Working with Nature, Community, & Business
Image: “The tools that man has invented have allowed us to increase our population over time. So did the agricultural revolution: highly organized planting techniques allowed our population to increase. The industrial revolution permitted our planet’s population to grow to its current 6.5 billion people. The question now is, ‘Are we going to proceed with our current unsustainable systems and crash—or will we move toward more sustainable systems?’” Image and caption courtesy of Professor Marian Chertow, Industrial Environmental Management Program, Yale University
A simple calculation highlights the problems that a global industrialization based on our current pattern would entail. If we assume the world population growth rate that seems most likely (based on current trends), then roughly 8.5 billion people would be inhabiting the Earth by 2050….The energy consumption of humankind would then be roughly equal to the entire terrestrial net primary production, that is, the entire quantity of biomass that green plants produce each year on the earth’s surface through photosynthesis. At present it is hard to imagine which technologies could be capable of satisfying such global energy requirements…—Helmut Haberl, Institute of Social Ecology, Alps Adria University, Vienna, Austria
Professor Haberl from the Institute for Social Ecology in Vienna made his first journey to Hawai‘i Island this May to attend a Hawai‘i Island Summit co-hosted by the Hawai‘i County Department of Research and Development, The Kohala Center (TKC), and the School of Forestry and Environmental Studies at Yale University. The Institute for Social Ecology has been collaborating with colleagues at Yale for many years on groundbreaking research in the field of industrial ecology, which studies the linkages between human societies and the ecological systems they inhabit. The Summit introduced Hawai‘i Island leaders and policy makers to the concepts of industrial ecology and to the idea that Hawai‘i Island can serve as a model site for long-term research into the ways that human and natural systems interact.
TKC, Yale, and their academic partners are now in the development process for a long-term research project on Hawai‘i Island, based on earlier work together since 2006. The Long-Term Industrial Ecosystem Model of Hawai‘i Island (LIEM-Hawai‘i) project will generate a wealth of data about existing systems on the island, including material and energy flows and land-use patterns. Additionally, this project will provide us with models that will illuminate opportunities and options for change, as we seek to reorient our society and our economy for the future.
Visit the Hawai‘i Island Summit Web site, where you can learn more about the speakers, read summaries of their talks, and view their slide presentations.
Stimulus Funds to Restore Pelekane Bay Watershed
Photo: Tons of sediment are carried into Pelekane Bay with storm flows like this one in 2003. Photo by Carolyn Stewart.
The Kohala Watershed Partnership was recently awarded $2.69 million in federal funds to improve the condition of the Pelekane Bay watershed on the leeward coast of Kohala Mountain. The Pelekane Bay Watershed Restoration Project is one of two Hawai‘i habitat restoration projects selected for funding through a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) coastal restoration grant. NOAA received a total of $167 million in federal stimulus funds, which it divvied up amongst 50 high priority projects designed to restore coastal areas around the country. The Nature Conservancy also received funding for its Maunalua Bay Reef Restoration Project on O‘ahu. The two Hawai‘i projects were chosen from a pool of 814 proposals.
This project is an incredible opportunity to rehabilitate a damaged landscape. When I heard that NOAA was looking for a ‘shovel-ready’ project, it was clear to me that I should push forward the Pelekane Bay watershed restoration. Many people have worked to collect data over the past ten years and to create a viable watershed management plan—this federal stimulus grant is an opportunity to fulfill their vision. We know what needs to be done, and this funding is making it possible for us to accomplish our goal of restoring the watershed and the bay—all within a relatively short amount of time! —Melora Purell, Coordinator, Kohala Watershed Partnership
More than a dozen jobs will be created to implement the Pelekane Bay Watershed Restoration Project, which aims to restore the coral reef habitat of Pelekane Bay by reducing land-based sediment inputs into the nearshore environment.
The Bay Concert: A Celebration of Life at Kahalu‘u Bay
Photo: This year’s Bay Concert will honor Herbert Kawainui Kane, a world renowned artist, inspired community leader, and someone who has been at the very heart of the Hawaiian Renaissance.
