Seeing Home From Afar; Go Green
Wednesday - September 12, 2007
Hawaii may not be perfect, but it is definitely No Ka Oi. We love our vacations and we appreciate what other places have to offer. And yet, we are always ready to come home.
We learn a lot when we go away. For example, I watched a fair amount of news while in Vancouver, B.C. Aside from a general chirpiness among the anchors there, newscasts are exactly the same in Canada - lots of bad stuff, political scandals and violence. Top story on one of the days we were in Vancouver was a missing child, her mother pleading for her safe return, and the massive manhunt to find her. On another day the headlines were all about the civic strike that had garbage piling up in the city. There was a serial killer terrorizing folks somewhere, a wild animal attack of some sort, and another missing person in a neighboring town. Canadian broadcasts were also filled with news about their southern neighbor - the collapsed bridge in Minneapolis, President Bush, Iraq, the U.S. presidential race - it was like being home.
Only we weren’t home. So when we started seeing satellite pictures of a hurricane bearing down on Hawaii, it caught our interest.
There is something about sitting in a hotel room watching a great big storm heading toward your state that makes you feel absolutely helpless. On the TV screens our beautiful Hawaii looked like a tiny sitting duck for a potentially devastating hit. It was interesting: In one sense it really is a small, small world because TV, phones and the Internet keep us in the loop. But it’s a false sense of intimacy. The reality was that we were still thousands of miles away, unable to do a thing about protecting our people and property.
Thankfully it turned out well and friends and family were pretty nonchalant about the whole thing when I called. But we were all well aware that things could have gone the other way.
I had the great honor of taking part in the Hawaii Home + Remodeling “Whose Keeping Hawaii Green” celebration recently. The intent was to recognize citizens, organizations and businesses that are making a significant effort to protect our environment. In the coming weeks and months I’ll be profiling some of these awardees because what they’re doing is so important to us all.
Among the winners, Betty Gearen, founder of The Green House. She’s turned her Pauoa home into a living example of how to live a sustainable lifestyle.
Actor Jason Scott Lee may be a celebrity, but he’s also made headlines for the way he lives. Living green to him means living without electricity and growing his own food.
The fourth grade class of Island Pacific Academy and their teachers Lisa Fabro and Louann Sackrider. They have become caretakers of the beautiful Waimea Valley. Students got down and dirty weeding out invasive aquatic plants, planting native Hawaiian plants, raking trails and running a recycling program to support a feral cat spaying and neutering program.
They and the rest of the awardees are examples for us all. Among those honored were developers, engineers, teachers, farmers and even the head of a local brewery. What they all have in common is a love of our beautiful state and a sincere commitment to doing the right thing. I hope their will inspire you as much as they did me. They want to make sure Hawaii remains No Ka Oi for generations to come.
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