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.

The Paradox of "Certified Humane" Meat

by Michele McKay

A logo proclaiming “Certified Humane Raised & Handled” may now appear on meat, poultry, egg and dairy products that meet qualifications of humane treatment defined by the non-profit organization Humane Farm Animal Care. The program is well-meaning in its intention of compassion, but paradoxically, no matter how well butcher animals are treated while being raised and handled, they are doomed to an eventual violent and brutal slaughter.

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.

Supporting a Healthy Planet with Organic Cotton

by Michele McKay

When you say "organic" to someone, the natural response is for them to think about food. Most conversations and discussions on organic are about fruits and vegetables, but the scope of organic products does not stop there. You can also purchase organic clothes. “Why should I buy organic cotton?” you ask. “I don’t eat my clothes!” Good point... but the answer is more serious than most people think.

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.

Marine Debris

by Michele McKay

Most people never see it until it washes up on shore… but debris in the ocean damages more than just the beauty of our beaches. Bits of plastic, myriad containers, and derelict fishing gear are a serious threat to ocean and coastal ecosystems, killing marine mammals, fish and seabirds, even as they create a hazard to human health, safety, and navigation.

Leaving a Light Ecological Footprint

by Michele McKay

Island living naturally makes us aware that land and resources are limited and must be used wisely. This perspective helps us to understand the reality of our planet – an island in space, containing the essentials that we need to survive. Our “ecological footprint” is our personal impact on this island home and on the planet. It represents all the land, water, and raw materials that go into our food/products/services, measured in terms of the amount of land needed to sustain our day-to-day lives.

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