‘Our planet’

  • Caleb Loehrer / The Garden Island

    Hundreds gather along Kaumualii Highway in front of Kauai Community College in Puhi for a climate strike, one of thousands held Friday all over the world.

  • Caleb Loehrer / The Garden Island

    Emilia and Dan Knudsen spin colorful umbrellas, which they brought to the protest “because we didn’t have a sign.”

  • Caleb Loehrer / The Garden Island

    Kasiah Vercelli, right, and Sabyn Rudinoff hold their signs at Friday’s climate strike at Kauai Community College.

  • Caleb Loehrer / The Garden Island

    Sammy Pastore, right, comes to the climate strike dressed as a tree, alongside his parents Sari and Steve Pastore, who drove down from Haena.

LIHUE — Hundreds of residents gathered at the Kauai Community College campus Friday afternoon, joining people all over the world for a day of global climate protests.

Young and old took to the streets to demand that their leaders address climate change, just days ahead of the United Nations Climate Action Summit on Monday.

“The numbers look good around the world,” said Anne Walton, one of the organizers, explaining that Kauai is in the world’s latest time zone, meaning the protest at KCC may have been the last in the day of worldwide protests.

“These are just the news blasts coming in,” Walton said. “Even places like Sao Paulo, Brazil, Cape Town, South Africa, so right now they think there’s over 150 countries participating.”

About four million people from thousands of cities and towns on all seven continents took part in Friday’s climate strike, according to a New York Times article Friday.

“Protest, man! Gotta save the planet!” Kasiah Vercelli said when asked what she was doing on the street corner with a cardboard sign painted with a flame-covered globe and the words, “IF WE BURN YOU BURN WITH US.”

“We don’t have another planet to live on,” she added. “Mars would not be fun.”

Vercelli, 17, went to the climate strike with her father, Jason Vercelli, a wildlife biologist who said his age was “old as dirt.”

Cher Ellwood, coordinator for the Kauai Performing Arts Center, stood nearby, holding a clipboard with a paper that read, “BUILD SOIL NOT HOTELS.” Ellwood said she joined the protesters at KCC because she believes in the fight against climate change and has been involved in environmental causes for decades.

“I’ve been pro-environment since the ’60s,” she said. “I caused all sorts of trouble in my day.”

“It’s too late to keep it from happening. It’s time to reverse it,” Ellwood said, explaining her view on climate change and the need to take action. “We can slowly reverse it, but we have to act now.”

A little boy covered from head to toe in hunting camouflage, stood next to his parents with a homemade wooden shield painted with the words, “PROTECT OUR EARTH.” He pulled off a camo hood covering his head and face to explain the outfit.

“What I’m trying to do,” said Sammy Pastore, “is, well — it’s kinda like a tree.”

Pastore, 10, who came down from Haena with his parents, Steve and Sari Pastore, said he originally planned to make a sign that said “I refuse to be a burning bush,” but chose to dress up as foliage instead.

“This is our earth, and we only have one chance,” he said.

Mark Baltazar, president of the KCC student body government, said he helped organize and coordinate the event because “it’s our earth. It’s our planet.”

The KCC chapter of the Associated Students of the University of Hawaii co-sponsored the event, alongside other local organizations.

“You know what, we gotta start somewhere,” Baltazar said. “It’s important because it’s our earth. It’s our planet, you know? We only have one.”

Baltazar spent the first 15 minutes of the protest picking up trash along the side of the road, joining a group of volunteers carrying orange bags up and down the stretch of Kaumualii Highway fronting the college, and said he has recently been trying harder to do his part in the fight to preserve the environment.

“For me, my thing is, I’ve been catching the bus, ” Baltazar said, explaining that, in order to help cut down on carbon emissions, he has started making use of the free, semester-long bus pass available to all KCC students. “I have my own car, but I need to practice what I preach.”

Dan Knudsen and his daughter Emilia drove down from Kapahi to join the protest. They sat on the grass, spinning matching rainbow-colored umbrellas, because, Knudsen said, “we didn’t have a sign, and rainbows are the most beautiful.”

The Knudsens were near the edge of the crowd lining the road, which had grown to at least a couple hundred people by 1:30 p.m. Drivers waiting at red lights honked their horns and passengers waved and screamed from the open windows of passing pickup trucks, sometimes shouting words of encouragement, sometimes just saying hello to an auntie they recognized among the protesters.

