Environment

News stories regarding Molokai’s outdoor environment

E-Bike Business Debuts

Wednesday, January 25th, 2023

E-Bike Business Debuts

By Jack Kiyonaga, Community Reporter 

Molokai has its first electric bike rental business, recently launched by Glenn Poller. 

Through Molokai E-Bike Rental, Poller is currently renting out five e-bikes. Electric bikes use a small battery-powered motor to assist when pedaling. Riders can choose between pedaling with engine assistance or just using the throttle, depending on how reliant they want to be on the bike’s 75-watt electric engine. 

Poller’s bikes are loaded up with puncture resistant tires, shock absorbers and lights, and come with a helmet, rear storage bags and lock. The e-bikes cover a range of 60-80 miles and top out at about 25 mph, he said. …

Data Science to Help Revitalize Fishponds

Wednesday, January 25th, 2023

Purple Mai’a News Release 

Three local organizations — Purple Maiʻa Foundation, Kuaʻaina Ulu ʻAuamo, and Hohonu, Inc. — are launching the Loko Iʻa and Coastal Monitoring Project that will kokua up to 30 Hawaiian Fishpond restoration groups across the state. The project engages local communities in the design process and will work with them to gather insights on the biggest barriers to fishpond restoration for food production.

Hawaii’s fishpond practitioners, coastal communities and local government will have access to real-time environmental data that will support biocultural restoration, climate change monitoring, resilience planning and mitigation. In addition to providing operational support, the sensor and data tools deployed can serve a broad audience for educational outreach and workforce development activities.…

Shared Solar Projects Moving Forward

Wednesday, January 18th, 2023

By Catherine Cluett Pactol | Editor

Two renewable energy projects on Molokai are set to move forward in what represents the state’s first community-owned and -designed solar plus battery projects. In a partnership between Ho’ahu Energy Cooperative Molokai and Hawaiian Electric, the projects are anticipated to meet more than 20 percent of the island’s energy usage and serve about 1500 Molokai households. Both are expected to be operational in mid-2025. 

Pala’au Solar and Kualapu’u Solar projects will be the first on the island in a shared renewable energy program under Hawaiian Electric known as community-based renewable energy (CBRE). Molokai subscribers to the program, particularly renters who cannot install their own rooftop solar panels, will benefit from lowered electric bills, according to Ho’ahu. …

Making a Difference with the Climate Crew

Wednesday, January 18th, 2023

By Sage Yamashita, Intern Reporter

From September to December 2022, three of Molokai’s young women strived to make an impact and create awareness for Hawaii’s climate policy and clean energy. Kirakai Yamazaki-Gray, Kayla Holm and myself, Sage Yamashita, were picked to join Blue Planet’s Cohort called Climate Crew with eight other Maui County high school students. Through the cohort, the students completed multiple climate actions, meetings, and workshops, helping the Climate Crew’s work to reach more than 1500 people. 

“I was really impressed with the Molokai girls that joined the Maui County Climate Crew,” said Griff Jurgens, Blue Planet’s education director.…

Molokai Group Awarded for Highway Cleanups

Wednesday, January 11th, 2023

Molokai Group Awarded for Highway Cleanups

By Catherine Cluett Pactol | Editor

A group of Molokai residents were honored for their exemplary public service in picking up debris from the highway. The Kawela Plantation Homeowners’ Association was recently named the recipient of the No Ka Oi Highway Hui Award, a program of the State of Hawaii, Department of Transportation Highways Division, Maui District. The award recognizes Adopt-A-Highway groups for their environmental volunteerism. 

The Homeowners’ Association is comprised of nearly 200 full- and part-time residents. They committed to cleaning a two-mile segment along Kamehameha V Highway and have organized a cleanup every few months. With an average 10 volunteers, they pick up about 20 bags of rubbish each time, according to a press release. …

$2.7M Awarded for Small-Scale Agriculture

Wednesday, January 11th, 2023

HDOA News Release 

The Hawaii Department of Agriculture (HDOA) has announced the award of 579 grants, totaling $2,684,350, for small-scale agriculture; including home gardening, herding and livestock operations in areas that are food insecure.

More than 7,400 applications were received this fall under the Micro-Grants for Food Security Program (MGFSP). The applications and project proposals were evaluated and ranked by HDOA’s Market Development Branch (MDB) and final approval was received last week from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Funding for this grant program is provided by the USDA under the 2018 Farm Bill. Grant amounts ranged from $750 to $5,000.…

Deer Meat Giveaway

Wednesday, December 21st, 2022

Deer Meat Giveaway

By Sage Yamashita, Intern Reporter

On Dec. 10, Molokai Hunting Club held a Holiday Deer Meat Drive to provide venison to the Molokai community and honor the fifth reigning monarch of the Kingdom of Hawaii, King Kamehameha V, who introduced axis deer to Molokai.  

More than 100 households were reached during the giveaway, held at Project Coordinator Troy Tancayo’s house. 

“The first hour was for kapuna. At La Pilina, many kupuna were saying how they grew up with deer meat, and now they don’t have that in their household anymore,” said Keo Hirata, interim PR at Molokai Hunting Club. “We had a lot of families come and about 20 Molokai Hunting Club members to help to distribute the meat that day.”…

It’s 2040, Do You Know Where Your Water Is?

Wednesday, December 14th, 2022

It’s 2040, Do You Know Where Your Water Is?

By Jack Kiyonaga, Community Reporter 

On an island, water is life. “Ola i ka wai.” So what does the future of this life look like?  

On Dec. 8, Maui County presented a preliminary draft for Molokai’s future water production goals and usage. The plan examined current water demand and production on Molokai and consequently how to meet future water needs. 

The “preliminary” aspect of the draft means that Molokai community members have a chance to comment on it before a “much more detailed” draft which takes into account these comments will be made available. 

The Molokai Water Plan, formally known as the Water Use and Development Plan, is part of a statewide requirement that each county adequately prepare for future water demands and production.…

Farmers Union United Molokai Chapter Grows

Wednesday, December 7th, 2022

HFUU Molokai News Release

Hawaii Farmers Union United (HFUU) is a statewide organization of farm owners, foodies, ranchers, gardeners, perma-culturalists, cultural practitioners, landscapers, suppliers, businesses, and policy advocates that are all part of the local food chain. HFUU is a partner of the National Farmers Union. HFUU asserts that a multitude of smallholder diversified family farms that implement regenerative ecological techniques in growing and raising our food will create a resilient, vital, and productive agricultural system to better feed the people of Hawaii. HFUU represents 15-regional chapters across six Hawaiian islands, including Molokai.

Our Molokai Chapter began on Dec. 17, 2021 initiated by a 10-person group of Hoʻolehua homesteaders after visiting Maui HFUU farms and members.…

The Garden of Easy

Wednesday, November 30th, 2022

The Garden of Easy

By Paul Hanley, Community Reporter

It’s been about 15 years since Nelson Puailihau—aka Easy, aka Honeyboy—gave up his rough and rowdy ways. Three years ago, he began to tend a parcel of land near Kilohana school. From the thicket of bananas, papayas, and taro to the expansive, impeccable lawn, the “Garden of Easy” is the expression of his deep desire to bring life and beauty to the ‘aina.

“Since I got clean and sober and turned my life around,” says Puailihau. “I’ve put my heart and soul into this land.”

Once overgrown with kiawe and other invasives, it is now meticulously tended.…