Strange Science in Our Island Farmlands

by Michele McKay

Corn modified with genes from jellyfish or hepatitis virus? Rice, corn, and sugarcane made with human genes? Does this sound like science fiction? Guess again! The State of Hawaii has actually granted permits for field trials of these genetically altered crops, according to Hawaii SEED, a statewide non-profit coalition that addresses the issues and risks of genetically engineered organisms (GMOs) in Hawaii. Disturbingly, our islands have more open-field, experimental GMO agriculture than any other state in the nation.

Hawaiian Forests: An Endangered Life-support System

by Michele McKay

Hawaii’s native forests are a true biological and cultural treasure. They shelter more than 10,000 plants and animals found nowhere else on Earth; they protect watersheds, beaches and reefs from devastating run-off and sediment; they foster the survival of traditional Hawaiian cultural practices. But perhaps most importantly, Hawaiian forests serve as a life-support system for our islands, replenishing and delivering the fresh, clean water that is so vital to plants, animals, and humans.

Watching Wildlife Responsibly

by Michele McKay

Watching wildlife is a great way for people of all ages to experience nature and learn about the flora, fauna and environment of our Hawaiian Islands. However, wildlife enthusiasts who disturb land and marine animals or who overuse sensitive areas can pose a threat to the long-term health of wildlife, native plants, and habitats.

Summertime Kokua

by Michele McKay

Summer is a great time to enjoy Hawaii’s beautiful mountains, beaches, and surf! Hiking, biking, snorkeling, swimming, wave riding, barbequing… whatever your pleasure, enjoy the outdoors with kokua, in a way that won’t harm people, animals or the environment.

A Recyclers’ Guide to Oahu and Maui

by Michele McKay

Approximately 800 million beverage containers are sold in Hawaii each year – that’s a lot of plastic, aluminum, and glass! The HI-5 program is helping to keep these materials out of landfills through a 5-cent deposit redemption, and the City & County of Honolulu is evaluating options for curbside recycling following a voter-approved charter amendment.

Our Living Reefs

by Michele McKay

Coral reefs, and the waters they shelter, are closely tied to our lifestyle and cultural traditions in Hawaii – and they are home to roughly 7,000 varieties of marine life, many that exist nowhere else on Earth. Coral reefs are huge, hard, and sharp… but, amazingly, they are created by delicate life forms: tiny algae and polyps working in partnership.

Ocean-friendly Gardens

by Michele McKay

Gardening in Hawaii can be a joy and a challenge. Our perpetual growing season allows us to cultivate plants year-round, but it also puts our green thumbs to the test by allowing pests to thrive and soil to become compacted. In its Ocean Friendly Gardens program, the Surfrider Foundation points out that even if you don’t live near the ocean, your garden – and how you manage it – impacts the health of Hawaii’s marine environment.

Protect Our Islands from Invasive Aliens!

by Michele McKay

Invasive aliens!! Sounds like something from a sci-fi plot! But in fact, invasive aliens – the imported plants, animals, and microorganisms that become destructive to their new home – are a serious ecological threat to our Islands. The Legislative Act that created the Hawaii Invasive Species Council states, "The legislature finds that the silent invasion of Hawaii by insects, disease-bearing organisms, snakes, weeds, and other pests is the single greatest threat to Hawaii's economy and natural environment and to the health and lifestyle of Hawaii's people.

The Great Diaper Debate

by Michele McKay

Cloth diapers vs. disposables... which is the more environmentally responsible choice? We all know that cloth diapers use water, while disposables use landfill space. But when you look a little closer, you will find other factors are involved.

Cloth Diaper Facts:

In the 2 ½ years from birth to toilet training, a baby will need a total of 3-6 dozen cloth diapers and around 25 diaper covers.

Benefits:

  • Cloth diapers use fewer raw materials than disposables
  • They generate much less solid waste

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