Archive for the 'Community Initiatives' Category

(Chronologically Listed)

Turn up the volume: continuing conversation about Kauai’s energy futures

conversdation about KIUC

In case ya missed it, here's a podcast of KIUC's CEO Randy Hee and me on Doug Carlson's "Energy Futures" HPR radio show.

This was from September 2009.

I pushed "ramping up" our conversion to renewables (21:45), highlighted the demand destruction by Kauai customers (26:15) and the integration of sustainability challenges in energy, transport, food, water and building (30:30).

I also noted the "smart money" now going into efficiency (36:50), and the food-vs-fuel land issue on Kauai (45:30).

Good fun!

We've been missing Randy around KIUC these past months, yet the issues and challenges remain the same.

Published by Ken on February 6th, 2011 tagged Community Initiatives, Energy, Island Vulnerabilities | Comments Off

RU ready for ‘weird’ weather? the case for adaptive investment

cold kauai decembers, click for larger

As we track and anticipate climate change in these islands, the one certainty seems to be that we are in for “weird” weather.

For example, the record-cold December on Kaua`i (see chart) and the recent Hanalei gusher that broke records (and gauges) certainly qualify as "Black Swan events"--things previously thought to be rare that occur with increasing frequency.

Of course, those who build models of "system dynamics" tell us this weirdness is an expected consequence of the "hockey stick" trends we're now seeing. Every major geo-physical indicator is ramping up faster and faster (see chart below), and this accelerating quantitative change is generating startling qualitative changes.

Published by Ken on January 4th, 2010 tagged Climate Change, Community Initiatives | 1 Comment »

what more can one say? on the need for sustainability action

can all u can

People are compelled to act when the alternatives are worse. This gem from Sharon Astyk captures the essence of all the study I've been doing since launching this blog 3 years ago.

Says Astyk, "It is not necessary to offer optimism...We know it may already be too late...What people feel is a necessity, a sense of urgency and a shared crisis." (via casaubonsbook).

As one of Astyk's commenters puts it, "we need to forget about the top national political leaders doing much, or even much at the state level. We also can’t think of ourselves as survivalists with a bunker mentality."

Published by Ken on August 25th, 2009 tagged Community Initiatives, Systems Thinking | 1 Comment »

sustainability courses, KIUC get local news play

kcc sustainability

Nice piece in today's Garden Island on my upcoming series of sustainability short courses, and yesterday's op-ed by the venerable Walter Lewis on the need for a KIUC rate hike was also kewl!

Have to say our island sustainability conversation continues to amp up, and I'm getting more and more "pinch me" moments as our community learning and dialogue advances. Seems like only yesterday that sustainability was 'fringy' stuff...

Sadly for most of us, getting in this conversation takes some homework. For openers, we gotta change how we think, and that's as tough a task as there is.

Published by Ken on August 9th, 2009 tagged Community Initiatives, Sustainability Science | Comments Off

Mayor as playuh: Kauai’s lineman for county sustainability

kauai mayor

Pinch me! For the first time, our island's political leadership is stepping up to the sustainability challenge, and I'm feeling better about our chances with this big guy up front.

Mayor Bernard Carvalho isn't just mouthing the "S" word...he's serious about preparing Kauai for the sustainability transition coming down on his watch.

Carvalho is launching a series of newspaper columns on sustainability and is learning to fold-in the sustainability theme with his daily "stories" as he moves from appearance to appearance.

Ya gotta like Carvalho’s chances as a cheerleader for the behavior changes that are integral to these transition times.

Published by Ken on July 26th, 2009 tagged Best Practices, Community Initiatives | Comments Off

Hawaii social investment: ulupono initiative for sustainability

kyle datta and ulupono initiative

Let's hope Hawaii's social entrepreneurs are lining up for this: a significant source of funding for new business models in "indigenous renewable energy, local food production, and waste reduction", through the Omidyar's just-launched Ulupono Initiative.

Now settled in the islands, Pierre and Pam Omidyar are plunking down heavily to support "Hawaii's transformation to sustainability", and it's not just about money…more about catalyzing change.

As leaders in "social investment" with nearly $1B already committed planet-wide, Omidyar intends this island team, led by Kyle Datta and Robin Campaniano, to help "grow a 21st century economy where economic progress and environmental stewardship go hand in hand."

Published by Ken on July 24th, 2009 tagged Community Initiatives, Island Vulnerabilities | Comments Off

learning about sustainability: on creating courses for Kauai

sus courses at KCC

Can't recall more fun than conceiving effective methods for communicating the scope of what we're learning about sustainability...and shaping this into accessible short-courses!

That's been my focus for the the past several months, and I'm delighted to report that the inaugural learning opportunities will launch in 3 weeks at Kauai Community College through the Office of Continuing Education & Training (OCET).

