LIHU‘E — Kaua‘i is joining a network of A Billion Acts of Green today in celebration of Earth Day 2012.
Throughout the week, the Associated Students of the University of Hawai‘i-Kaua‘i Community College, Ho‘ouluwehi, the Sustainable Living Department of KCC and other community agencies and organizations have been hosting films, forums, exhibits and presentations on sustainable living and environmental preservation leading to the Earth Day celebration.
“Can you get permission to plant more?” asked retired judge Alfred Laureta, Friday at the Regency at Puakea when Edd Schepker, the facility’s landscaper, planted a Rainbow papaya tree in commemoration of Earth Day, Schepker being surrounded by residents and staff as he gingerly transplanted the papaya tree from its container recycled from a gallon can.
The Earth Day website states the Earth Day 2012 campaign is designed to provide people with the opportunity to unite their voices in a call for a sustainable future and direct them towards quantifiable outcomes.
“There is much to celebrate on this Earth Day as we recognize the robust efforts in our Island State to protect Hawai‘i’s environment while working toward fuel and food sustainability,” said Congresswoman Mazie Hirono in an Earth Day celebration news release. “Hawai‘i continues to show great leadership when it comes to promoting renewable energy and creating green jobs.”
Hirono, recently named Geography Legislator of the Year by the National Geographic Society Education Foundation, pointed out “our hotels and resorts are installing solar photovoltaic panels for energy, while recycling the water used in their air conditioning systems,” Diann Hartman of the Grand Hyatt Kaua‘i Resort and Spa being among the exhibitors during the Earth Day celebration, Thursday at the KCC campus where she had information on the resort’s efforts at becoming more environmentally friendly and lessening its carbon footprint.
Earlier in the week, Alexander and Baldwin, its McBryde Resources subsidiary and Kaua‘i Island Utility Cooperative broke ground on a six-megawatt solar facility at Port Allen scheduled to start construction later this year, pending approvals by county and state governments.
The Kaua‘i Conservation Alliance, supported by the Garden Island Resource Conservation and Development and the County of Kaua‘i Office of Economic Development hosted its first Conservation Awareness Day, Wednesday at the breezeway of the Lihu‘e Civic Center offering the community an opportunity to learn more about the work being done in Kaua‘i’s ocean and forests to protect the island’s ecosystems.
The Friends of Kamalani and Lydgate Park mobilized a task force of community volunteers to accomplish several projects in the popular recreational area.
“The Friends of Kamalani and Lydgate Park have been organizing major annual volunteer workdays in observance of Earth Day since 2006 because making our parks as attractive as possible results in more people actively using our island’s park system and appreciating the outdoors and natural settings,” said Tommy Noyes of the Friends of Kamalani in a release.
Jim and JoAnn Wallace of Idaho were among the 30 to 40 volunteers registered by the East Kaua‘i Y’s Men’s Club, Saturday.
“We came to learn,” Jim said while loading his tray with paint for re-painting picnic tables inside the popular main pavilion at Lydgate Park. “We have a lake in Idaho and we want to do for it what Kaua‘i people have done to this park. We recently did a cleanup of the lake and removed 70 tons of trash.”
Noyes said the thrust of this year’s project is to create 15 new picnic tables, six of the tables being an art project by students at the Kaua‘i Academy of Creative Arts during their summer program.
In addition to the re-painting and creation of new tables, Surfrider Foundation was spearheading a beach cleanup with the clearing of a net snarl at its forefront, and teams were also planning to do routine maintenance and cleanup work around the Kamalani Playground and Kamalani Bridge areas.
Backyards Bar & Grill, Big Wave Dave’s Bar and Grill, The Eastside Restaurant, Olympic Cafe and Starbucks in Kapa‘a supported the efforts of the Friends of Kamalani and Lydgate with contributions of food.
“On this Earth Day, we can appreciate the work being done in the spirit of laulima — all of us coming together to protect our water, air and ‘aina,” Hirono said.
• Dennis Fujimoto, photographer and staff writer, can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 253) or dfujimoto@ thegardenisland.com.