Environment & Ecology

Backyard Gardens, New Thinking

Sunday, September 1st, 2013

Community Contributed

By Joe Kennedy

We have so many problems. Write down a list of the world’s most pressing problems and it will become clear that things are dangerously close to more widespread pain and suffering. Global warming, drought, flooding, starvation and warfare are increasing. Agriculture is the world’s biggest polluter in the form of soil erosion and pesticide and herbicide use.  But on the other hand, there’s a new kind of thinking out there that latches on to a certain kind of change and it’s called quantum physics. This new way of thinking is even favorably affecting farming methods and what to do with profits. …

Dream Green Team

Thursday, August 29th, 2013

Talking trash isn’t usually a good thing, but a small team in Kalaupapa is changing the way people think about rubbish with their award winning solid waste management program. The Kalaupapa National Historical Park (KNHP) Green Team, comprised of five local Molokai employees, has received national recognition for the work they’re doing to make the peninsula a statewide model of waste management.

The team — Arthur Ainoa, Joseph Kahee, Brennan Lee-Namakaeha, Pa`oneakai Lee-Namakaeha, and Ryan Mahiai — has recently been named one of seven recipients of the National Park Service’s 2013 Environmental Achievement awards. The award recognizes their accomplishment of drastically reducing the peninsula’s solid waste through recycling, composting, conserving and reusing.…

A Decade of Environmental Leadership

Thursday, August 22nd, 2013

A Decade of Environmental Leadership

As a child, Uncle Mac Poepoe fondly remembers fishing down at Mo`omomi Beach with family and friends, but as time passed, he began seeing the area increasingly populated with unfamiliar boats and people, over-fishing in its waters.

“I said, ‘Hey we’ve got to do something about this because if this continues, we’re not going to have many fish left for ourselves,’” said Poepoe.

He came together with a group of Molokai fishermen and community members who decided they needed more public input as to how environmental resources are managed.

Nearly 20 years later, his efforts have spread statewide. With the help of Kua`aina Ulu `Auamo (KUA)—formerly known as the Hawaiian Community Stewardship Network—a community-based management network formed incorporating more than 25 communities statewide dedicated to restore and sustain their environmental heritage.…

Partnering for Preservation

Wednesday, August 14th, 2013

Partnering for Preservation

Protecting Molokai’s Watersheds

An understanding of the connections between mountains and ocean — mauka and makai — is rooted in ancient Hawaiian culture. Today, invasive species and human impacts are threatening to clog Molokai’s reef — the most extensive coral reef in the Main Hawaiian Islands — with sediment washed down from the mountain slopes. Today, scientists are doing studies to provide proof of this evidence and offer their data to help find solutions. And today, Molokai residents are meeting together to discuss those solutions and taking action to protect the island’s most valuable resources — both the mountains and the ocean.…

Soon to be Cinder

Thursday, August 1st, 2013

Soon to be Cinder

Cinder — a porous, low-density rock material — is used commonly on track and road surfaces and for landscaping. In high demand on Molokai, there’s currently no cinder harvesting operation on the island. That could change soon, however. Last week, Tri-L Construction was granted a permit that will allow them to operate the Waieli cinder pit in West Molokai.

The pit is located on 1.3 acres of state agricultural district land at Pu`u O Waieli, off the road to Hale O Lono in Maunaloa. After lengthy discussions over responsibility for maintenance of the access road, the Molokai Planning Commission approved Tri-L’s request for an extension of their special use permit to operate the pit.…

Aka`ula Sings for Grad’s Future

Monday, June 3rd, 2013

Aka`ula Sings for Grad’s Future

Aka`ula School’s first high school graduate claimed her diploma May 30, marking an important milestone for both the young scholar and for the school.

It was an afternoon of joy and tears for Aaliya Chyna Ku`uipo Ka`ai, who as Aka`ula’s lone upperclassman served as a mentor for younger students and a helper for the teachers. She took deep breaths on stage before addressing the crowd and reflecting on her years at the school.

“While the diploma I receive today will be an important thing I carry with me wherever I go,” said Ka`ai in her graduation speech, “I want you to know that the diploma is just one piece of the puzzle.”

Teachers spoke of their confidence that Ka`ai will be very successful.…

Leading the Charge Off Grid: Organization runs on solar and wind

Wednesday, May 29th, 2013

Leading the Charge Off Grid: Organization runs on solar and wind

Molokai’s first smart-grid electric system is now powering nonprofit Ka Honua Momona (KHM). The Ali`i fishpond’s new office is a milestone for the organization and the island, demonstrating how rural development can utilize wind and solar energy to create electricity.

The system is off-grid, meaning KHM provides all of their own power. With the help of eight large batteries, the nonprofit organization can remain completely independent from Maui Electric even during extended windless and overcast periods. It is also a smart system, prioritizing essential appliances and automatically switching to a backup generator when all else fails.

Molokai engineer Bruce Yamashita oversaw design of the project.…

Hale Connects People to Land and Sea

Monday, May 27th, 2013

Hale Connects People to Land and Sea

At Ka Honua Momona (KHM) Ali`i fishpond, workers take breaks in the shade of a large traditional thatched hale, where it is cool even on the hottest days. Office workers can look out at the hale and 30-acre pond from the windows of the sustainable office building where administrative work supports KHM’s mission of sustainability.

KHM hasn’t always had these amenities. The office and hale are the newest addition to the Ali`i fishpond, which nine years ago was overgrown with mangrove and knee-deep in mud. Today, because of the efforts of staff and volunteers eager to preserve the site’s ancient heritage, the Ali`i and Kalakoeli fishponds serve as a place for learning, sharing and restoring.…

Whale Tales

Wednesday, May 22nd, 2013

Whale Tales

A new, life-sized replica of a humpback whale tail at Molokai Fish and Dive is making a splash with local elementary school students. Last Tuesday, the ocean tour and gas business hosted a much younger crowd than usual at their shop. Preschoolers from Kaunakakai Elementary School stopped by to admire the work of art and learn more about the majestic creatures that live just off shore.

Making its appearance about a month ago, the tail has quickly become a landmark — and with good reason. A whale’s tail is composed of two lobes, each of which is called a fluke. Constructed by a local artist to accurately represent the size, texture and color of the real thing, the tail in front of Fish and Dive measures 14 feet across its flukes, with whale tails in the wild spanning up to 16 feet.…

New Pavilion for Coconut Grove

Friday, May 17th, 2013

New Pavilion for Coconut Grove

Each weekend, community members and organizations host gatherings at the pavilion of Kiowea Park, causing a strain on the building built half a century ago. Kalama`ula homesteaders are trying to ease that strain by building a second, larger pavilion with updated facilities in the park, which is located in the Kapuaiwa Coconut Grove area.

County councilmember Stacy Crivello presented the plan for the new pavilion to the Molokai Planning Commission for comments May 8. As a Kalama`ula homesteader, she is acting as a project coordinator for the new facility.

“It’s been well used, and it’s continually overused at this state,” she said about the existing pavilion, which was built in the 1960s and renovated in the 1990s.…