Most folks don't have a clue what this field of study is all about, and those who do might wonder how Kauai fieldwork might fit in. Just ask Dr. Marian Chertow and her industrial ecology students at Yale .
Turns out, the learning we're doing in industrial ecology is absolutely crucial to our sustainability struggles, and Kauai is as good as anywhere to build our knowledge of how these systems work. Only more so.
Why? For one thing, Kauai's size makes it a perfect laboratory for studying systems, since one can almost literally get one's arms around it.
Plus, clear boundaries (where the earth meets the sea) and monitored borders (at our airport and harbors) make the data collection much simpler.
If you agree with all this, you'll wish you were in Chertow's class. Her grad students will be on-island all next week pouring over our data and interviewing island leaders to help them compile a "material flow" analysis.
Chertow's crew is hosted by Kauai Planning and Action Alliance, and I'll be helping with island data.
This research will help us quantify our islands sustainability challenges, identify current and potential vulnerabilities, and identify opportunities for "industrial symbiosis".
Several years ago, Chertow's class tackled Hawaii Island and produced a study for Kohala Center, and it will be great to have a similar study produced for Kauai!