the state can sell carbon offsets, which will be available to the public after trees have grown for about five years.

} Since 2004, DOFAW has been working on a reforestation project at Pu‘u Mali, a 5,500-acre area on the north flank of Mauna Kea. The area is a critical habitat for the endangered palila bird, of which only 1,000 exist in the world. In 2017, about half of the expanse became the site of the state’s first public-private partnership carbon forestry project, with Pono Pacific as its partner. The project is still in site planning mode, with an undefined open date for the purchase of carbon credits. Once the project launches, the funds will be invested into the area, which is estimated to need about $5.3 million for restoration and replanting.

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WORLD BRIGHT SPOT

B.C.’s Carbon Tax In Action } In 2008, British Columbia implemented the first broadbased carbon tax in North America. More than 10 years since its passage, evidence shows that the fee has led to a drop in greenhouse gas emissions, changed the behavior of residents, and the economy has continued to grow. Here’s the breakdown: • According to a 2015 study, the tax has reduced greenhouse gas emissions between 5 and 15 percent since being implemented. • Between 2007 and 2016, provincial real GDP grew by 19 percent, as noted on the B.C. government’s website. • The tax changed the behavior of residents. “The B.C. carbon tax impacted gasoline consumption in two ways. It made consumers buy more fuel-efficient cars and also gave them the incentive to drive fewer kilometers,” says Sumeet S. Gulati, professor of land and food systems at the University of British Columbia. “Without B.C.’s carbon tax, gas demand would be 7 percent higher per person, and the average vehicle fuel efficiency would be 4 percent lower.” Gulati adds that he’s citing a 2016 research paper he co-wrote, when the carbon tax rate was lower, so a larger impact should be seen now. A carbon tax raises the cost of fuels—gas, diesel, coal— which incentivizes users to consume less, and ultimately reduces carbon pollution to help curb global warming. B.C.’s tax applies to approximately 70 percent of the province’s greenhouse gas emissions. It started at 2.3 cents per liter and, by design, has risen to 8.89 cents per liter. At the time of its passage, public concerns about climate change were high. The U.N.’s climate science panel released a report showing evidence that the Earth was warming because of society’s fossil fuel use, and Al Gore’s film release of “An Inconvenient Truth” entered pop culture and energized folks to push for action. Politics, of course, was also in play, which ultimately led the tax to be revenue-neutral, with revenue refunded back to businesses and to rural and low-income households in B.C. on their tax bills. Canada’s federal government now has a carbon-pricing program nationwide. And as of 2019, more than 70 jurisdictions have put a price on carbon, or are scheduled to implement initiatives.


Pass a carbon tax law  According to The Hawai‘i Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation Commission, pricing carbon dioxide emissions is “the most effective single action” to achieve the state’s emission goals. In 2019, the Legislature appropriated $150,000 to complete a comprehensive carbon tax study. Advocates applauded, saying the study is the right first step to glean necessary information to implement a tax, particularly on how the revenue could be directed. Options vary, such as a structure that does not disproportionately affect low-to-moderate income communities by offsetting their costs, or directing money to climate change adaptation needs to make communities safer and more resilient. If the findings lead to a statewide carbon tax, Hawai‘i would be the first state to enact such a policy, making it even more important to have a plan that others could emulate. Once it’s completed, knowledge should be put into action.

Source info can be found at Hawaii-environment.com

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–Dr. Jim Hansen, former chief scientist at the NASA Goddard Institute of Space

Support policies and programs that reduce— and ultimately eliminate— emissions-producing ground transportation  The path to convert Hawai‘i to clean, zero-emission vehicles requires a combination of actions. This includes not only renewing but also adding more benefits to the current incentives program for registered EVs, which is set to expire June 30, 2020. Investing in more charging stations at government, residential, and commercial buildings is essential—with a special emphasis on more workplace stations, which will reduce night charging when electricity demand is highest. Consumer education to nix misconceptions on EVs would also help. Nowadays, plug-ins are speedy, have long ranges, and vary in style. Electric trucks are coming online in the near-term and affordable options like the Chevy Bolt and Kia Soul are already on the market. New programs, policies, and smart planning to get Hawai‘i commuters out of their cars and increasing their use of bikes, transit and walking are also critical to this sector’s emission reductions.

Plan for sea-sevel rise

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Calls to Action

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“There is a possibility, a real danger, that we will hand young people and future generations a climate system that is practically out of their control… we have a global emergency. Fossil fuel carbon dioxide emissions should be reduced as rapidly as practical.”

 The alarm has been sounded. Rising seas are inevitable. The state needs a comprehensive strategy on how to adapt and move away from vulnerable coastlines. This is no easy task, but the State Climate Commission is recommending strategies that, as a start, should be implemented to better prepare for the challenges ahead. For example, passing legislation to require mandatory disclosure by real estate and insurance companies for properties exposed to sea-level rise. “We need buyers to understand that they’re purchasing property that will experience severe hazards in the greater future,” says Sam Lemmo, administrator for the state Office of Conservation and Coastal Lands. “This is no joke, and dismissing it raises moral and ethical questions, not to mention the financial and emotional damage that unsuspecting homeowners face in the future.” Another strategy example: directing new development away from vulnerable beach areas, and implementing some form of managed retreat, such as moving structures, will help preserve beaches and access for the benefit of all.

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One of the stops on the popular Tour de Trash is RRR Recycling Services. The public gets a chance to see where all of the City and County of Honolulu’s curbside blue cart materials are received and processed.

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Solid Waste

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Challenges in the global recycling industry can offer new opportunities and a change in mindset.

PHOTO BY RAFAEL BERGSTROM

➤ UNTIL RECENTLY, CHINA WAS

viewed as a convenient “away” place, where mountains of plastic and other materials could be sent. From 2000 to 2018 alone, the U.S. shipped more than 2.3 million containers filled with recycling to China—that’s 429 containers per day. But this so-called solution was a mirage: only 9 percent of the plastic that has ever been produced has been recycled. The majority of it winds up in landfills, incinerators, or creates litter in the environment.

