Written by India Myerscough
As time continues ticking forward at an alarmingly fast rate, humanity is witnessing the downfall of our mistakes in over-production of plastics, single-use items, gasoline…..the list goes on. It seems as though we have forgotten how to connect, to ourselves and to the Earth we stand on. For centuries, Hawaiians (and other native people groups around the world) have formed intimate bonds with the Earth and Sea, working in unison with nature, rather than fighting against it. It is all connected, “From the mountain, to the ocean….from the windward to the leeward side.” These lyrics are sung by many on a daily basis in Hawai'i, for some as a reminder to mālama (to take care of) this sacred land, acknowledging the affinity between all natural spaces. Sustainable Coastlines Hawaiʻi is committed to honoring traditional Hawaiian culture, and our specific mandate as humans, to mālama, every day. We are all connected.
From marine debris to plastic water bottles in the road, here at Sustainable Coastlines Hawaiʻi cleaning the spaces we love is a passion project. On Saturday, June 26th, we led a large-scale, community cleanup spreading across the beautiful city of Honolulu. Living in a big city on a tiny island can inevitably result in a big mess. Luckily, support is rising in the environmental movement and eyes are slowly but surely being opened to the plastic pollution problem we are facing. Now more than ever, action must be taken to eradicate the negative impact single use plastic and other materials often found in cities have made on our planet. And the best part about it is that we can have fun while taking action for our environment! Groups of volunteers showed up from all over the island, grabbed their supplies from one of our drop off and pick up locations, and got to work on a good day ahead!
SCH is committed to making a lasting impact on future generations by educating communities through hands-on and fun instruction. Most of our volunteers are families and groups of kids and teenagers, taking time out of their weekend to pick up trash with us and learn about how they can create a better future for our planet. It is quite simple, really. The impact we have as humans on this earth is huge. If we are taking steps to work alongside the earth and listen to what nature needs, the results of our positive actions are insurmountably beautiful and slowly changing the world for good. Adjusting the way we live in this modern world is one small step we can take to lend a hand to the world that created us. Taking a Saturday morning to pick up trash, make new friends, bond over weird things found in the weirdest of places, and learn about our earth is without a doubt, a very fun day.
Trash is scattered from Mauka to Makai (Land to Ocean) as far as the eye can see in our concrete jungle. Considering the circumference of the city, we decided to split up into three different locations, Kaimuki (the neighborhood where SCH was born), Magic Island, and the Ala Wai. Alongside our amazing partners, we embarked on a day of cleaning and data collection far surpassing our greatest expectations. Volunteers from all over the island packed into our office in Kaimuki for a fun morning of sorting through trash found along the rivers, streams, and streets of the city. At each location, clean up volunteers dropped off the rubbish they found and data collection volunteers sorted through it.
We had help from countless supportive businesses and other local organizations much like ourselves. Keep it Kaimuki lead the charge with us; together we gathered a stellar group of businesses eager to support a good thing. Thank you to Coffee Talk, Brew’d Craft Pub, Coco Bloom Kitchen, Popoki and Tea, and others for providing delicious food back at the Kaimuki office for the volunteers. All volunteers were invited back to the SCH office to check out pop up shops. Keep It Simple Honolulu had a surplus of goods for the volunteers to explore. Epic surf wax and Allgood brand provided some shopping opportunities to those looking to take care of their bodies and the earth. Albizia project set up a booth to further educate people on the importance of maintaining balance in our ecosystem through invasive species removal. Accesssurf Hawaii also posted up to provide further volunteer and educational opportunities to volunteers passionate about teaching others to surf.
Whether you collected data with us or gathered rubbish around the city, we are grateful for your support and time. If you did not make it to this clean up, no worries. We hope to see you at any of our future cleanup events. If you have stumbled across us and do not live on island, you can still support us through the Clean Beaches Start at Home project or through donations. Future volunteer opportunities and registration for clean ups will always be posted on our website sustainablecoastlineshawaii.org.
Mahalo to all of our incredible volunteers and kapuna who made this day possible! A huge mahalo to our partners: Free The Ocean, Parley For The Oceans, Vans, Central Pacific Bank Hawaii, Outrigger Resorts, All Good Brand, Hawaiian Airlines, Bank of Hawaii, and Keep it Kaimuki.