Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Living a Green Life and Celebrating Earth Day


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Here in East Hawaii, where over 90 % of Hawaii’s materials and food is imported, life takes on too much dependence on mainland lifestyle and practices.

Fortunately for myself and many of my earth minded citizens here in East Hawaii, we do make wonderful choices to live green and try to reduce our own footprint in the environment. We usually don’t get that many choices and most of those options and services are very expensive to the average consumer.

In East Hawaii, most of us rely on water catchment systems to catch rain from the roof to water our plants, take our showers and wash our laundry and all our water needs. Those that do not have catchment systems go to county water spigots to fill up large containers for their water needs. Fortunately, rainy days on the east side of the island are plentiful and provide adequate nourishment to our tropical plants and the food we can grow.
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Since there is no garbage service in our area, everyone is responsible for going to  recycle centers (free) to sort out the greens, the bottles, the paper materials and re-use objects for the community centers… usually by this stage, I only have less than one small garbage bag of pure garbage to dump and thats about once a week.
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This is the re-use/recycling center in our local district in Keaau, they recycle clothes, furniture, paint, toys, knick-knacks and other cast offs for re-use.
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We have our typical container bins for glass, paper/cardboard, plastic and another section for green waste and lumber. Everyone here sorts out directly into each container, there is no such thing as recycling curbside pick up in Hawaii Island.

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Mother nature is kind to us in East Hawaii and many do grow bountiful fruits and vegetables and have some small livestock and neighbors share their abundance with family and friends.

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What we cannot grow ourselves can be found at a myriad of local farmers markets producing a variety of products and delicious take out meals, everything fresh and grown locally.

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I believe in composting since we have minimal soil here,  and we have to build up beds above the lava rock to create fertile soil…leaves, grasses and kitchen scraps all go back to the compost pile to create fertile mulch and soil.

Electricity rates are the highest in the country in Hawaii and we do watch our consumption. I typically set my water heater only for a few hours in the morning and at night.  The laundry sits on a wire to be dried by the sun and all my electrical equipment is plugged together into jacks that can be switched off.  We open our window for the natural breezes and most homes actually do not even have HVAC systems for heat or cooling…at least here in East Hawaii where the temperatures are moderate year round in the 70’s to 80’s.

Gasoline is also the highest prices nationwide in the US with Unleaded typically averaging $3.50 per gallon. My rule to using the car is that I need to do at least 5 tasks of related driving activities within an area to be able to use my car. This has effectively made me consolidate trips and stop wasteful last minute errand runs. Hitch hiking is still cool here and I usually pick up some interesting travelers from around the world visiting our island and with nice stories to share.

As you can see, in our area we are only given a few choices: either pay a lot upfront for these services, import most of our goods and materials or we can be more creative and efficient with what we have. We can grow and share what nature provides. I have strived to live a simpler and better lifestyle that espouses my beliefs and my wallet thanks me for being conscious.

Thanks to Jan at thanksfor2day blog for sharing with bloggers about this special event, please do go visit the her site to see how other bloggers are making a green impact to their own environments. 
Mahalo to All for caring for the aina ( land )

To visit other Thats my World Tuesday go to http://showyourworld.blogspot.com/

21 comments:

Bangchik said...

getting people involved in recycling is a good approach. ~bangchik

Ami said...

Noel: Wow, big salute to you! Now I feel guilty to waste lots of resources (un-intentionaly although) in my day-to-day life.

Darren said...

The fruits and vegetables that you can grow in Hawaii make me so envious! I try to emulate a tropical garden here.
I commend you on your recycling efforts, shame more people in the US Can't/Don't follow Hawaii's lead.

noel said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Carol said...

You live in a great community Noel! It is so great to see and read about all that you and your neighbors do to be kind to the earth and your wallet! Very interesting to read about the water catchment systems. ;>)

tina said...

I've never been to Hawaii but it sounds pretty much okay even with the high utility bills. I'm thinking moderate temperatures year round and the views. Ah yes. So great you all recycle so much. I had no idea.

Meredith said...

I had no idea the islands depended on the mainland for 90% of their imports. Of course I suspect that we are all more interdependent now than we know. :)

Bravo to you for doing so much to treat the earth with respect and control your consumption. I think it's dreamy not to need HVAC. We went without AC in South Carolina last summer to see how it would be w/o the modern fossil-fuel-supported conveniences we depend on so much -- and yikes!

Jan (Thanks For Today) said...

I really enjoyed your post, Noel, and learned a lot, as well. Thanks so much for your participation! You guys seem to 'have it down', re: conservation practices and 'awareness' of the importance of reducing our carbon footprint on the environment around us. It is impressive to read about the many ways you responsibly live in Hawaii;-)

Noelle said...

Hello Noel,

I enjoy this glimpse of your life in Hawaii. When you first posted about water catchment, I was amazed and then impressed. I believe that those of us who live on the mainland could learn much about conservation from those of you who live on the east side of Hawaii.

Liza said...

You, sir, are like the rock star of the environmental movement. Kudos to you! And please keep up the great work!

Kimberly said...

Noel, this post is a wonderful insight to the real life in Hawaii. Your life choices are an inspiration. Additionally, I didn't know about Jan's meme...I'm going to check it out right now!

Adrian said...

Greetings from Illinois!

Just by visiting this page I learned so much I never knew. Congratulations to you on your ecological tropical lifestyle.

Christine B. said...

We've been over 3 bucks a gallon, too, for quite a while. Most people grumble that it must be because the gasoline is so fresh (we produce it here) that we pay a premium. Recycling is gaining more traction here, they are finally offering curbside pickup: hallelujah!

Christine in Alaska

Johnny Nutcase said...

Excellent post...always raises my hope in humanity when I see that other people care, thanks!! :)

Elephant's Eye said...

And we are still struggling to get this little town to recycle, instead of DUMP. I do admire your green lifestyle.

Helen at summerhouse said...

It's great to to find a kindred spirit in regard to recycling, and composting and being eco minded. And you've made it look easy too.

RennyBA's Terella said...

What great, readable and informative post from your part of the world - and what great contribution in general and to Earth Hour movement!

I've added you to the Earth Hour 2010 Link Love Chain list on my blog (you might like to update your post with a link to that post :-) )

Lawstude said...

these are truly amazing shots. you must have smile on your face when taking these because the outcome are truly heartfelt. great shots. thanks for sharing.

Melanie said...

This is wonderful Noel, a glimpse into your Island life and how you are making a difference. Two Thumbs up!

Window On The Prairie said...

People could learn a lot about conservation by reading this one post. Thank you.
Suzanne

Orchid food said...

Phalenopsis is an orchid type that needs repotting once every year until the plant reaches maturity, then you can reduce the frequency of repotting to once every two years. Don’t worry about the pot size when repotting as Phalenopsis will rather grow vertically then laterally so the same pot size should be enough. For a Phalenopsis use medium grade orchid mixes, medium grade fir bark or sphagnum moss.

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