Finally, after years of receiving contaminated, poor quality recycling materials, China banned 24 kinds of solid waste imports, from plastics to papers, starting Jan. 1, 2018. Hawai‘i is now sending its plastic to Indonesia, Thailand, and Taiwan. (Some of Hawai‘i’s recyclables still go to China, but the country now only accepts the cleanest, highest-grade materials, hence why most is sent elsewhere.) Appliances, autos and scrap metal continue to go to the Continental U.S. But recycling markets are saturated. Thailand plans to have a full ban on plastic waste imports by 2021; Vietnam, by 2025. As George Leonard, chief scientist at the Ocean Conservancy, told USA Today, “Our plastic chickens are coming home to roost and we are going to have to deal with this problem.” The silver lining? Chaos in the recycling sector presents an opportunity for Hawai‘i and the rest of the world to rethink how solid waste is approached. It’s a chance to pivot from a reactive position—a scramble of What do we do with all this stuff ?—to a proactive stance, focused on creating less discards to begin with.

Source info can be found at Hawaii-environment.com

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“REDUCE, REUSE AND RECYCLE NEEDS TWO MORE R’S. ‘REFUSE’ TO ACCEPT ITEMS LIKE PLASTIC FORKS AND ‘ROT,’ WHICH IS TO EMBRACE COMPOSTING.”

Flipping the Paradigm Traditional Waste Hierarchy Reduce

—Tamara Farnsworth, division manager of the Environmental Protection and Sustainability Division of Maui County

} The shift in thinking toward source reduction can be seen in the City and County of Honolulu’s ISWMP (integrated solid waste management plan). According to the EPA, an ISWMP is a comprehensive waste prevention, recycling, composting, and disposal program. In Hawai‘i, each county is required to revise its ISWMP every 10 years and give updates every five. Honolulu’s plan completed its public comments phase in the fall of 2019. Kaua‘i and Maui are in the early stages of their next ISWMPs. During the 18-month development of the ISWMP, Kōkua Hawai‘i Foundation had a seat at the table on the advisory committee, helping evolve the plan to adopt a more sustainable approach instead of being strictly operations-specific. Natalie McKinney is the executive director for the Kōkua Hawai‘i Foundation and gives an example: “through the Waste Characterization Study, we found that over 50 percent of the municipal waste stream are organics and other compostable materials. This represents an opportunity for significant impact by rescuing these resources for bioconversion, particularly composting.” The committee also found there is room to grow in terms of educating residents about their waste and where it goes. The new ISWMP establishes a Source Reduction Working Group (SRWG) that shall “openly collaborate with other government entities, businesses, community groups, and other stakeholders to determine the best approaches and provide recommendations to further reduce waste generation.” According to McKinney, the SRWG will be made up of nonprofits, businesses, and government agencies. (At time of press, the group has yet to be convened.) As a whole, the state has committed to the Aloha+ Challenge, which in the solid waste category calls for a 70-percent reduction in waste by 2030. In line with that goal, a pilot program on O‘ahu is moving 70,000 house-

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Reuse Recycle & Compost Transformation/ Waste-to-Energy Landfill

New Waste Management Paradigm Waste Prevention (Reduce) Product Design & Producer Responsibility Reuse Recycle Conversion & Compost Transformation/ Waste-to-Energy Landfill

Source: County of Los Angeles Countywide Integrated Waste Management Plan, 2015 Annual Report


holds (from Foster Village to Hawai‘i Kai) off a monthly, automatic pick-up of bulky items left curbside, to a by-appointment pick-up system. “We believe this pilot will help address the 80 percent uptick in bulky item tonnage since 2008 by assisting us in better managing bulky waste, to be more organized during pick-ups, and encouraging residents to consider the reuse of items they no longer need before disposal,” said Lori Kahikina, director of the Honolulu’s Department of Environmental Services. In 10 years, bulky item trash has increased almost two-fold, from 6,500 to nearly 12,000 tons per year. Others worry the new system will create problems with dumping, though homeowners who ignore the system could be ticketed. In the 2019 legislative session, the passage of S.B. 522 created a working group that focuses on reducing and recovering plastic from the Hawai‘i waste stream. The group has a mix of members representing the travel industry, natural resources, environmental stewards, and the food-services industry. The law notes that clearing plastic waste can be a huge burden of cost to taxpayers. San Diego county, which has a population similar to Hawai‘i’s with 1.3 million people, spends $14 million a year on plastic cleanup.

Local Business Opportunities According to Nielsen’s Global Corporate Sustainability Report, 66 percent of consumers are willing to pay more for sustainable goods. Specifically, they are looking “for products and services that come from companies who are committed to positive social and environmental impact.” That translates to opportunities for local businesses to create options that can reduce waste in cost-effective ways. Examples abound, such as Honolulu-based Pono Home Essentials, which has a zero-waste approach for its cleaning and personal care products. Consumers pay a $2 bottle deposit fee that is returned once the bottle is sent back (at no cost) to the company for cleaning and refilling. Parley Hawai‘i, part of the global nonprofit Parley for the Oceans, is seeking funding to build a facility in Hawai‘i that will turn plastic pollution pulled out of the ocean into high-end goods, such as sunglasses and furniture. The system involves a 40-foot container with sorted ocean waste, and a second container that houses the machinery for the plastic extrusion process. Shreds of plastic get heat-pressed into one sheet, preserving a marbled look. “Pollution is the result of failed design,” says the director, Kahi Pacarro, noting that Parley is also working to develop a substitute for plastic that is biodegradable. “In Hawai‘i we’re getting plastic [on the beaches] from the entire Pacific Rim.” Still, he says, “We cannot point the finger unless we lead by example and stop using so much plastic.”

Source info can be found at Hawaii-environment.com

VOICES

Quinn Vittum Co-founder and executive director, Re-use Hawai‘i DECONSTRUCTION WITH A FUNCTION “There is so much energy consumed in making construction materials,” says Quinn Vittum. “Take the lumber industry. To even get to the tree you may have to build a road into the forest. Then you cut down the tree, drive the tree back to the mill, kiln dry it, plane it, and then finally ship it to the market.” Re-use found that every ton of lumber kept out of the landfill equates to about 2.2 tons of greenhouse gas emissions reduced. Re-use started a decade ago to provide a lasting solution for demolition and construction waste, which makes up about 30 percent of Hawai‘i’s waste. Since then, the nonprofit has completed more than 600 deconstruction projects, the bulk of them on O‘ahu, salvaging up to 80 percent of a structure that in turn is available for reuse at their Kaka‘ako Redistribution Center. The group also recently expanded deconstruction services and opened a warehouse for its salvaged material on Hawai‘i Island. “The materials are sold to the public for a fraction of their value, so there’s a community benefit as well,” he says. In 2017, Hawai‘i residents saved $300,000 by shopping for lumber, cabinets, sinks, light fixtures and more at Re-use Hawai‘i’s Redistribution Center, Vittum estimates. Their impact keeps about 34-plus tons of materials out of the waste stream each week and employs 45 individuals in green jobs. The Aloha+ Challenge Dashboard shows lumber diversion as a success story, rising from 210 to 660 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions reduced, when comparing Fiscal Year 2008 and 2017.

