B.Y.O.B

Bring your own bag!

Today, Oʻahu will join the rest of the state in the plastic bag ban.  Retail stores will no longer provide plastic bags at the checkout, and some will offer paper or alternatives at a fee.

Plastics contribute to the majority of today’s trash floating in the ocean.  The average American throws away approximately 185 pounds of plastic a year.  500 billion plastic bags are used world wide, that is more than one million bags used every minute. [ecowatch.com]

Hawaiʻi is proud to be taking a step toward less plastic and less pollution, one step at a time.

enviro court

As of July 1, Hawaiʻi will become the second state to implement a court dedicated exclusively to environmental issues.  

Last week Friday, Kirsten and Brad attended a symposium at the UH Mānoa Richardson School of Law, where they learned about environmental court systems around the world, the history of Hawaiʻi’s environmental court, how the Hawaiʻi’s court will work.  The symposium was facilitated by Denise Antolini, associate law dean at UH Mānoa’s law school who previously served on the Commission of Water Resource Management.

India has the largest and most powerful environmental courts in the world, the National Green Tribunal of India (NGT). The chairperson of the NGT, Swatanter Kumar along with Dr. C. Raj Kumar, the Vice Chancellor of the O.P. Jindal Global University and Dean of the Jindal Global Law school and four of his students were in attendance at the symposium to share about their court and experiences in environmental law.

There is no better place for an environmental court; the State of Hawaiʻi is incredibly dependent on its beautiful natural environment not only to sustain its tourism-based economy but most importantly for resources to house and feed its residents.  Hawaiʻi has a strong constitutional foundation and environmental laws already in place, its just a matter of educating and enforcing the existing infrastructure.

The environmental court will be statewide, with district and circuit courts in each of Hawaiʻi’s counties.  22 judges familiar with and trained in environmental law have been appointed to serve in this court.  The court will cover cases dealing in environmental impact statements and assessments, Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR): Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation (DOBOR), Division of Aquatic Resources (DAR), water commission issues, and mostly Divison of Conservation and Resource Enforcement (DOCARE) violations.

Hawaiian rights will also be an important part of the environmental court.  “Even though it’s not explicit, it is interwoven in a lot of cases, sometimes criminal and sometimes civil”, says Denise Antolini.

Click here to read more.

citizen science

Today, after much preparation, the voyaging canoe Hikianalia, set sail for Papahānaumokuākea for a 2 week cruise.  Aboard the waʻa are four scientists from The Nature Conservancy and a couple of community members from Kaʻūpūlehu and Polanui, along side previous marine fellow, captain Kaleo Wong and some of the Hōkūleʻa crew.

Hikianalia is the sister vessel to Hōkūleʻa, both modeled after traditional voyaging canoes sailed by early Polynesians to Hawaiʻi.  Hikianalia holds modern equipment and technology, allowing the Polynesian Voyaging Society (PVS) to bring the classroom with them as they voyage around the world.

While at Nihoa, the community members will be conducting underwater biological surveys using the exact same protocol that they use at home, providing data that will be comparable and comprehensive.

Kalani is also headed up to Papahānaumokuākea on a research vessel to participate in archaeological surveys on Nihoa.

We look forward to sharing more about their experiences as we learn more.  Updates and more photos to come soon!

power for palmyra

TNC Hawai’i is so proud to announce that we have cut fossil fuel use on Palmyra Atoll by 95%.  After years of planning, a wind turbine, 385 solar panels and 216 batteries have been installed on the research station, replacing the annual 21,000 gallon shipment of diesel fuel previously used to run the atoll’s generators.

Palmyra, located 1,000 miles south of Hawai’i is a remote atoll co-owned and managed as a scientific research station and national wildlife refuge by The Nature Conservancy and The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  The remote atoll not accessible by commercial flight, is home to outstanding coral reef and tropical island ecosystems.

Click here to read more.

Palmyra prototype wind turbine. Photo: Cindy Coker

Palmyra solar panels. Photo: Jay Fries

divest it like its hot

Yesterday, the University of Hawaiʻi voted to divest its $66 million endowment from fossil fuel companies.

The UH system is now the largest university to join the divesting movement.  Cheeeee!

Here’s a great [music] video from the Santa Clara University encouraging others to divest:

To read more about UH’s decision click here.