In the last three years we have trained over 300 volunteer ReefTeachers to educate our visitors on proper reef etiquette. Because of their dedication to our bay, baby coral polyps are beginning to grow. Thus, our bay concert is to celebrate that new life.
—Cindi Punihaole, Kohala Center Outreach and Volunteer Coordinator
Last year, 1.3 million people visited the Island of Hawai‘i, and over 348,000 of these visitors stopped at Kahalu‘u Bay. If we do not carefully manage this area, there is a very real danger that we will “love our bay to death.” In 2008, a conceptual Master Plan for Kahalu‘u Beach Park was created, inspired by the vision of local kūpuna (Hawaiian elders) and embracing the wishes of park users and the community. “Though we have accomplished a lot at the bay, we still have a long way to go and we need your help and support to implement this plan,” explains Punihaole. “Together we can move the plan forward to benefit all of us—economically, socially, culturally. ‘A‘ohe hana nui ke alu ‘ia.’ No task is too big when done together by all.”
The third annual Bay Concert will be held on Saturday, November 21, 2009. Come enjoy the beautiful music of Ho‘okena and Na Leo Pilimehana, and celebrate life at Kahalu‘u Bay!
Members of The Kohala Center’s Circle of Friends and Volunteers are invited to take advantage of a special ticket presale. The presale ticket price for general admission is $20 (the price will be $30 at the door). Presale tickets may only be purchased by sending an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org, or by calling 808-887-6411. Presale tickets are limited to two tickets per person, and the presale ends at 5 p.m. on Friday, September 26.
The Sheraton Keauhou Bay Resort and Spa is offering a special concert room package, which includes two tickets to the concert. Also new this year is the opportunity for individuals, as well as businesses, to sponsor a VIP table for ten at the concert. Don’t miss this opportunity to enjoy an evening of food, wine, and fun with your friends—in support of the restoration of life at Kahalu‘u Bay. To learn more about sponsoring this special event, or to buy a table for you and your special friends, contact Cindi Punihaole at email@example.com. For more information on the Bay Concert, visit http://www.kohalacenter.org/bayconcert09/.
The Natural Step
Photo: TNS workshop participants on the front steps of the main house of Pahala Plantation Cottages.
The Natural Step workshop provided a clear and robust framework for participants from Mayor William Kenoi’s Green Team. We are applying the TNS framework to create a process of informed dialogue and intelligent decision-making, so we can make our County of Hawai‘i government operations more transparent, efficient, effective, and sustainable.
—Alex Frost, County of Hawai‘i Department of Research and Development
Thirty people gathered at Pahala Plantation for The Natural Step (TNS) workshop on June 6–7. Participants represented a broad range of island organizations, including the County of Hawai‘i, the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo, N-PAC (Nutrition & Physical Activity Coalition of Hawai‘i County), Kanu o ka ‘Āina Learning Ohana, The Nature Conservancy, green business consultants, and others wishing to learn about The Natural Step framework.
Scientists agree that human society is capable of damaging nature and altering life-supporting ecological structures and functions in three major ways. Based on this scientific understanding, The Natural Step has defined three basic system conditions for maintaining essential ecological processes. In addition, The Natural Step recognizes that social and economic dynamics fundamentally drive the actions that lead to ecosystem changes. Therefore, the fourth system condition focuses on socio-economic dynamics and affirms that meeting human needs worldwide is an integral and essential part of sustainability.
Four principles of sustainability form the basis of The Natural Step framework and are used to analyze actions or initiatives (see image on right, courtesy of TNS). These sustainability principles are scientifically rigorous, internationally recognized, and have been accepted around the world. Workshop participants applied these four principles to various sectors of island life, including food production, education, energy, and the economy.
Read Creating a Framework for Sustainability on the back page.
A Garden Revolution
Photo: Garden teachers gather on the steps at Nancy Redfeather’s Kawanui Farm.