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Foam Free Gains Traction In December 2019 the Honolulu City Council passed Bill 40, which requires businesses and restaurants on O‘ahu to phase out food packaging made out of polystyrene, also known as Styrofoam, and single-use plastics like straws, stirrers, and utensils over the next two years. During the effort, some Hawai‘i businesses pushed back, saying that the ban would increase costs for local food and sacrifice jobs. Amendments were made to address their concerns, and when Mayor Kirk Caldwell signed the bill, he said, “It’s just one more step to a more green, more resilient future where we’re tackling our climate crisis.” Maui became the state’s first county to ban polystyrene food containers, a law that went into effect on Dec. 31, 2018. The County of Hawai‘i followed with a ban that was implemented about six months after Maui’s law. More than 100 cities and counties across the U.S. have partially or completely banned polystyrene. In March 2019, the European Parliament voted to ban single-use plastics in the E.U., including expanded polystyrene foam food and drink containers, with most products banned by 2021. According to a statement by the European Commission, “The products covered by this new law constitute 70 percent of all marine litter items. Due to its slow rate of decomposition, plastic accumulates in seas, oceans and on beaches in the E.U. and worldwide.” “I hope this will continue to be a domino effect with even more cities around the world banning foam and plastics,” says Rafael Bergstrom, executive director of Sustainable Coastlines Hawai‘i. “We’ve been working on this issue for 10 years in Hawai‘i alone—and in a state surrounded by the ocean, this progress was a long time coming.”

Photos, left to right: Mindy Jaffee (in red), program director for the Windward Zero Waste School Hui, has been a leader in teaching the public how to compost. Top: Volunteers help prepare mulch for sale. Bottom: Students learn how to use worms for vermicomposting.

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LOCAL BRIGHT SPOT

Schools Aim to Ditch the Dumpster The Windward Zero Waste School Hui is reducing waste, restoring the soil, and training the next generation in the mindset of resource recovery. The Hui is a partnership between five schools on Windward O‘ahu, including Ka‘ōhao Elementary Public Charter School (formerly Lanikai Elementary), Ka‘elepulu Elementary, Kainalu Elementary, Enchanted Lake Elementary, and Kailua Intermediate School. It teaches school children how to use simple, natural methods, such as hot composting (for dairy products) and decomposition using worms (for fruits, vegetables, and grains). “We reduce the dumpster volume by—on average—80 to 90 percent at every school we’re in,” says the group’s co-founder and coordinator, Mindy Jaffe, who has been a force behind the program for 15 years, and has earned two national awards by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Here’s how: on Day One at a school, the group eliminates all food and milk from going into the dumpster, immediately avoiding the need for a daily emptying of the trash. Within a year or so, all food, paper, cardboard, and green waste is also removed from the waste stream. Everything is composted instead, and “What was a


Source info can be found at Hawaii-environment.com

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Fill ‘Er (Back) Up: Refillable Bottles

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} In the summer of 2018, Oregon started a refillable bottle program, BottleDrop, with beverage makers of beer, cider, and wine. The bottles are made near Portland, using recycled glass, and can be refilled up to 25 times. They carry a 10-cent deposit and are returned to recycling centers just like other glass bottles; a bar code helps them get sorted out. Eight companies are already onboard, and Joel Schoening, the community relations manager for the Oregon Beverage Recycling Cooperative, says, “We’ve had interest from cold press coffee makers, kombucha makers, craft soda companies, and more. One way we expect this to grow in the near future is through out of state beverage makers putting their beverages in BottleDrop Refillables for the Oregon market.” By the end of 2019, about 1 million bottles will be in rotation, Schoening says. “What’s special about this program is that it has the potential to reduce the emissions associated with a craft beverage by about 90 percent.” Currently, less than 0.1 percent of beverage containers in America are refillable, compared with 45 percent in Canada. O‘ahu-based Sky Kombucha is ahead of the curve, giving customers 50 cents back on their bottles, which they sanitize and reuse. Every month, this saves the use and disposal of thousands of bottles.

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PHOTO COURTESY OF OREGON BEVERAGE RECYCLING COOPERATIVE

PHOTOS COURTESY OF WINDWARD ZERO WASTE SCHOOL HUI / ZEROWASTESCHOOLHUI.ORG

stinking, overflowing dumpster is now virtually empty,” says Jaffe. In 2019, for example, the group diverted 56.2 tons of resources out of the waste stream at its five schools. This decreases the amount of methane-producing gas in landfills and produces a saleable resource: nutrient-rich soil amendments, which can be used in gardens and farms. Think of the prospective of all 293 schools in Hawai‘i’s public school system participating. The Hui would like to add Kailua Elementary to the first cohort and create a second “pod” of schools including Maunawili Elementary, Waimānalo Elementary/Intermediate, and Blanche Pope Elementary. “Within the next couple of years, we want to bring in Olomana School (correctional, grades 6-12), Kailua High and Kalāheo High, with a focus on developing a vocational track. If our vision for this project manifests, there will be plenty of job opportunities for trained, certified Resource Recovery Specialists in the coming decades,” says Jaffe. In 2018, House Bill 2025 provided $300,000 for zero-waste programs at schools. However, in July of 2019, the DOE awarded $285,000 to a private engineering firm and none of the schools received funding, putting Windward Zero Waste School Hui in serious jeopardy.

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C The Minuses (-)

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PHOTO BY OLIVIER KOENIG

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H-POWER Perspectives, from both supporters and critics COVANTA HONOLULU, OR THE H-POWER FACILITY,

is located in Kapolei on O‘ahu and began operation in 1990. Up to 3,000 tons a day of municipal solid waste from around O‘ahu is incinerated, and turned into electricity that is sold to HECO, producing enough power to meet roughly 7 percent (from 2008 to 2016) of the island’s energy needs.