“I skipped school,” Emilia Knudsen said, smiling and twirling the umbrella on her shoulder. Her father had gotten permission from her teacher, who thought attending the climate strike was a great idea. The wind pushed fat clouds across the sky. It was a beautiful afternoon to be outdoors.

  1. hutch September 21, 2019 12:18 am Reply

    How curious that the ‘global’ climate strike did not include, China, the worst polluter on the face of the earth.
    Also, here are 18 climate change predictions from years past that never panned out…

    18 examples of the spectacularly wrong predictions made around 1970 when the “green holy day” (aka Earth Day) started:

    1. Harvard biologist George Wald estimated that “civilization will end within 15 or 30 years unless immediate action is taken against problems facing mankind.”

    2. “We are in an environmental crisis which threatens the survival of this nation, and of the world as a suitable place of human habitation,” wrote Washington University biologist Barry Commoner in the Earth Day issue of the scholarly journal Environment.

    3. The day after the first Earth Day, the New York Times editorial page warned, “Man must stop pollution and conserve his resources, not merely to enhance existence but to save the race from intolerable deterioration and possible extinction.”

    4. “Population will inevitably and completely outstrip whatever small increases in food supplies we make,” Paul Ehrlich confidently declared in the April 1970 Mademoiselle. “The death rate will increase until at least 100-200 million people per year will be starving to death during the next ten years.”

    5. “Most of the people who are going to die in the greatest cataclysm in the history of man have already been born,” wrote Paul Ehrlich in a 1969 essay titled “Eco-Catastrophe! “By…[1975] some experts feel that food shortages will have escalated the present level of world hunger and starvation into famines of unbelievable proportions. Other experts, more optimistic, think the ultimate food-population collision will not occur until the decade of the 1980s.”

    6. Ehrlich sketched out his most alarmist scenario for the 1970 Earth Day issue of The Progressive, assuring readers that between 1980 and 1989, some 4 billion people, including 65 million Americans, would perish in the “Great Die-Off.”

    7. “It is already too late to avoid mass starvation,” declared Denis Hayes, the chief organizer for Earth Day, in the Spring 1970 issue of The Living Wilderness.

    8. Peter Gunter, a North Texas State University professor, wrote in 1970, “Demographers agree almost unanimously on the following grim timetable: by 1975 widespread famines will begin in India; these will spread by 1990 to include all of India, Pakistan, China and the Near East, Africa. By the year 2000, or conceivably sooner, South and Central America will exist under famine conditions….By the year 2000, thirty years from now, the entire world, with the exception of Western Europe, North America, and Australia, will be in famine.”

    9. In January 1970, Life reported, “Scientists have solid experimental and theoretical evidence to support…the following predictions: In a decade, urban dwellers will have to wear gas masks to survive air pollution…by 1985 air pollution will have reduced the amount of sunlight reaching earth by one half….”

    10. Ecologist Kenneth Watt told Time that, “At the present rate of nitrogen buildup, it’s only a matter of time before light will be filtered out of the atmosphere and none of our land will be usable.”

    11. Barry Commoner predicted that decaying organic pollutants would use up all of the oxygen in America’s rivers, causing freshwater fish to suffocate.

    12. Paul Ehrlich chimed in, predicting in his 1970 that “air pollution…is certainly going to take hundreds of thousands of lives in the next few years alone.” Ehrlich sketched a scenario in which 200,000 Americans would die in 1973 during “smog disasters” in New York and Los Angeles.

    13. Paul Ehrlich warned in the May 1970 issue of Audubon that DDT and other chlorinated hydrocarbons “may have substantially reduced the life expectancy of people born since 1945.” Ehrlich warned that Americans born since 1946…now had a life expectancy of only 49 years, and he predicted that if current patterns continued this expectancy would reach 42 years by 1980, when it might level out.

    14. Ecologist Kenneth Watt declared, “By the year 2000, if present trends continue, we will be using up crude oil at such a rate…that there won’t be any more crude oil. You’ll drive up to the pump and say, `Fill ‘er up, buddy,’ and he’ll say, `I am very sorry, there isn’t any.’”

    15. Harrison Brown, a scientist at the National Academy of Sciences, published a chart in Scientific American that looked at metal reserves and estimated the humanity would totally run out of copper shortly after 2000. Lead, zinc, tin, gold, and silver would be gone before 1990.

    16. Sen. Gaylord Nelson wrote in Look that, “Dr. S. Dillon Ripley, secretary of the Smithsonian Institute, believes that in 25 years, somewhere between 75 and 80 percent of all the species of living animals will be extinct.”