“It takes a village to raise a garden program,” claims Nancy Redfeather, Hawai‘i Island School Garden Network (HISGN) Program Director. On June 26–28, fourty-five garden teachers and supporters from four islands converged at Kawanui Farm in Honalo for the second annual HISGN Summer Garden Teacher Conference. For three days, thirty of the participants camped on the grounds of the farm, their tents spread through the orchards and gardens like a lei. “We ate, studied, conversed, worked, played, and networked together to build and enliven a new curriculum for our keiki (children) and youth in public, private, and charter schools across the state,” says Nancy.
I came away from the days at Kawanui Farm inspired and empowered. Science-based discussion about the perfection of worms and the wonders of weeds opened my eyes to new, yet ancient, sustainable gardening possibilities. Gathering and exchanging with other garden teachers reinforced the awesome potential of the revolutionary work taking place in school gardens across our state. Thank you, Kohala Center, for fostering unity and progressive movement among Hawai‘i's garden teachers. —Krista Donaldson, Innovations Public Charter School Garden Teacher
The Kohala Center extends a warm mahalo (thank you) to the participants who came from far and near. The successful grassroots collaboration amongst these dedicated garden teachers has inspired a “garden revolution” which is helping to revitalize the practice of agriculture in communities across the state. Read Building Skills, Extending Knowledge, Sharing Successes on the back page.
More Cool Farms
"Cool Farms, Hot Lunches" learning events continue with a visit to “Honopua Farm with Ken and Roen Hufford: A Waimea Family Farm" from 12:30 to 4:30 p.m. on Saturday, July 25, followed by “Agricultural Sustainability in Puanui Ahupua‘a: Past, Present, and Future” from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, August 22. The cost for each event is $25 for The Kohala Center's members, or $75 for nonmembers, which includes the event, lunch, and membership in TKC’s Circle of Friends. To register, call 808-887-6411 or download the registration forms at http://www.kohalacenter.org/, then mail or fax completed forms to: The Kohala Center, P.O. Box 437462, Kamuela, Hawai‘i 96743; fax 808-885-6707.
Photo: Ken and Roen Hufford pose with the wauke (paper mulberry) tree, from which traditional kapa (Hawaiian barkcloth) is made.
TKC members will tour Ken and Roen Hufford’s organic vegetable garden where they raise lettuce, kale, rhubarb, beets, and other produce. The Hufford’s will share information about organic farming, their business, and the history of Honopua Farm. Participants will learn about lei making using the palapalai fern, tour the Hufford’s extensive horticultural collection of native and introduced plants, and enjoy lunch made with produce from the farm. Roen also has something special planned for the TKC group:
I will give visitors an overview of how Hawaiian barkcloth, kapa, is made. The barkcloth is beaten from the inner bark of the wauke, or paper mulberry tree. We will view a large stand of paper mulberry, and I will also point out some of the dye plants which we grow on the farm. My mother, Marie McDonald, and I beat wauke to make kapa, not only as a cultural practice, but also as a means of artistic expression. Last November through January my mother had a solo show of her kapa at the Honolulu Academy of Arts—a first for that art form. Recently we were instructors in kapa making at a new adult art school, HOEA, which just completed its first session a couple of weeks ago. The main thrust of my talking about the wauke and kapa making will be to explain how our farm provides us with food, flowers, and the materials for artistic expression. I will show how the wauke plant material is harvested, processed, beaten, and then decorated. —Roen Hufford
Photo: ‘Uala, or sweet potato, was a major staple in the dryland agricultural field systems. Protected from cattle and pigs, it is growing once again in Puanui in North Kohala. Photo by Aurora Kagawa.