“For every ton of trash burned, H-POWER produces the same amount of electricity as one barrel of oil,” explains Michael O’Keefe, Executive Assistant II at the City and County of Honolulu’s Dept. of Environmental Services. “The argument in favor is that burning the trash avoids the necessity of burning fossil fuels. We understand that burning trash also produces carbon dioxide and ash, and the latter has to go into a landfill. On the other hand, the market for recycling in Hawai‘i is very challenging and the vast majority needs to be shipped to distant overseas markets—and that burns fossil fuels to get there.” The State counts the electricity generated at H-POWER towards its Renewable Energy Portfolio Standards goal (40 percent renewable energy by 2030), in the same category as solar panels, biofuels, wind, hydropower, geothermal, and biomass. During the process, metals, such as aluminum, are extracted for recycling. In 2017, that amounted to 22,000 tons, according to the Aloha+ Challenge Dashboard, which also notes that the same year, 701,068 tons were converted from municipal solid waste into energy. H-POWER reduces the weight of waste by 75 percent and the volume of waste by 90 percent. HE LONO MOKU

O‘ahu’s Trash OVERA L L WASTE ESTIM ATES

The Pluses (+)

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The City has a quota of trash to provide, so there’s an incentive to burn as much as possible. When the City fails to deliver a guaranteed tonnage of 800,000 tons per year it must pay the H-POWER contractor (Covanta) for any lost electrical revenues. The Office of the City Auditor estimated the City owed the contractor between $1 million to $2 million dollars annually for lost electrical revenues. There are other concerns. Oil needs to be added to counteract the cooling effect of wet waste, there’s an expense to keep burners running, carbon and other pollutants are entering the air—and lost potential, because once materials are incinerated, those resources are forever lost. “The data shows that H-POWER emits two times more greenhouse gas emissions than our largest oil generating plant (Kahe Power Plant, West O‘ahu),” says Nicole Chatterson, the director of Zero Waste O‘ahu and the Living Lab Coordinator in the UH System Office of Sustainability. She did her thesis on H-POWER.

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Organics is the largest material present, accounting for over one-third (36 percent) of all disposed waste. Paper is next, accounting for approximately 23 percent of disposed waste on O‘ahu. 0.6% Household 10.4% Other

Hazardous Waste

Materials

14.7%

Inerts and Construction and Demolition

22.7%

Paper

35 .5 % Organics

9.8%

Plastic 4.6%

Metal 1.5%

Source: 2017 O‘ahu Waste Composition Study

Glass


Calls to Action

PHOTO COURTESY OF ALOHA HARVEST, SHEILA SARHANGI, AND WINDWARD ZERO WASTE SCHOOL HUI

Strengthen food recovery programs  UH economists Matthew Loke and PingSun Leung estimated that in the Islands, 365 pounds of food gets thrown out, per person, per year, with a value of $1.025 billion. Using refrigerated trucks and sameday delivery, the nonprofit Aloha Harvest has rescued over 23 million pounds of food in the past 20 years from every point of the supply chain, reports Phil Acosta, the organization’s executive director. Aloha Harvest is strengthening the distribution network through expansion of their fleet of refrigerated vehicles, finding volunteers who are willing to use their own vehicles, and expanding their network of food donors and receiving agencies throughout the state. Public investment in infrastructure that supports food recovery—whether operated by government agencies or the private sector—will make a significant, positive environmental and economic impact in the community. Also, Acosta notes, “government entities such as DOE, public safety, the UH system, and the military should be required to recycle food waste.” More promotion of the federal Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Food Donation Act and the State Good Samaritan Donation of Food Act, which

provide liability protection for food donors, would also help, he says.

Source info can be found at Hawaii-environment.com

"In a consumer society contentment is a radical proposition. Recognizing abundance rather than scarcity undermines an economy that thrives by creating unmet desires."

Establish extended producer responsibility laws  Holding companies responsible for the waste of their products—that’s the gist of the Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) approach. “It’s an effective strategy to place shared responsibility for end-of-life product management on the producers and all entities on the product chain, instead of the local government,” explains Allison Fraley, the Solid Waste program coordinator, County of Kaua‘i Solid Waste Division. “EPR also encourages product design changes that minimize a negative impact on the environment.” Connecticut has been successful with its EPR laws, which cover paint, mattresses, mercury thermostats, and electronics. In total, these four programs have diverted 26 million pounds of material from the waste stream, created over 100 jobs, and saved Connecticut municipalities and taxpayers more than $2.6 million per year. Those savings allowed the governments to provide additional services—such as police, fire, and education—worth another $6.7 million. The Hawai‘i Electronic Waste and Television Recovery Law (2009) resulted in increased recycling opportunities on Kaua‘i for e-waste such as televisions. Hawai‘i needs EPR programs for many other products, including florescent tubes, household batteries, mattresses, paint, and more, suggests Fraley.

—Robin Wall Kimmerer author, Braiding Sweetgrass

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Embrace composting  Hawai‘i County’s Department of Environmental Management proposed a 40-acre site for an island-wide composting facility to reduce the amount of organic waste dumped into landfills. A good start, but small, localized community composting centers, rather than centralized options, may be better as they avoid transporting waste. “Think about rooftop solar panels. Distributed energy is a good strategy and so is distributed composting,” says Mindy Jaffe, program director for the Windward Zero Waste School Hui. Statewide, barriers to small-scale composting facilities—such as unnecessary permits—should be removed, coupled with programs that make residential composting and vermicomposting easy. “On a rock where more than anything else we need microbially-active, living soil to support local agriculture, it is insanity to burn food, paper, cardboard, wood, green waste, and manure,” says Jaffe. “These valuable resources should be separated from non-biodegradable items in the waste stream and composted.”

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Health & Well-Being

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Our health and well-being is influenced by many factors—from access to healthy food to how much time we spend in nature. ➤ IN OKINAWA, JAPAN, WOMEN LIVE THE LONGEST IN THE WORLD with many surpassing

100. In Ikaria, Greece, one in three people live into their 90s. So, what factors affect our health? Though health insurance is essential, it’s far from being a good yardstick of health. What does have a marked influence on whether a person is healthy or not—or, the social determinants of health—are the conditions in which people are born, grow, live, work, and age, according to the World Health Organization. This includes the everyday context of people’s lives, such as their physical environment (think: clean air), social support networks, and availability of healthy food. Addressing these determinants can not only improve health, but also advance equity to specific populations. Source info can be found at Hawaii-environment.com

Given the complexity of what affects our health and well-being in the islands, we cover only a few factors here.

