Kristen Nemoto Jay
Fifty-three years ago, millions took to the streets on April 22, 1970, to celebrate the nation’s first Earth Day. It was a momentous demonstration and declaration that American citizens were fed up with the country’s then environmental policies, which were nearly non-existent and the cause of a myriad of pollution problems such as a smog-filled Los Angeles or unregulated oil spills throughout the nation.
Denis Hayes, one of the event’s founders, in an interview with The Harvard Gazette for the 50th anniversary of celebrating Earth Day, stated that back in the 1960s, there was no real activism about the “environment.” There were people within Santa Barbara who cared about the oil spills or anti-freeway coalitions in a dozen cities but each were spread apart into specific groups fighting for specific things within the environment. What Earth Day did was “take all of those different threads and weave them together into this fabric of modern environmentalism, to help them understand that they were operating from similar sets of values … and [will] be much stronger as a whole than they were individually.”
Our current issue of The Hawai‘i Herald celebrates Earth Day as a collaboration among many hands and hearts that make up this beautiful planet. Those who help to ensure that the next generation may have a chance at a better future. Non-profits such as the Genki Ala Wai Project, our cover story, is a great example of community stewardship. As the Red Hill crisis continues, over a year later, Ernie Lau, chief engineer and manager of the Honolulu Board of Water Supply, reminds us to not be afraid to stand up to what’s right even though it may seem intimidating at first – at least you know your heart is in the right place. Erin Kanno Uehara, owner and founder of Choco le‘a, teaches us that peace is available one chocolate at a time but also from the hearts of those who give. And thanks to our intern, Kassidy Lyons, a senior at Kalaheo High School, who helped cover the Japan-America Society of Hawaii’s panel discussion on Wednesday, March 1 about “Powering to Sustainability” within our Community Focus section, we learned further insights on energy security and how we can apply the information in Hawai‘i’s quest to lessen our resilience and unsustainable imported energy sources; further helping us learn what we can do more to help our island home from environmental harm.
Whether we help our environment by recycling a bit more, buying local produce as much as possible, or even helping to make genki balls, may we each do what we can so that the next generation will have a chance in seeing the beauty of our island home as it was meant to be viewed. Who knows, maybe we’ll be seeing more sea life in the Ala Wai and our children’s children will never know it to be anything other than beautiful one day.