The Agricultural Sustainability in Puanui Project focuses on understanding the great dryland Kohala agricultural field system which was cultivated by Hawaiians for centuries prior to European contact. Within the ahupua‘a (traditional Hawaiian land division) of Puanui in North Kohala, Hawaiian food crops like ‘uala (sweet potato), kalo (taro), and ko (sugarcane) are again being grown in a few protected acres within 15,000 acres of old field walls, now in pasture. Researchers at Puanui are learning the cultivation methods required to maintain this dry system—valuable knowledge which can inform current food sustainability efforts on Hawai‘i Island. The TKC group will be ascending Pu‘u Kehena to view the Kohala field system. They will then visit several of the experimental gardens in the field system to learn about Hawaiian food plants and how the Puanui ahupua‘a functioned as an integrated system of farming, fishing, and trade. Leading this event is Aurora Kagawa, research assistant for the field system project. A graduate of Kamehameha Schools, MIT, and UH-Mānoa, she has found her dream job at Puanui, where she works under the direction of Stanford University ecologist and project leader Peter Vitousek. Participants must be in good health, able to walk uphill (the hike is less than one mile but it is a steep ascent), ride in a 4WD van, and be prepared for sunny, windy, and dusty conditions.
Primed for Change
Photo: A group picture of all participants outside the HPA Energy Lab, which is under construction and scheduled to be completed in January 2010. Students toured this state-of-the-art facility and learned how it has been designed to exceed the criteria for LEED Platinum certification. Learn more about the HPA Energy Lab at http://www.hpa.edu/energylab.
From June 11–14, seventy-five high school students from Hawai‘i Island, Maui, and O‘ahu congregated at Hawai‘i Preparatory Academy (HPA) for the second annual Student Congress on Sustainability. This event, co-hosted by The Kohala Center, introduced students to a range of initiatives to help green the planet, their communities, and their lifestyles. Students lived on the HPA campus and attended workshops focusing on sustainable agriculture, electric cars, bio-fuels, home energy audits, protecting coral reefs, and hydrogen fuel cells, among other topics. Students also had the opportunity to visit sites around the island to learn about local food production and hydroponics, vanilla and chocolate production, and goat cheese operations. Student feedback was overwhelmingly positive: “Tons of fun!” “I learned a lot and am inspired.” “This was a once in a lifetime experience.” “Awesome, it was really enjoyable, wish it was longer.”
Read more about this event in “Ideas to Take Home” on the back page.
Young People Contribute to the Health of the Bay
Photo: Thayer Academy students pose in front of the ReefTeach banner at Kahalu‘u Beach Park.
ReefTeach has been a blast! People love learning about all the fish and they really seem to be aware of respecting the marine environment. Glad we could help! —Molly, Thayer Academy student
During their summer vacation most students wind down and enjoy a long awaited break from school. This, however, is not the case for many of our recent ReefTeach participants. This summer students from all over the country have traded in their beach towels for ReefTeach shirts and kicked their learning into high gear as volunteers at Kahalu‘u Bay.
Learn more about these hard working students from Thayer Academy in Massachusetts, from Cornell University, and from the Wilderness Ventures adventure travel program.
Kanu Hawai‘i Island Meet Ups
Photo: Hawai‘i Island Kanu members helped fix up vacant public housing units with residents in June, so that new families can move in. This event was one of several across the islands held as part of Kanu’s Live Aloha Day.
Kanu Hawaii is planning two meet ups for Hawai‘i Island members in August. Organizers are tentatively looking at an August 20th gathering in Kona and an August 21st gathering in Hilo. Both events are still in the planning stages, so if you would like to help organize either gathering, contact James Koshiba at firstname.lastname@example.org or Kamaile Kekahuna at email@example.com.
From August 8–15, Kanu Hawaii will host the “Eat Local Challenge.” Join the challenge by committing to eat only locally grown food for the week, or for the day of August 15. Sign up now.
Members of Kanu Hawaii are building a grassroots movement for a more compassionate, sustainable, self-reliant Hawai‘i and world. Members start with personal commitments to changes in their own lives, then band together for demonstrations of kuleana (responsibility) aimed at changing the world around them. Visit www.kanuhawaii.org for more information.
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