What we eat, how we get it It goes without saying; nutritious food is vital to people’s health. Hawai‘i is a place rooted in indigenous culture and subsistence practices. It’s also a place where eating, growing, and sharing food brings people together, and where up to 90 percent of our food is imported. The factors that contribute to our relationship with food and its foundation in our health have many prongs. Take, for instance, the availability and affordability of healthy food for people across Hawai‘i. The Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA)—a yearlong effort, with involvement from hospitals to communities, to

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“FOR CHILDREN, LACK OF SUFFICIENT FOOD CAN CAUSE DEVELOPMENTAL DELAYS AND LACK OF NUTRITIOUS FOOD CAN CAUSE HEALTH PROBLEMS, ALL OF WHICH CAN IMPACT LEARNING IN THE LONGER TERM.” — Aloha United Way ALICE study identify and prioritize significant health issues facing Hawai‘i’s communities—shared this perspective from a Kaua‘i resident: “Everything is expensive. Healthy food is expensive and the processed stuff is cheaper. Am I going to pay my electric bill or get healthier food?” Balancing how paychecks are spent is an issue that also comes to light in the Aloha United Way ALICE study. ALICE is an acronym for Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed. The study’s focus is on those who are working one, two, or three jobs, yet they struggle to afford basic needs—from food to housing and child care. In Hawai‘i, where costs of living are the highest in the nation, 48 percent of all households are ALICE or below. Cost is one factor that impacts people’s consumption of healthy food because it is expensive, especially for low-income families. The second is accessibility to healthy food. A quarter of Hawai‘i residents do not have healthy food stores within a halfmile, says the ALICE study. Farmers markets can make up some of the grocery store gap in communities. Case in point, taken from the CHNA: On Kaua‘i and Hawai‘i Island, lower-income residents have less access to grocery stores, but a high number of farmers markets. Adults on those two islands report eating more fruits and vegetables than

in other places. The correlation demonstrates how local farms can positively affect the health of Hawai‘i residents. “We have to invest in local agriculture,” says Jessica Yamauchi, executive director of the Hawai‘i Public Health Institute (HIPHI). She points to changing what’s on the menu at schools across Hawai‘i from less processed foods to more scratch-cooked meals with local food ingredients, one of the three core elements of the Hawai‘i Farm to School Hui, which HIPHI coordinates. “The demand is there, when you consider the number of meals that the Department of Education serves per day, but we need to increase our supply of local food to meet that demand,” she adds. The state’s ‘Aina Pono program sets out to purchase 40 percent local food for school meals statewide. It’s a big commitment to transform what some call the largest restaurant in Hawai‘i, with 197 cafeterias serving more than 100,000 meals per day. In the ALICE study, 41 percent of adults and 51 percent of adolescents in Hawai‘i report that they do not consume fruit or vegetables daily. And not surprisingly, there are consequences to not having enough food or enough healthy food.

Park Spending HNL v. SF

Cafeteria Math

$65.08 $133.31 In 2016, the City & County of Honolulu allocated $65.08 per resident for the maintenance and operation of all county parks.

The City of San Francisco spends $133.31 per resident to maintain a comparable park system with similar park acreage.

Source: The Trust for Public Land’s ParkScore® index, Aloha+ Challenge Dashboard

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44.2 % ~

33.1% ~

When schools have school gardens, 44.2 percent of students eat more fruits and vegetables.

When schools serve local food, 33.1 percent of students eat more fruits and vegetables. Source: School Meal Programs Innovate to Improve Student Nutrition Report 2016


“Eating foods that are higher in fat, sodium, and sugar can contribute to obesity, heart disease, diabetes, low energy levels, and poor nutrition,” says the study. “For children, lack of sufficient food can cause developmental delays and lack of nutritious food can cause health problems, all of which can impact learning in the longer term.” The state’s Aloha+ Challenge aims to double the percentage of locally grown food consumed in Hawai‘i, to 20 – 30 percent by 2030. To get there, the barriers that affect farming in Hawai‘i need to be addressed, including access to affordable agricultural land, costs of materials and infrastructure, and education and training for new farmers, says a report by The Kohala Center.

VOICES

Why are so many Hawai‘i residents commuting to work? (Research shows that almost 70 percent of residents drive alone.) The state’s high cost of living, low wages, and sprawling communities designed for access by highways are just some of the reasons. In the report, “Transcending Oil, Hawai‘i’s Path to a Clean Energy Economy,” conducted by Rhodium Group and commissioned by Elemental Excelerator, it states, “As our population grew and housing got more expensive, we moved to less expensive parts of the island to raise our families. And while our houses were larger and more affordable, our neighborhoods were far from jobs and schools. Instead of walking to work, or taking the bus, we drove.” There’s also this from the ALICE study: “Hawai‘i’s economy is dependent on jobs that pay wages so low that workers cannot afford to live near their jobs even though most are required to work off-site.” In other words, peo-

Home Plate

=

$313M

Replacing just 10 percent of the food Hawai‘i currently imports would amount to approximately $313 million that would remain in the state.

Source: Increased Food Security and Food Self-Sufficiency Strategy, DBEDT and DOA, 2012

Source info can be found at Hawaii-environment.com

Bob Greenberg Rideshare enthusiest HONOLULU’S BIKESHARE PROGRAM, BIKI For 62-year-old Bob Greenberg, who spends most of his weekdays at a computer, exercise didn’t make the daily to-do list. That changed in 2017 when a “Biki Stop” showed up near his Chinatown apartment. Two years and hundreds of rides later, he’s dropped 50 pounds and cut 90 percent of his driving. “My health and happiness index has skyrocketed,” Greenberg says, who reports that his wife rides too. “We have this rule — if we can’t get there on Biki, it’s not worth going.” Greenberg isn’t alone. By June 2018, a year after Biki’s debut on O‘ahu, users racked up 1.1 million rides, 65 percent of those by Hawai‘i residents. About half of the riders surveyed said the bikes helped them exercise more and drive less. Over a quarter said they lost weight. In just two years, Honolulu’s Biki ranks as the sixth most used bikeshare system in the nation, behind cities such as Chicago, New York City, and Washington, D.C.

