Heartfelt congratulations to Vincent Mina, who received the Malama i ka 'Aina award, and Mahina Martin, who received the Onipa'a award at the Sierra Club annual meeting on Feb. 1.
Mahalo also to the Sierra Club for hosting such an informative gathering.
Maui County environmental coordinator Rob Parsons shared with us that one of the top complaints his office receives is about smoke from cane burning. Rep. Kaniela Ing shared that he is working on getting a working group together with both sides of the cane burning issue present at the table. Mina shared with us the benefits of natural farming and actually passed around some natural insulation made out of hemp and a sample block of hempcrete used as a mildew-resistant building material.
I hope Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar Co. can work with the public, county and state agencies on transitioning from sugar to growing and locally processing organic industrial hemp. It could be used to create environmentally friendly building materials, paper and cloth, and remediate the soil. It would be an innovative way to create more jobs and help our island become more self-sufficient without the controversy that surrounds marijuana. It would also keep agricultural lands and jobs in production.
This is just one suggestion, and I'm sure there are many more so I urge our community to continue to work together and look for viable alternatives where the environment, the economy and the community all come out winners.