Fortunately, I've had some practice with previous seminars for Kauai leaders, yet this field is advancing so rapidly that it's truly challenging and inspiring to sum up what we're learning, especially regarding the challenges facing this small rural island.

Published by Ken on July 23rd, 2009 tagged Community Initiatives, Systems Thinking | Comments Off

unsustainability = not thinking of the whole system

kalo connection

While being interviewed for a forthcoming Ode article to feature Hawaii's influence on Obama and his thinkng about sustainability, I mentioned that, in the Hawaiian patheon, the `aina ("nature") is a sibling.

The interviewer chuckled, as if this was a 'cute' concept.

I'm guessing that the interviewer missed the message: our 'modern' thinking has led to a loss of consciousness about our place as a part of natue.

As John R. Ehrenfeld stressed in his marvelous presentation at Delft last April, we cannot even see that our 'consumption' has become a form of addiction that is destroying nature itself.

Published by Ken on July 15th, 2009 tagged Best Practices, Community Initiatives | Comments Off

Lihue sustainability: AIA submits planning recommendations

lihue mill artist conception

Recall the AIA confab last Fall that focused on sustainability in Lihue's Development Plan? Well, the SDAT team has just filed their recommendations, and they're worth a look (via KPAA).

"Focus on long-term sustainability", "meet uncertainties head-on", and "consider a pause on development activity until the plan is fully worked out" are three of their top recommendations. Oh, and, “stick with it”, once adopted. Kewl!

One especially intriguing suggestion focuses on the abandoned Lihue Mill, which the planners think might perform a great "gathering" function if it were redeveloped as a microbusiness incubator and food distribution center (as illustrated).

Published by Ken on July 7th, 2009 tagged Best Practices, Community Initiatives | Comments Off

war-time footing: bring back rationing…for carbon

WWII ration stamps

My wife was an impressionable 6 years old when WWII ended, and has a clear and favorable recollection of rationing.

This week, on returning from her mother's funeral she showed me a prize find from her stored stuff: a ration book with her name on it.

The stamps shown here are for oils and grains, yet what she remembers most clearly is the stamps for chocolate...none of which remain in this ration book (duh!).

Actually, her fondest memory is of plenty bubblegum when the war ended (doh!).

She firmly believes Americans need some new stamps for carbon rationing.

Published by Ken on July 3rd, 2009 tagged Climate Change, Community Initiatives | 1 Comment »

Abercrombie to KIUC: face up to climate change

abercrombie at KIUC

Sheesh, it's only been 18 months since Councilmember Jay Furfaro interrupted my speech to the Filipino Chamber of Commerce on Kauai's sustainability challenges with his own rant about the uncertainties of climate change and the need to proceed with caution.

And it was only last week that The Garden Island published a puff piece on KUIC's lobbying on behalf of "Big Coal" against the climate change bill now working its way through Congress

So, it was great to see this morning's headline with our Congressman, Neil Abercrombe (the apparent front-runner in next year's governor race) lecturing the KIUC board on how they must "face up to the question of climate change".

Published by Ken on July 1st, 2009 tagged Community Initiatives, Energy | Comments Off

ebike love.2: on days without cycling

stokes ebikin'

Back to e-bikin' (yeah), after Bionx sent me a replacement wheel under warranty and suddenly the days are fun again. Bob Stehlik at Blue Planet Surf and Bionic Wheels was super at expediting the exchange (mahalo!).

Oh, and, Stehlik's got more ebikes on Oahu or can put one together for ya...if you're ready to step up your own cycling.

Mine is built by Sun (EZ-Sport CX) and powered with BionX (350 watt hub motor). Stehlik

Going a few weeks without cycling is one of the toughest things I've done, and I'm surprised at how depressing the car-only option really is.

Published by Ken on July 1st, 2009 tagged Community Initiatives, Energy | Comments Off

indigi-new economy: Adamson on sustainability and hard times

rebecca adamson

"We will find abundance through hard times when we find each other", says First Nation’s Rebecca Adamson.

"Abundance comes not from stuff…An indigenous system is based on prosperity, creation, kinship, and a sense of enough-ness. It is designed for sharing."

Adamson's wisdom flows through a marvelous interview by Sarah Van Gelder in the "New Economy" issue of Yes!

"Fear makes scarcity self-fulfilling. The more fearful, the more you go out and buy. And pretty soon you run out of money and go into debt, and pretty soon the planet runs out of natural resources and places to put all the garbage."

Published by Ken on June 17th, 2009 tagged Best Practices, Community Initiatives | Comments Off

exploring eco-Edmonton: host with the most for sustainability

edmonton ICLEI

Tomorrow will be this city's turn to shine the light on local initiatives for sustainability.

