Hawaii’s Innovative Approach To Green Growth Takes International Stage In India

Department of Land and Natural Resources Chairman William J. Aila, Jr. highlighted Hawaii’s international leadership in green growth at the Island Summit held at the United Nations’ Convention on Biological Diversity, Conference of the Parties (CBD COP-11) on October 16. Aila led a Hawaii delegation to Hyderabad, India, where Hawaii was featured in yesterday’s event—Island Innovations: Celebrating Bright Spots, Leadership and Successes in Island Conservation and Sustainable Livelihoods. Aila took the international stage to address the high-level audience and shared Hawaii’s innovative approach and commitment to integrated green growth with the world.

Hawaii Delegation (from left to right): Hau`oli Wichman (National Tropical Botanical Garden), William Aila (DLNR), Chipper Wichman (National Tropical Botanical Garden), Minister Rolph Payet (Seychelles), Jacqueline Kozak Thiel (Hawaii Invasive Species Council), Didier Dogley (Seychelles). Photo courtesy J. Thiel

“Hawaii is the most isolated population on the planet, and we depend on imports for 80 to 90 percent of our energy and food. We must take action to build a more sustainable and self-sufficient economy for our people,” Aila stated.

The Hawaii delegation highlighted the state’s commitments to renewable energy and a sustainable economy as outlined in Governor Neil Abercrombie’s New Day Plan, DLNR’s “Rain Follows the Forest” watershed initiative, Hawaii’s Clean Energy Initiative, Hawaii 2050 Sustainability Plan, county sustainability initiatives and local grassroots community efforts.

William Aila addresses international, high-level audience at Island Innovations event at Convention on Biological Diversity, Conference of the Parties, Oct. 16, 2012 in Hyderabad, India. Photo by J. Thiel.

The Island Innovations event was organized by the Global Island Partnership (GLISPA) and co-hosted by the governments of Seychelles and India. GLISPA promotes actions for island conservation and sustainable livelihoods by inspiring leadership, catalyzing commitments and facilitating collaboration. The United States helped found GLISPA in 2006, and the state of Hawaii is now engaging in this international network of island leaders. GLISPA is co-chaired by the Presidents of Seychelles and Palau and the Prime Minister of Grenada.

Working with Hawaii leaders, GLISPA helped form the Hawaii Green Growth Initiative (HGG) in 2011.  “HGG’s mission is to bring Hawai`i leaders from energy, food and the environment together to achieve sustainability in Hawaii and serve as a model for integrated green growth,” explained Chipper Wichman, CEO of the National Tropical Botanical Gardens (NTBG) on Kauai and member of the Hawaii delegation. “Hawaii’s participation in the Island Summit is an unprecedented opportunity to represent our country’s commitment to island conservation and sustainability.”

Hawaii DLNR Chairman William Aila Jr. greets Seychelles Minister of Environment and Energy Rolph Payet. Photo courtesy J. Thiel

Hawaii was also featured at the Island Bright Spots discussions on building a green-blue economy. The Hawaii delegation spoke with representatives from all over the world about Hawaii’s collaborative and cultural-based efforts to build a green-blue economy with ambitious targets to increase renewable energy, local food production, and protection of natural resources from mountaintop to sea while creating a more diverse economy with green jobs. Aila and Wichman were joined on the delegation by Jacqueline Kozak Thiel of the Hawaii Invasive Species Council and Hauoli Wichman from NTBG.

While in Hyderabad, the Hawaii delegation met with members of the U.S. State Department, as well as delegates from the Pacific, Caribbean, and Indian Oceans, as well as nations with islands to share with and learn from other islands.

“The Hawaii Green Growth Initiative is important to all islands because we need to build sustainable economies for our environment and our communities” said Rolph Payet, Minister for Environment and Energy for the Seychelles Islands in the Indian Ocean. We welcome Hawaii to the global island family and look forward to learning from one another.”

“As islands, we understand that the challenges facing islands and our planet are linked, and we must solve them together. Our economic future depends on caring for our wnvironment mauka to makai,” Aila explained.

Maku’u Park & Ride to Alleviate Traffic Congestion

The Mass Transit Agency, along with Councilmember Fred Blas and Mayor Kenoi will be promoting the Maku’u Park & Ride lot on Friday, October 19, 2012, at 10:00 a.m. next to the Maku’u Farmer’s Market.

