News, updates, finds, and stories from staff and community members at KAHEA.
Showing blog entries tagged as: island sustainability

News, updates, finds, stories, and tidbits from staff and community members at KAHEA. Got something to share? Email us at:

Hooray for No Bioprospecting in the NWHI!

From:  Andrea

Good news:  bioprospecting is now prohibited in the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument!

KAHEA has been pushing for this prohibition from the beginning of the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands’ protection.  State permits have prohibited bioprospecting for some time.  But, with only permits issued in the state refuge prohibiting bioprospecting, the entire Monument was not protected.

But, now, the federal co-trustees are prohibiting bioprospecting, too.  KAHEA’s victory is evident in the Final Monument Management Plan where the prohibition on bioprospecting is required on all permits issued in the Monument.

Prohibiting bioprospecting in this irreplacable locale is necessary to protect fully the Monument and its cultural and natural resources.  Bioprospecting, essentially, entails the search for new chemical compounds, genes, and their products in living things that will have value to people, often through development of marketable commodities like pesticides, pharmaceuticals, and cosmetics.

Thanks to the prohibition, our public trust resources are prioritized for their conservation, not their profitability.  No opportunity to plunder for profit in the Monument- at least not legally.

Commenting on the Draft Science Plan, KAHEA continues to urge for responsible science in the Monument.  To learn more about responsible science:

Shrug it off or contemplate security on the ground level?

From:  Andrea

The article says Hawaiians are shrugging off the North Korean missile threat.

After all, Hawaiians are accustomed to the various threats and dangers of inhabiting the Planet’s most isolated archipelago. We are out here far from quick and convenient aid from the mainland.

But, perhaps, this threat should be an opportunity to reconsider how secure and independent Hawaii truly is, out here in the middle of the Pacific.  While it may not be time to start worrying about missiles and the universe of possible terroristic threats, which may be unstoppable on a community level, the time is ripe to consider security the people of Hawaii can control.

For instance, food security is something as tangible as dirt in your hands and food in your belly.  Obvious to everyone who buys groceries around here, a huge amount of food sold in stores is imported, reflected by the price.  The exact percentage of imported food may be debatable, but the need for more food production here in Hawaii is undebatable.

What’s an easy way to improve food security here in Hawaii?  Support local farmers markets!  For instance:

Kapiolani Community College Farmers Market

4303 Diamond Head Road
Honolulu, HI 96805

Saturdays, 7:30 a.m. – 11 a.m.

For more info, see:

The EPA Just Doin' Their Job...

From Melissa:

The Environmental Protection Agency gets on the Department of Transportation’s Harbor division to clean up their act. It’s a start, thanks guys.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said today it recently ordered the state Department of Transportation’s Harbors Division to comply with federal Clean Water Act stormwater regulations at Honolulu and Kalaeloa-Barbers Point Harbors.BARBER2

Fuel, oil and debris carried by stormwater from the Harbors Division and tenant facilities discharge directly into harbor waters and through municipal storm drains running to harbor waters.

To read the full article click here

They're not aiming for Palau...

From Miwa:

From the NY Times, “Hawaiians Shrug off Missile Threat“:

Now the Obama administration says North Korea could launch a ballistic missile in the state’s direction — possibly around the Fourth of July, according to the Japanese news media — prompting the United States military to strengthen defenses here…

People took comfort in the heavy, year-round military presence provided by several bases here but also wondered if it made the state more of a target.

Yes, it’s called irony, folks. And it’s why they aren’t aiming for Palau.

All Talk, No Action

From  Andrea:

I attended the Reserve Advisory Council meetings on the Draft Science Plan for Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument last Tuesday and Wednesday.  After two full days of meetings, I left thinking the whole process was, in the words of Shakespeare, “full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.”

The Reserve Advisory Council is a citizen advisory body with the important responsibility of providing advice and recommendations to the co-trustees (via NOAA’s representation) on management of our beloved Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument.  The Draft Science Plan discussed at this meeting prioritizes research activities, meaning this plan determines what access and activities will be allowed for research within the protected Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. What access and activities are allowed within the Monument determines, ultimately, what on-the-ground level of conservation the Monument will be afforded.

These two long days of meetings, full of heated debates and hammering out precise language for this important Science Plan, led to…well, nothing!  The Reserve Advisory Council (RAC) did not even have the necessary quorom- that is, minimum number of members necessary to make decisions and carry out their function, leading me to wonder why everyone spent two long, full days for all talk, no action.

I was particularly frustrated that the RAC went through all the motions but in the end lacked quorom because I have issues with the draft Science Plan.  Under the Plan’s prioritization system of permits, most potential activities for permitting were ranked as “critical” or “high” priority.  Can you call it “prioritized,” if everything is deemed important? Such a high proportion of activities deemed to be “critical” and “high” priority implicates a high proportion of permitted activities in the Monument, which was originally established under a guideline of no access unless permitted.  Clearly, the prioritization system needs some refining to serve the purpose of the Monument.

I am afraid to report that, as the draft Science Plan stands now, access into this protected Monument via the permitting system will not be much of a hurdle.  Just as one example, the Science Plan’s risk analysis section asks “what is the harm of NOT conducting the research,”  without ever asking “what is the harm” of conducting it.  How can you assess whether a proposed research project is worth the risk it poses to the environment, if you never ask the question?

Clearly, the Science Plan needs a lot more work.  Unfortunately, who knows when the RAC will have the necessary attendance to decide on revisions to the Science Plan.  I guess the system for determining which permits are granted in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands will have to be put on hold until enough RAC members decide to fulfill their duty of attending RAC meetings.  Otherwise, the plan may be adopted without genuine oversight and input from the “citizen’s” advisory group.

Fishing For Solutions- Easy Steps You Can Take To Increase Ocean Health

From Melissa:

Do you love a tender piece of sashimi and salmon grilled to perfection like I do? To ensure the future of our seafood eating please check out the following article and follow the easy steps included to become a more conscious consumer!

We paid for what?!

Posted by melissakolonie at Jun 16, 2009 05:53 PM |

From Melissa:

We, the taxpayers, paid city workers overtime to illegally dump cement into our precious Ma’ili’ili stream that supports native and endemic species. Guess what? Now we’re paying them to clean it up… illegally! C’mon City of Honolulu, really?! Check this out:

Document Actions

Empower grassroots efforts to protect Hawaiʻi with your donation today.

E-mail Sign-up
Follow Us