    17. In 1975, Paul Ehrlich predicted that “since more than nine-tenths of the original tropical rainforests will be removed in most areas within the next 30 years or so, it is expected that half of the organisms in these areas will vanish with it.”

    18. Kenneth Watt warned about a pending Ice Age in a speech. “The world has been chilling sharply for about twenty years,” he declared. “If present trends continue, the world will be about four degrees colder for the global mean temperature in 1990, but eleven degrees colder in the year 2000. This is about twice what it would take to put us into an ice age.”

  2. Dude September 21, 2019 7:33 am Reply

    I was very moved and impressed with the youth of the world at the Climate Change Protest. Because of them I have formulated a plan to reduce ones carbon footprint each family should adopt: (1) Since electricity is primarily produced by coal (coal=BAD), cancel your electric service. No cable TV, video games, WIFI, air conditioning or CELLPHONES. (2) No more rides to school with a stop at Pono Market (gas=BAD), ride the bus. Also, no more rides at all. Ride your bike or walk. (3) Those of you in colder areas of the world, no more heating oil (oil=BAD). At night sleep several to a bed for body warmth. In tropical climates, for heat relief, men and women should shave their heads. (4) For cooking and heating build a fireplace but don’t burn our precious trees (they have feelings too), use what the old pioneers used, cow dung(poop). However, since cows will not exist in the very near future (cows=BAD) we must come up with an alternative dung(poop). It is my understanding that the city of San Francisco has already solved this problem. Their sidewalks are covered in this alternative form of dung(poop) and they even provide maps on where to acquire it. So this is certainly great news for our youthful protesters! (5) Finally, this last proposal is probably the most grievous- NO MORE MCDONALDS (the cow thing remember). All these proposals will undoubtedly put millions out of work (and make a select few, VERY rich and powerful) but that doesn’t matter. What matters is that we save our planet for our youth so that they can all be equally poor and miserable. There is a term for that – SOCIALISM.

    1. Or September 21, 2019 1:35 pm Reply

      Or, you could, you know, cut back on things and try to be CONSERVATIVE with energy and polluting agents.

  3. Rev Dr. Malama September 21, 2019 7:34 am Reply

    Science supports the Paris Climate initiative as a minimum and the USA signed on, so hold public officials accountable….. down to the last penny spent to Do The Right things…. stop the rhetoric and show us proof of action to restore the community to a sustainable environment and economy!!!!

  4. Charlie Chimknee September 21, 2019 8:08 am Reply

    Aloha Kakou,

    There’s an old saying “You missed the forest for the trees”…meaning you were looking so much at singular trees you failed to see the importance or enormity of the whole forest.

    In this article today on Climate Change some of the examples of climate change are singular type pollutions or real actions to lower or lessen the issues of Climate Change, Global Warming, etc.,…like chasing symptoms.

    Perhaps there’s a greater, broader perspective to appreciate and add to the necessary changes to curb this problem that certainly appears to be manmade and worldwide.

    The remark of removing plastic and styrofoam on the beach, as well as we all know exhaust emissions from all motors on land, sea, or in the air, and the toxic chemicals used by the millions of tons over the years on farms and other agricultural uses…as well as the polyester in your clothing…these chemicals formations and chemical breakdowns are all from the same source…PETROLEUM. Perroleum basically comes from 2 primary sources: Oil Wells and Coal Mines…the source of petroleum…Fossil Fuels.

    Petroleum, due to its chemical uniqueness, wherein almost anything natural can be synthetically reproduced by mixing and matching the molecules and atoms found in Petroleum…via Petrochemicals…reconfigured by Petro Chemists in laboratories and later in manufacturing plants by the ton.

    One aspect too often if not completely overlooked and by far the greatest pollutant on earth is the Petrochemicals that directly, and first hand, pollute the people and by virtue of its ingestion these petrochemicals enters the human brain, and these never before petrochemicals exposed to and experienced by the brain cause, allow, render, and perpetuate the brain into “hay wire, or cockeyed” malfunction thinking, neuro synapses and engrams, and the loss of quality of internal function of the body and brain decisions resulting in not only too many modern diseases on the increase, just as the increase use of petrochemicals, that would be in the case of creeping and accumulating ingestion by humans from eating, drinking, and breathing these modern petrochemicals, and swallowing or being injected by medical drugs.

    Some modern chemicals are now known to break down the Blood Brain Barrier allowing othe toxic drugs into our brains to pollute our minds and collective thinking.

    In a few words…WE ARE POISONING OURSELVES, which seems to be being overlooked or unknown by the majority of humans on earth.

