Hawaii Updates: August 2022 | Pesticide Action Network
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Hawaii Updates: August 2022

Lorilani Keohokalole's picture

Wēlina mai kākou,

The relationship to the land, or ‘Āina (Land) and Wai/Kai (Wai), is at the core of our being. The food we grow does more for us than sustaining our bodies, it also “feeds” us mentally and spiritually. 

In this newsletter, we are focusing on a few important movements, and we would appreciate your support. It’s the government’s kuleana to minimize community exposure to harm, just as we have a kuleana to our land: to care for it and to respect it, and in return, our land has the kuleana to feed, shelter, and clothe us.  We must maintain balance within society and with our natural environment.

Mahalo nui for the confidence to represent our community of Hawai‘i. 

Lorilani Keohokālole

PAN Co-Director of Organizing for the Hawai‘i Region

'Ai Pono Challenge 2022

We are thrilled to announce the launch of Kauai’s  ʻAi Pono Kauaʻi Challenge 2022 with the Hawaiʻi Alliance for Progressive Action! Registration is now open for this celebration of eating local, which will take place September 25 - October 3.

‘Ai: Eat     Pono:  Righteous; Right; Correct      ‘Ai Pono: Eating healthy. 

The ʻAi Pono Kauaʻi Challenge seeks to celebrate the abundance of ono, locally grown, raised, and prepared foods on Kauaʻi. The goal of the challenge is to inspire Kauaʻi residents to eat and support locally sourced foods in their daily lives. 

These seven days of eating locally includes a scavenger hunt that will take participants on an adventure around Kauaʻi to find ingredients and meals sourced from local producers, partner restaurants and cafes – or your own backyard! At the end of the challenge, submissions will be judged and awarded with prizes. Register today to join the celebration!

Beyond participants, we are also seeking volunteers to assist with this year’s challenge and we are looking for prize donors/donations. If you’re interested, please email Fern Holland.

The latest on Red Hill

Earlier this month, our friends at the Sierra Club of Hawaiʻi shared an update on the dire situation at Red Hill – the U.S. Navy’s 80-year-old, 250 million gallon capacity bulk fuel storage facility. Since 1943, fuel has leaked from the facility, contaminating Oahu’s water system and causing disastrous public health impacts.  Thousands of families have been displaced and nearby municipal wells have been closed indefinitely.  These wells once provided water to 400,000 residents and the majority of O‘ahu’s schools, hospitals, hotels, and businesses.

The Navy appears to feel no sense of urgency to address the over 100 million gallons of fuel still stored at the facility. Their 2.5-year defueling plan for the Red Hill Facility was officially rejected by the Department of Health in July – with a spokesperson likening it to an incomplete homework assignment. Meanwhile, those directly impacted continue to struggle with the health effects of petroleum exposure.  It has been reported that those most responsible for this crisis have not been subjected to disciplinary action.

However, water protectors throughout Hawai‘i, and even from abroad, will continue to rise up in defense of our islands and our home.  We will continue to support families with mutual aid, hold rallies and ceremonies to protest inaction, and canvass neighborhoods to raise awareness.

Check out the second panel in the Water Protectors Rising webinar series, co-hosted by our partners at the Hawaiʻi Alliance for Progressive Action and the Sierra Club of Hawai‘i.

Legislative session reflections

The legislative session ended in early May, and Anne Frederick, executive director of the Hawaiʻi Alliance for Progressive Action has some wise words to share on both the necessity and limitations of engaging in this arena:

Lawmakers have passed a bill that will move the Agribusiness Development Corporation (ADC) – the quasi-public agency that manages the largest footprint of our public ag lands – from under the Department of Agriculture to the Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism.  We strongly oppose this provision as do most individuals and organizations who testified on the bill. 

While this loss at the state legislature is demoralizing, we see a tremendous opportunity to build a regenerative food economy in Hawaiʻi where abundance is created and maintained within our communities.

We also find hope in a new generation of community-accountable leaders who are stepping up to run for elected office to create something better. There is a vast ecosystem of activists, organizers, elected officials, advocates, educators, food producers, cultural practitioners, students, storytellers and artists who are envisioning and creating a more equitable food future for Hawaiʻi where we are in good relationship with our natural resources.

Stay tuned for a full version of Anne’s reflections, which will be published on the PAN blog soon.

Seed Keepers, Truth Tellers

For years now, pesticide industry giants have peddled their genetically modified (GM) technology kits: modified seeds and the herbicides that go with them. Communities on the frontlines of GM agriculture have born the brunt of this dangerous system. That’s why PAN and HAPA have teamed up with PAN Asia Pacific and partners from around the world to trace the global story of GM agriculture through this animated short video, Seedkeepers and Truth Tellers.

Lorilani Keohokalole
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Lorilani Keohokalole's picture
Lorilani Keohokālole

Lorilani Keohokālole is PAN's Co-Director of Organizing for the Hawaii Region and comes from the beautiful islands of Hawai'i. Born and raised on O'ahu, Lorilani currently resides on the island of Kaua'i. A wife and mother of 4, Lorilani's passion around advocacy was cultivated at a young age. The Hawaiian cultural value of Mālama 'Āina (care of the Land) is a key value that drives her passion for the protection of the 'Āina (Land). Lorilani believes that in caring and cultivating a relationship with the land, one ultimately is cultivating and caring for oneself. Lorilani was a PAN Fellow in 2020 and joined staff in 2021.