Environment & Ecology

Mobilizing to Cleanup the Beach

Wednesday, August 27th, 2014

Mobilizing to Cleanup the Beach

Photos by Bianca Moragne.

About one hundred volunteers walked along Mo`omomi’s coastline with large black and tan canvas bags, sifting through the sand and picking up marine debris that washed up on shore. Fast-food takeout containers and cups, tires and even a propane tank littered the area. Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii’s (SCH) beach cleanup brought volunteers together to do something about the trash last Saturday.

About 7,000 pounds of plastic shards, rope, nets, bottles, wrappers and other trash was removed from Mo`omomi Beach thanks to hard work from the Molokai community, said SCH Executive Director, Kahi Pacarro.

“We’re here because we love the beaches and want to keep them clean,” Pacarro said.…

Beautiful and Dangerous

Wednesday, August 20th, 2014

Beautiful and Dangerous

Some plants growing in your garden may be beautiful, but as invasive species, threaten native vegetation and could potentially lead to damage of native forests. Such is the case for Kahili Ginger, a species of decorative plant that local experts say is coveted for its large flowers but in fact is highly invasive.

“If it gets out of control [in a garden] and into the natives forests, we can lose thousands of acres of forests [as seen on other islands],” said Lance De Silva, forest management supervisor for the Division of Forestry and Wildlife on Maui, who regularly comes to Molokai to assist with invasive species control.…

A Slice of Sweet Harvest

Wednesday, July 30th, 2014

A Slice of Sweet Harvest

The Davis family enjoys watermelon at their roadside stand near Rawlins’ Chevron. Photo by Jared Davis.

The summer sun beats down on the Davis family watermelon stand on Kamehameha Highway by Rawlins’ Chevron gas station every Saturday. With a pickup truck pilled sky-high with about 500 fresh, colossal, 20-pound watermelons ripened to perfection in Ho`olehua’s heat, Jared Davis sells his all-natural watermelons at his roadside stand in the summertime on Molokai.

For Davis, a third generation farmer who is keeping farming alive in his family and on Molokai, watermelons are a vital crop and livelihood for his ohana, he said.

“When I was younger there were a lot of farmers around here that planted watermelon,” Davis said.…

New Ti Leaf Virus

Wednesday, July 23rd, 2014

New Ti Leaf Virus

Community Contributed

By Glenn I. Teves, County Extension Agent, UH CTAHR

 Ti leaf is an important subsistence and commercial crop in Hawaii with diverse uses. An ornamental crop used for hula skirts, leis, and puolo, a bundle or container, Ti plants are also a central part of the tropical landscape with many new leaf sizes and colors. Leaves are used in the preparation of Hawaiian foods, such as laulau with pork and taro leaf, and lawalu, to wrap fish and other seafood and local starches for baking, and also as greens in floral arrangements. It also has ceremonial and medicinal uses, and Ti roots are also used in the production of liquor, okolehao.…

Hikiola Goes Solar

Wednesday, July 23rd, 2014

Hikiola Goes Solar

ProVision Solar News Release

The Hikiola Cooperative in Ho`olehua has installed a 12-kilowatt grid-connected solar array that will provide almost all of the power needed to run the coop.  First organized in 1976 as a farm supply and marketing cooperative, Hikiola shifted to making supplies available to both farmer-members and the greater community.  Paying one of the highest rates for electricity in the nation (52 cents/kilowatt-hour this month), small businesses on Molokai have more than ample incentive to go solar electric.

“We are thrilled with the installation of the PV system,” said the Coop’s long-time manager Tina Tamanaha. “The use of alternative energy is a positive step in our mission to lower the cost of supplies for our agri-business patrons.”

Marco Mangelsdorf, President of ProVision Solar, and the installer of the Net Energy Metered photovoltaic system, noted that “with the abundant sunshine on this part of the island, the system should really crank out the solar kWhs. …

Kalaupapa Combats Climate Change

Wednesday, July 23rd, 2014

Kalaupapa Combats Climate Change

Only one small population of ‘ihi (Portulaca villosa) exists along the crater rim – more plants are currently being introduced to the area in the hopes of increasing the number of populations and individuals to make the plant more resilient to climate change. Photo by Paul Hosten.

Although scientists cannot predict with absolute certainty the universal severity of climate change nor its impacts, the effects are threatening the country’s National Parks with significant risks and challenges. A recent study by the National Park Service (NPS) shows that any of the 289 National Parks, including Kalaupapa National Historic Park (KNHP) show that temperatures over the last 30 years are warmer now than they were in 1901..…

Wetland Classroom Goes High-Tech

Thursday, July 17th, 2014

Wetland Classroom Goes High-Tech

Nene O Molokai News Release

Endangered Ae`o, the Hawaiian Stilt, hatched at the Koheo wetland.

The Monsanto Fund has awarded $8,000 to Nene O Molokai for its Wildlife Without Walls environmental educational program at the Koheo wetland. The funding will be used to purchase a laptop computer for field work at the wetland, enabling students to conduct onsite GIS (geographic information system) mapping of the on-going wetland restoration, and download water quality data collected with Pasco Probeware donated by the Center for Advanced Communications and Engineering at the University of Hawaii, Manoa. Also included in the award is funding for the site’s operation and propagation supplies for the out-planting of native vegetation utilized culturally and agriculturally, and for endangered waterbird habitat enhancement.…

New Way to Look at Compost

Thursday, July 3rd, 2014

Community Contributed

By Joe Kennedy

There are a few ways of looking at making compost that some of my gardening friends have passed on to me over the years. Here’s just one. When you make compost with kitchen fruit and veggie scraps, you don’t have to do it the usual way the book talk about. There’s another very easy, very plant-enriching way to do it.

Just empty the scraps on the ground next to the fruit tree on any of the large veggie plants like collards, pumpkin or eggplant that you are growing. Then level the pile a little and make it an even thickness.…

Molokai Energy Assessment  

Thursday, June 19th, 2014

Sust`aina ble Molokai News Release

Sust` aina ble Molokai has published the second piece in our Molokai-pedia project the Molokai Energy assessment. This assessment follows Agricultural Needs Assessment that helped to inform the needs in the community for food security and farmer economic security.

Due to  the information gathered, we are able  to pursue the development  of a Molokai Food hub  that will be able to help local farmers gain access to  local markets on island,  help our students  by gaining access  to local food through the cafeteria and eventually establishing off island markets for our farmers  long term economic security.…

Facing Climate Change, Part II

Thursday, June 5th, 2014

Community Contributed

By Emillia Noordhoek

Editor’s Note: Emillia Noordhoek, executive director of Sust`ainable Molokai, traveled to Europe to attend the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change last year. This is the second in a three-part series about the Panel’s conclusions and how global climate change will affect Molokai and the world.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) met at the end of last year as a collaborative effort between countries, scientists and policy makers to address growing evidence of real and serious global climate change and discuss a report on the latest findings. The day after the IPCC was released, activists from Swedish environmental group, PUSH Sweden, organized a demonstration to bring attention to the report and the lack of action they felt was being presented by the Swedish government.…