Raise a glass to toast your favorite green restaurant! Thanks to everyone who voted in the 2013 People's Choice Nature's Plate Awards. Together we can celebrate the restaurants doing their part for nature -
and your taste buds!
Since ancient times, Hawaiians have relished eating 'opihi, a limpet unique to Hawai'i, and used the shells as fertilizer, scrapers for peeling taro (an edible root), and as jewelry. But today, 'opihi populations are declining.
A new pilot project being run with communities, scientists, and The Nature Conservancy now aims to turn the tide for the much-prized mollusk.
Where does your water come from? According to a recent national poll conducted by The Nature Conservancy, the vast majority of Americans don't know.
Three quarters of those polled couldn't name the source of the water they use for drinking, bathing and cooking. Many simply thought that their water comes from the tap. Others thought the source was the ocean.
On the mainland, 80 percent of drinking water comes from lakes and rivers. Here in Hawai'i, basically, our water is pumped up from underground aquifers or harvested from mountain streams.
A heavy rain in the Ko'olau Mountains launches a muddy flow through the eroded hillside, across the marshy He'eia flats, through the He'eia fishpond, and out into the sea. There, all that sediment, rich in nutrients, fertilizes acres of alien algae that choke Küne'ohe Bay's vast coral reefs.
A unique partnership led by groups like Kako'o 'Oiwi and Mahuahua Ai o Hoi, and supported by The Nature Conservancy, is changing things: replanting upland forest, replacing swamp with taro fields, or lo'i kalo, and restoring the sediment-trapping marsh with native wetland plants. By managing He'eia as interlinked systems running from mountain to sea, the community hopes to treat the various parts and heal the whole. The community's broader vision is to restore a prized tradition: He'eia as a breadbasket. "The plan is to put poi on the table for everybody," said kupuna Alice Hewett.
David and Josephine DeLuz, owners of Hawai'i Island's Kūka'iau Ranch, used a flexible land and estate management tool called a conservation easement to ensure that their land would never be subdivided or used in a way that would compromise its conservation value.
The DeLuzes wanted to have a productive working ranch but also protect important areas for their historic and ecological value. Working with The Nature Conservancy and the Hawai'i Island Land Trust, the DeLuz family crafted a conservation easement unique to their ranch and their desires. It's a choice that's being used more and more across the state.