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PHOTO COURTESY OF BIKESHARE HAWAI‘I

Cars and community design

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VOICES

ple are struggling with Hawai‘i’s lack of affordability. They are moving out of the urban core areas and relying on their cars to get them back in to work. Longer commutes by car mean less time for things like exercise and spending time with family and friends—and also cause a higher tendency toward depression, anxiety, and social isolation, according to the nonprofit Collaborative on Health and The Environment. Increasing mixed-use development density would help, says Kathleen Rooney, transportation systems manager for Ulupono Initiative. “This doesn’t have to be Waikīkī high rises. It means people are living closer together, and not always requiring parking for cars.” Coupled with better community design, increasing multi-modal transportation options, such as prioritizing public transit, and making our streets safer through projects like Complete Streets, can improve quality of life and health. “Honolulu is just as dense as San Francisco. The ability to switch to active transportation or shared modes is doable,” says Rooney. “It’s about building choice back into our cities.”

Nature and long-term health Hi‘aloa

Sean Chun Cultural Practitioner, Ho‘ola Lāhui Hawai‘i

PHOTO COURTESY OF DAVID EICKHOFF

TRADITIONAL HEALING

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“A lot of the knowledge that I’ve been taught isn’t in books,” says Sean Chun, cultural practitioner at Ho‘ola - Hawai‘i, Kaua‘i’s designated Native Hawaiian Lahui Health Care provider. Chun has over 25 years of experi- lapa‘au (Hawaience in the traditional practice of la‘au - (plants) and ian healing), which uses medicinal la‘au pule (prayer). He collects hi‘aloa (a shrub, also known as ‘uhaloa) to treat sore throats, high blood pressure, and brain fog. He uses ‘awa (kava) for muscle relief and viruses. Contemporary healers use 154 native plants in - lapa‘au, according to a study conducted in the midla‘au 90s. “It’s a holistic approach including the household, including the family, including healing the land,” Chun says. “Because you can be physically well but mentally sick. What good is that?”

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Several studies have shown that spending time in natural environments can lead to happier and healthier people. One recent study from the University of East Anglia in Norwich England, for example, found that living close to nature and spending time outside can reduce the risk of type II diabetes, cardiovascular disease, premature death, preterm birth, stress, and high blood pressure. “Spending time in nature certainly makes us feel healthier, but until now, the impact on our long-term well-being hasn’t been fully understood,” said lead author Dr. Caoimhe Twohig-Bennett in a statement. The research team gathered evidence from over 140 studies involving more than 290 million people from 20 countries. Why exactly nature benefits our bodies isn’t known. The study says people living near greenspace may have more opportunities to exercise. But even passive activities, like relaxing in nature, could have health-boosting effects. Research from Japan, where shinrin-yoku (forest bathing) is a popular therapy, suggests that improved physical and mental health can be gained from exposure to phytoncides, an organic compound released by trees and plants. Doctors are taking note and prescribing nature-based activities as an emerging trend, both nationally and abroad.


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Quality and access to special places

Source info can be found at Hawaii-environment.com

Kahina Pōhaku, Moloka‘i

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Connecting with ‘āina For Native Hawaiians, identity and ‘āina are tightly bound. In ‘Āina: Ke Ola O Na Kanaka ‘Oiwi, Dr. Noa Emmett Aluli and Dr. Davianna Pōmaika‘i McGregor, explain the relationship this way: “Land is at the center of Native Hawaiian spirituality, health, and well-being. The land is alive, respected, treasured, praised and even worshipped. The land is ‘one hānau,’ sands of our birth, and resting place for our bones. The land lives as do the ‘uhane, or spirits of all our ancestors who nurtured both physical and spiritual relationships with the land. The land has provided for generations of Native Hawaiians, and will hopefully provide for those yet to come.” Tending to the land is an important element of this partnership. “The health of our environment is inextricably connected to the health of our bodies, our families, our communities,” says Miwa Tamanaha, co-director of Kua‘āina Ulu ‘Auamo (KUA). She adds that everyone living in Hawai‘i, not only Native Hawaiians, have a part to play in taking care of wahi (place). KUA describes itself as a “backbone organization” working to advance community-based natural resources management in Hawai‘i through shared responsibility. One of its projects includes the support of Hui Mālama Loko I‘a, a statewide network of 100 fishpond practitioners who empower one another and leverage their skills, knowledge and resources to restore and manage more than 40 loko i‘a (traditional Hawaiian fishponds). Tamanaha says, “In stewardship, in humble, daily acts of care for place, we come ever closer to a relationship that is generative, equitable, and thriving—aloha ‘āina.”

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PHOTO COURTESY OF SCOTT KANDA/KUA‘AINA ULU ‘AUAMO

We know that being around nature can be good for us, but how we get to these green spaces, or if we can at all, is also a factor. “There’s a disparity issue in terms of access to nature,” says Dr. David Derauf, executive director of Kōkua Kalihi Valley. “We are at an advantage in Hawai‘i in that we are surrounded by the ocean and mountains, with incredible healing properties. But for some, visiting these places isn’t easy. Maybe you can’t walk because of health issues, or there are no sidewalks in your community, or the bus stop isn’t close enough for you.” People can also lose access to a place that they considered special, or that they feel is part of their home, which can be traumatic. “For some, it’s when a property is purchased and a wall or fence is put up,” says Josh Levinson, principal of Islander Institute, the group who produced the CHNA report. A resident of Hāna, Maui describes the impact of losing access to a fishpond and freshwater spring after it was bought, saying in the report: “…Now we have to decide whether to stay out or jump over the wall to ‘trespass.’ This raises anger in community. … People become unhealthy, stressed out, and feel a sense of hopelessness. There’s no future for the kids. That’s when there’s drugs and drinking. All you hear now, ‘how it used to be’ and ‘only one fish over there now’...it’s depressing.” Levinson adds, “People tend to think of beaches and the mountains as special, sacred places, but other public spaces, like county or state parks can also be a sacred place for someone.” The lack of upkeep of these public areas came up as a theme in the assessment. The Hawai‘i Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) manages and protects nearly 1.3 million acres of State lands, beaches, and coastal waters as well as 750 miles of coastline. DLNR’s vast responsibility includes hiking trails, camping spots, fishing areas, and parks—areas where Hawai‘i residents exercise, feel a sense of place, connect with their families, and socialize with their community. To upkeep and maintain these natural and cultural areas, the department receives 1.1 percent of the state’s budget. Many believe this budget shortfall sets an unrealistic expectation for DLNR and doesn’t adequately address the increasing threats to Hawai‘i’s resources—and the health benefits for Hawai‘i residents.