As host of ICLEI's triennial World Congress, Edmonton has packed the day with 14 "mobile workshops" that will take the local leaders from 57 countries out into the city and region of Edmonton (by foot, bus or bicycle) to explore sustainability in action.

In a break from traditional congress proceedings, these workshops will "connect leaders by providing a stimulating and contextual networking and socialising opportunity for participants to experience several of Edmonton’s sustainable development projects firsthand." Want inspiration? Checkout Edmonton’s many collaborating stakeholder groups’ inter-linked initiatives.

Published by Ken on June 15th, 2009 tagged Best Practices, Community Initiatives | Comments Off

tiny card speaks volumes: on reinforcing the footprint message

tiny biz card

When I caught this idea at Ogilvy's "On Recession" site, I went straight into production, and Voila!

Using the "clean edge" business card stock from Avery, I designed a bite-sized layout that prints 4 per card.

Then, I simply fold and snap out the cards and cut each one into fourths.

Hai! Dozo! Yes! Please take it! Herewith, my new business card.

It seems to better fit my footprint reduction efforts, right alongside my tiny treehouse home and my trailered ebike transport.

I’ve tested it with friends in the Lihue Business Association, who seemed to get the message…after they stopped laughing!

Published by Ken on June 10th, 2009 tagged Best Practices, Community Initiatives | Comments Off

who’s on first? sustainability holds up in Hawaii blog world

ranking of HI blogs

One never knows how salient the sustainability challenge is to islanders, although I take some comfort in how well SusHI does in Hawaii's blogosphere.

As shown in this table, SusHI and RaisingIslands (good buddy JanT) hold their own amongst the other largely political blogs.

Two other Kauai blogs also made this top-10 list.

It's especially gratifying to see the average visitor stays on SusHI for 2.2 minutes. Only Joan Conrow (Kauai Eclectic) and Ian Lind do better on this count.

Our friends on SaveKauai (not shown) are slightly better on traffic, yet way back on PageRank, Authority, Links, and Time.

Published by Ken on June 6th, 2009 tagged Community Initiatives | Comments Off

thinking about thinking about Hawaii’s food system

fixes that fail

Some folks are attracted to “system dynamics” because its tools enable us to practice thinking about human support systems in new ways.

Lord knows we need new ways of thinking...perhaps more so regarding our food system than elsewhere.

Why? Hawaii is stuck at the end of the American 'food chain' (heh) and the systems we've inherited are not well-suited for sustainability in these tropical islands.

Worse, many otherwise thoughtful studies, such as RMI's "whole system" food map for Hawaii Island, focus on competing in the existing scheme, whereas we're better served using these tools to re-invent our Hawaii food system.

Published by Ken on June 3rd, 2009 tagged Community Initiatives, Food, Systems Thinking | Comments Off

keywords for sustainability: essential, inevitable, and feasible

sustainability transition

Hopefully, folks 'get' that "going green" ain't enough...that there's no such thing as "sorta sustainable".

At the same time, this or that "green" initiative may be seen as a "choice", yet there is no choice but to quickly transition to sustainability. Period.

As the "Transition Town" gang puts it, "climate change makes the carbon reduction transition essential, peak oil makes it inevitable, and transition initiatives make it feasible, viable and attractive."

Notice we're talking "3 Spheres": In economies we will inevitably switch energy, in ecologies we will essentially adapt to climate change, and in communities we will viably re-invent from the bottom-up.

Published by Ken on May 31st, 2009 tagged Climate Change, Community Initiatives, Systems Thinking | Comments Off

sustainability needs balanced thinking in everyday life

bottle litter

If recycling your glass bottle could save a quarter-pound of CO2, and if your car spews a pound of carbon per mile, how many bottles could you cart how far in order to capture the maximum recycling benefits?

These "routine calculations" reflect the "necessary resource literacy" we'll need to "embed balanced thinking in everyday life", says Craig Simmons (via bestfootforward).

Same goes for your "local, organic" food purchases. Recall that the Seattle food project found that if you drove more than 4 miles to get your "green" plate, you'd blow the whole advantage over the "standard supermarket" plate.

Published by Ken on May 18th, 2009 tagged Community Initiatives, Systems Thinking | Comments Off

how to organize for sustainability: the next question

green new deal

Folks who know very little about sustainability may not be all that helpful when our communities are trying to chart sustainable pathways.

So, if all we do is ask these innocents, we might expect to get nowhere fast, and the burgeoning mountain of "Action Plans" for local sustainability bear this out.

Engaging citizens in mandatory "community outreach" is one thing. Yet if that's all we do, that's all we get.

This tried-and-true approach is deeply flawed, and unless we inject some sustainability thinking and science findings into the planning process, the product will be less than helpful.

Published by Ken on May 7th, 2009 tagged Community Initiatives, Systems Thinking | Comments Off