    We breathe the exhaust of motor vehicles, we eat thousands of petrochemicals and other chemicals in our food and people think nothing of it.

    And when the people become sick after decades of self abuse ignorance and ingestion of these chemicals…they manifest, or become sick.

    And what is waiting for them is the magnitude of more petrochemicals and other chemicals that their doctor will prescribe for them and the pharmacy shelves will freely let them buy on their own self ignorant diagnosis and treatment.

    Chemical diseases such as cancers and so many others, provided with more of the same, more chemicals as treatments, is OxyMoronic…it’s worse than that, it’s stupidity wrapped in the Blind Faith of chemicals as a solution to the weird science chemicals that make people sick, and apparently the world as well, since almost all pollution has the singular source of Petroleum.

    And there is no end in sight, even wars are fought over it. Petroleum…!

    The humans, especially the youth of all nations, need to put on their collective thinking caps, burn the midnight oil (LOL) on their computers and figure out a new way to provide easiness, work and leisure, and HEALTH, without the use of, or very little of it, of Petroleum and Petrochemicals and other noxious chemicals.

    Sign waving, picking up plastic and styrofoam, may bring attention to the problem but does not activate a solution, like disease care, “cleaning up” pollution is an after the fact futile attempt to arrest something that needs prevention…unveil the CAUSE and remove it. Petroleum and Petrochemicals are the cause to almost all pollution.

    And please comment as to others causes of pollution, we need to know and eliminate those causes too.

    But what you can do starting today or continuing if already, you must read the Food Labels, if it has chemicals, and yes sugar is a plant based chemical, though some is synthetic, if it has chemicals you must put it back on the shelf and demand toxic chemical free food, no petrochemicals…and as to medical drugs same thing. You can’t take Petrochemical drugs for cancer caused by Petrochemicals and expect to return to Health and a natural healthy functioning body.

    Go with nature, it has been around since time began on earth. Nature is God’s Supervisor on Earth.

    The great Capitalistic endeavor of controlling our health and our food is sadly and subtly controlling all the people, and people must give that control back to our Supervisor, that is Nature.

    After all, the chemical food manufacturing industry and doctors with drugs have only been here for a short while.

    Doctors are called Physicians, physician means teacher. People need to be taught back to health and children educated to always stay healthy. Natural Health education, the study of the human body, requires starting when children start school as children.


  5. harry oyama September 21, 2019 8:15 am Reply

    Complain all you want, but the biggest problem is over population and how many of these protesters are willing to be sterilized or married couples having only one child and participate in a 7 year birth stoppage? Currently there are over 6.5 billion people on this planet which can only support 1-2 billion and yet each month it increases by several hundred million.

    It is overpopulation that is the root of global climate changes due to increased CO2 and human demmand for more resources that produce these harmful gases not to mention human sewage

  6. John Patt September 21, 2019 8:19 am Reply

    The average American woman owns 27 pairs of shoes, the average American man 12 pairs. If you’re serious about climate change, start with your own life. And install solar, or at least on-demand water heating. Otherwise your protests are just so much hot air.

  7. WestsideResident September 21, 2019 9:37 am Reply

    All participants walked to the event, right?

    Also cancelling their Costco memberships?

    All animals are equal, but the earth saving animals are more equal than the others.

    1. EarthResident September 21, 2019 1:38 pm Reply

      Why should everything be a “100% perfect or nothing at all” solution? People cutting back makes a huge difference. The problem with the past decades is that we have overused the resources and put things out of balance. You can still live a comfortable life and not kill the planet.

  8. gordon oswald September 22, 2019 5:49 am Reply

    A colossal waste of time! Naïve sheep people spewing garbage out of their mouths instead of common sense. When the population is really threatened the free enterprise system will fix it in a heartbeat while their inventions and efforts to solve the problem creates the next wave of Billionaires. For now, you’re all brainwashed sheep dolts spewing stupid, biased, and incorrect information to your children. THE WORLD HAS BEEN HERE FOR BILLIONS OF YEARS AND MAN IN ONE FORM OR ANOTHER FOR A MILLION PLUS. It is a fact he will be here for a million more unless he annihilates himself with Nuclear weapons, or, the ultimate power comes down to earth and ends your foolishness. Man’s effect on the “weather” is comparable to the effect to an elephant by a gnat sitting on it’s ass.

    1. Wow September 22, 2019 2:41 pm Reply

      Does Gordon seem more unhinged lately to anyone else, or is it just me?

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