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LOCAL BRIGHT SPOT

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The “And (Not Or) Culture”

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} For nearly 15 years, Ho‘oulu ‘Āina has addressed the health needs of Kalihi Valley and beyond by stewarding a 100acre upland forest in the back of the valley. Through its four program areas—restoration of the preserve’s ancient sites and sacred places, agroforestry and reforestation, volunteer work days and community gardening—the community and the land find healing together. Here, an interview with Puni Jackson, director of Ho‘oulu ‘Āina, a service of Kōkua Kalihi Valley.

Q. How does Ho‘oulu ‘Āina approach health and well-being for community? A. We have a saying: ‘o ka hā o ka ‘āina ke ola o ka po‘e, which translates to, “The breath of the land is the life of the people.” It’s the idea that the land can be healthy if the people are healthy, and the people can be healthy if the land is healthy. By connecting with the land, you can make the spirit, the mind, the body healed, and in the process, the land is also healed. Q. What does it mean to work as an “And”, “Not Or” culture? A. This principle is about expansion. Many in our society are conditioned toward a commitment to barriers, looking for why things can’t be a certain way. An “And Culture” means that I have room for opposing views and opinions, and everything in between. It means there is more than one way—and sometimes 1,000 ways—of doing something. A cul-

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ture of “and” creates an opportunity for listening, watching, learning, experimenting, and growing our understandings together. This requires humility, because as our elder, Uncle Martin Hee says, “Only the humble can learn.” Q. One of your guiding principles is to listen to the land and allow the land to guide the work. What does that process look like? A. This process requires us to trust ourselves and to trust one another to find stories in the unfolding of land and community— and to know and develop our own gifts. We follow the moon cycle and weather systems. We harvest when the plants communicate readiness, and we listen for the learning opportunities in our community. We grow at the rate that our investment of time allows, and we contract out those investments when we run the risk of depletion of time, space, human spirit, and resource. We are vulnerable to

the teaching of the land and the ancestors, and we are passionate about our endeavors toward resilience. We fail and learn and learn and fail. All of this requires deep listening and commitment. Listening to the land means being nimble in planning and flexible in executing. It means being ready with all of the tools you have at any breeze or storm. It means that we are committed to the application of humans being of servitude to the land. Q. What would you like more people to have knowledge or awareness of? A. Aloha is a basic value that everyone can come home to. This approach can heal so much in our community. Aloha connects us to each other and to this land. Aloha is not only a soft and romantic feeling you have toward a loved one, it is also the deep, fierce feeling you have about a place that you would give your life for—in a second.

PHOTO COURTESY OF KA‘OHUA LUCAS

[Edited for brevity and clarity.]


C Since opening in 2013, Sundance Square, a 35-block area in the heart of downtown Fort Worth, Texas, has been widely hailed as a “living room” for the city. Here, interactive water features allow the space to be used as opposed to passively observed.

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PHOTO COURTESY OF UH DURP

PHOTO COURTESY OF PROJECT FOR PUBLIC SPACES

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“EVERYONE HAS THE RIGHT TO LIVE IN A GREAT PLACE. MORE IMPORTANTLY, EVERYONE HAS THE RIGHT TO CONTRIBUTE TO MAKING THE PLACE WHERE THEY ALREADY LIVE GREAT.” —Fred Kent, Founder Project for Public Spaces

WORLD BRIGHT SPOT

Project for Public Spaces } Fred Kent prefers a bottom-up approach when designing a public space. The process goes something like this: Residents who live in and use the place are brought together, asked what they want to do there, and everything builds from that foundation. He calls this people-driven approach “placemaking.” “What happens is that people begin to realize that they know something. They know a lot, actually. A lot more than they thought,” he says. “And when they’re with four or five other people, they bounce ideas off of each other and they realize that collectively they can come up with something better than any one person can.” Source info can be found at Hawaii-environment.com

One main principle is dubbed the “Power of 10+.” It says that cities of all sizes should have 10 destinations where people want to be—say, a square, a park, a museum. And within each of those destinations, there should be at least 10 places within it—a seating area, a café, public art. Within each of these places there should be 10 things for people to do. The place becomes “great” because it is built around four features: sociability (seeing friends, interacting with strangers), accessibility (easy to get to), activities (something to do for all ages), and comfort (safety, cleanliness, the ability to sit). Over the last five decades, placemaking has transformed spaces like Times Square in New York City and Campus Martius Park in Detroit into gathering spots where people linger, socialize, and play. “They walk more. They smile more. They share more,” says Kent.

At the University of Hawai‘i at Manoa, faculty and students in the Department of Urban and Regional Planning (DURP) take on community-centered projects as part of its planning practicum—though the process isn’t necessarily called placemaking. “We provide a service to clients, who sometimes may not be able to afford a consultant,” says Priyam Das, chair of DURP. For example, in 2012 students collaborated with residents of the Kailapa Hawaiian Homestead on Hawai‘i Island to develop conceptual plans for a community resource center on 12 acres. “We were hosted by two families for four days, which brought unique insights into what the community was visioning for their place; we held talk stories and a charrette,” says Das. Their participatory approach sprouted ideas including container-based agriculture for growing food, education centers to support job training, and open spaces for keiki and kupuna.

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Calls to Action

PHOTOS COURTESY OF COUNTER CULTURE ORGANIC FARM, PIXABAY, PHILIP RACSA

Fund regional food system education coordinators

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 One of the many challenges of local food production is the need to replenish Hawai‘i’s aging farmer workforce, who averages over 60 years. To bend this curve, coordinators could be established across the islands to infuse agriculture and food systems education into schools and teacher development programs statewide, from preschool to college, which could lead to students taking on occupations in agriculture and support the state’s goals for increased food security and self-sufficiency. “Teachers need to be equipped to successfully offer agriculture and garden-based learning for students,” says Lydi Bernal, coordinator for the Hawai‘i Farm to School Hui, which is a network of representatives from state agencies, community organizations, and the University of Hawai‘i focused on strengthening the farm-to-school movement across Hawai‘i. “By investing in a youth’s interest to farm, we’re investing in the ability of each community to feed itself.”

