KOLOA – Greg Peters says it is important to have a hand on the pulse of the land.
Try the Alps. Or the red-rock desert of Utah. And now Kauai, which he’s called home for a year.
“Land is such a premium on Kauai,” said Peters, who has seen his fair share of landscapes, from the East Coast to the Black Forest in Germany. “I love eating the stuff I can pull right out of the land.”
The 28-year-old attorney has devoted his life to the preservation of the world’s natural and cultural resources.
“While I don’t consider myself a particularly spiritual person in general, I am able to find God in the scripture of nature,” he added. “It’s impossible to stand amidst a place, like Mahaulepu, and not feel a spiritual undercurrent coursing through the land.”
Since landing here, he’s jumped right into happenings around the island. He’s the hiking leader of the Kauai Sierra Club, works with one of its committees, and is coordinator for Malama Mahaulepu, an environmental awareness organization. The organization works to advance conservation and education initiatives.
“We need to create a harmony between balancing the needs of the environment, our cultural resources and the economy,” Peters said. “I believe it can be done but it requires a collaboration of public and private partners.”
The environment was always dear to the Massachusetts native. Before earning his environmental law degree from Vermont Law School, he spent his youth camping, hiking and exploring.
“I couldn’t get enough of it,” he said. “There’s nothing like immersing yourself, digging in, getting your hands dirty, climbing trees and summiting mountains.”
Peters has made his conservation mark elsewhere. In Park City, Utah, where he was the director of conservation for Summit Land Conservancy for five years, he implemented reduced water consumption programs and other initiatives to minimize land degradation and erosion. He wants to leave a lasting legacy on Kauai, a place he first saw on a backpack trip on the Kalalau Trail about a decade ago.
“I had never seen anything like this landscape before,” he said. “It was a profound experience. It significantly increased my perspective of the world I live in and what can be done to ensure it’s protection. Hiking the last two miles into the valley, I recall this incredible sense of reverence for the land.”
He plans to hike the trail again next spring with his soon-to-be bride.
They plan to marry near the Alps, another favorite spot of Peters. And what better way to celebrate a ceremonial union than a rigorous hike?
“She’s getting married into environmentalism whether she likes it or not,” he said.
This is an ongoing feature that focuses on everyday people who reflect the spirit that makes Kauai the place it is today. If you know of somebody you’d like to see featured, Lisa Ann Capozzi at email@example.com.