The idea behind the event is to encourage Puna residents to park their vehicles at the park & ride lot and carpool with other residents or ride the Hele-On bus.  This will alleviate traffic congestion and riders will be able to put a few extra dollars in their pocket by saving on gas.  The park & ride lot is open Monday – Friday, from 6:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.  Security is available.


Construction on Waiakea Recreation Center Starts Monday

The Department of Parks and Recreation is pleased to announce its upcoming renovation of Hilo’s Waiākea Recreation Center. Work will include replacing the lower roof and structure, removing any hazardous building materials and modifying the facility so it meets federal Americans with Disabilities Act requirements.

Construction will start Monday, October 22, and is scheduled to be completed March 11, 2013. The center’s main building and parking area will be closed during this period.

Stan’s Contracting Inc. submitted the winning bid of $1,073,300 to complete those and other related renovations at the facility.

Waiākea Recreation Center’s Quonset hut and boxing-training room will remain open through much of the construction phase, with only brief closures when necessary to ensure the public’s safety. Since onsite parking will be severely limited, people utilizing those buildings should use on-street parking and other appropriately designated parking areas. Only the Kuawa Street driveway access will be kept open.

The department will move the Waiākea Recreation Center’s tatami mats to Pi‘ihonua Gymnasium at Gilbert Carvalho Park so martial arts practices, fitness programs and other functions may continue.

The department will move the Waiākea Recreation Center’s tatami mats to Pi‘ihonua Gymnasium at Gilbert Carvalho Park so martial arts practices, fitness programs and other functions may continue. To accommodate that move, Pi‘ihonua Gymnasium will be closed Monday, October 22, and be reopened for public use on Monday, November 5.

Questions about Waiākea Recreation Center programs should be directed to John Kushi, the department’s recreation director in charge of the center, who can be reached at 936-4721.

The Department of Parks and Recreation thanks users of the Waiākea Recreation Center and the general public for their patience while the facility is being repaired, enhanced and made more accessible.

For more information, please contact Jason Armstrong, Public Information Officer, at 345-9105, or jarmstrong@co.hawaii.hi.us.


Hawaii County Food Self-Sufficiency Baseline Study Receives Award

The Hawai’i County Food Self-Sufficiency Baseline study received a 2012 Planning Award from the American Planning Association, Hawai’i Chapter at the recent Hawai’i Congress of Planning Officials annual conference in Honolulu.

The Hawai‘i Island Food Self-Sufficiency Scorecard shows the percentages of locally produced food consumed in 2012, part of the award-winning Food Self-Sufficiency Baseline Study.

The report was produced for the Department of Research and Development by the University of Hawai’i Geography Department and Jeffrey Melrose of Island Planning.  The award was given in the category of Innovations for Sustaining Places.

The Baseline study was a recommendation of the Hawai’i County Agricultural Development Plan that was adopted in 2010.  It provided a summary of the current state of local food production and import data for Hawai’i County. The baseline study also produced detailed maps of existing agricultural activity on the island as a way to measure current farm activity, and to distinguish the unique circumstances that drive farming in each region around the island.  The report also provided a list of 100 Things to Do to Increase Food Self-Sufficiency on the island.  This list emphasizes the need for everyone, from consumers and government to farmers and retailers to be involved in the process for increasing food self reliance.

The APA Awards Jury selected this study for recognition because “… it provides important baseline data for measuring food production and consumption and agricultural activity as a basis for monitoring food self-sufficiency in Hawai’i County”. The Award Committee found the work innovative, including “the creation of a self-sufficiency scorecard and maps depicting agricultural activity throughout the County.  Information on area specific food production is particularly useful. The development of key metrics related to production and consumption is particularly useful and many of the concepts, tools, and findings are transferable to other communities.  The study provides a good foundation for future action affecting agriculture in Hawai’i.”

Department of Research and Development Director Randy Kurohara said that “the baseline study is an important tool for improving the quality of conversation we have about the future of Hawaii Island’s food self-reliance, and it makes some very useful suggestions about the role that everyone has to play in this process.  Dr. Tim Richards of Kahua Ranch and the Hawai’i Cattlemen’s Association said that the “Baseline Study is a defining piece on agriculture on Hawai’i Island and is the envy of others around the state.”

A link to the Study and many of its maps and graphics is available on the web at HawaiiCounty.gov under the Announcement section.