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“I believe that the community—in the fullest sense: a place and all its creatures—is the smallest unit of health and that to speak of the health of an isolated individual is a contradiction in terms.”

Double DLNR’s budget  Hawai‘i’s Department of Land and Natural Resources (DNLR) has the tremendous responsibility of managing and protecting 750 miles of coastline, 1.3 million acres of public lands, and 3 million acres of ocean waters. The agency must steward these vast natural resources with 1.1 percent of the state’s overall budget—a seemingly impossible task. Incremental increases in funds over the next decade to double DLNR’s budget by 2030 would enable the department to fulfill its broad mandate—which contributes to the health and well-being of residents through the upkeep of parks, trails, and other facilities used for exercise, connecting with nature and community. The investment is needed now more than ever. “We have major threats attacking our natural resources, such as the growing number of visitors and the impacts of climate change, and we’re not matching that challenge with an increase in funding and capacity,” says environmental attorney and North Shore resident Denise Antolini.

—Wendell Berry, Health is Membership

Implement a transportation demand management (TDM) program for state employees  What is TDM? It’s a term for using existing infrastructure more efficiently by reducing the number of commuters who drive alone and increasing the number who make use of public transit, ridesharing, bicycle trips, and other alternative forms of travel. For example, through a TDM lens, a congested highway would benefit from creating dedicated lanes for express buses, not an additional lane for traffic. This approach focuses on moving people, not vehicles. Studies show that individuals who bike or walk to work are happier with their commutes and have positive health outcomes. TDM can also help save users money, offer safer commutes, and reduce carbon emissions from gas-powered vehicles. The State of Hawai‘i could lead by example and implement a TDM program for its 20,000-plus employees. As a start, the State could set up a program to track how employees commute and develop strategies to counteract. Examples of options include prioritizing parking for carpoolers or providing memberships to Biki.


PERSPECTIVE “In one generation, my people learned to read. In one generation—my generation—we stopped smoking. In one generation, we put so much carbon dioxide into the air that we no longer know what our future will look like. And in one generation, we can create a new future—and we can live in that new future together. It's ultimately up to us to envision our next phase—and that means taking on whatever roles or jobs we need to make that happen." —Dr. Noelani Puniwai, Assistant Professor, Kamakakūokalani Center for Hawaiian Studies, UH Mānoa

Source info can be found at Hawaii-environment.com

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CONCLUSION

THE HAWAI‘I ENVIRONMENTAL FUNDERS GROUP AT H E R T O N FA M I LY F O U N DAT I O N T H E H E A LY F O U N DAT I O N

unde omD O R R A N C E F A M I LSed Y Fut O perspiciatis U N DAT I O N Meeting goals around nis iste natus error sit voluptatem F R O S T FA M I LY F O U N DAT I O N sit amet, consectetur accusantium doloremque laudantium, A S T L E F O U N DAT I O N adipiscing elit, sedH A R O L D K . L . Ctotam rem aperiam, eaque ipsa quae H AWA I ‘ I C O M M U N I T Y F O U N DAT I O N ab illo inventore veritatis et quasi ardo eiusmod tempor H AU ‘O L I M AU LOA F O U N DAT I O N chitecto beatae vitae dicta sunt expliincididunt ut labore JEANNE HERBERT FUND cabo. Nemo enim ipsam voluptatem

2019 - 2020aliqua. Ut enim ad min Dlore magna K . L . F E L I C I TA S quia voluptas sit aspernatur aut odit The State of veniam, quis nostrud exercitation K A M E H A M E H A aut S Cfugit, H O Osed L S quia consequuntur magthe Environment ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea ni. Neque porro quisquam est, qui KŌANIANI FUND dolorem quia dolor sit amet, commodo consequat. Duis aute M Airure RISLA FOUN D A T I Oipsum N consectetur, adipisci velit, sed quia dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate U Lvelit U P O N O I N I T I AT I V E non numquam eius modi tempora esse cillum dolore eu fugiat. (50 W E words) I S S M A N FA M I LY F O U N DAT I O N

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incidunt ut labore et dolore magnam Sed ut perspiciatis unde omnis iste natus aliquam quaerat voluptatem. Ut enim Acknowledgements error sit voluptatem accusantium doloremque ad minima veniam, quis nostrum laudantium, totam rem aperiam, eaque ipsa exercitationem ullam corporis susE DarchitecITORIAL quae ab illo inventore veritatis et quasi cipit laboriosam, nisi ut aliquid ex ea Sheilaenim Sarhangi to beatae vitae dicta sunt explicabo. Nemo commodi consequatur? Cause Consulting, LLC ipsam voluptatem quia voluptas sit aspernatur Sed ut perspiciatis unde omaut odit aut fugit, sed quia consequuntur magni. nis iste natus error sit voluptatem DESIGN Neque porro quisquam est, qui dolorem ipsum Warren Daubert accusantium doloremque laudantium, quia dolor sit amet, consectetur, adipisci velit, totam rem aperiam, eaque ipsa quae Daubert Design Co. sed quia non numquam eius modi tempora ab illo inventore veritatis et quasi arincidunt ut labore et dolore magnam aliquam chitecto beatae vitae dicta sunt expliOur sincere gratitude and appreciation quaerat voluptatem. Ut enim ad minima cabo. Nemo enim ipsam to the many individuals who gave their timevoluptatem veniam, quis nostrum exercitationem ullam quia voluptas sit aspernatur aut odit and expertise to this report. corporis suscipit laboriosam, nisi ut aliquid ex Sed ut perspiciatis unde omea commodi consequatur? corporis suscipit nis iste natus error sit voluptatem laboriosam, nisi ut aliquid ex ea commodi conaccusantium doloremque laudantium, sequatur? totam rem aperiam, eaque ipsa quae ab illo inventore veritatis et quasi architecto beatae vitae dicta sunt explicabo. 

More information and background sources for this report can be found at Hawaii-environment.com.

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Profile for Hawaii Community Foundation

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The challenge is here. From the unprecedented rainfall and floods on Kaua‘i to an increase in tropical cyclones and more frequent coral blea...

He Lono Moku 2019 - 2020  

The challenge is here. From the unprecedented rainfall and floods on Kaua‘i to an increase in tropical cyclones and more frequent coral blea...

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