Archive for February, 2009

President’s Weekly Address, February 28, 2009: Keeping Promises

In the February 28, 2009 Weekly Address, President Obama explains how the budget he sent to Congress will fulfill the promises he made as a candidate. On fiscal responsibility, a fair tax code, a clean energy economy, real health care reform, and education, this budget sets out a new vision for our country.

But having put his priorities on paper and having stood behind them, the President recognizes that there are those who will fight against change every step of the way.

“I realize that passing this budget won’t be easy. Because it represents real and dramatic change, it also represents a threat to the status quo in Washington. I know that the insurance industry won’t like the idea that they’ll have to bid competitively to continue offering Medicare coverage, but that’s how we’ll help preserve and protect Medicare and lower health care costs for American families. I know that banks and big student lenders won’t like the idea that we’re ending their huge taxpayer subsidies, but that’s how we’ll save taxpayers nearly $50 billion and make college more affordable. I know that oil and gas companies won’t like us ending nearly $30 billion in tax breaks, but that’s how we’ll help fund a renewable energy economy that will create new jobs and new industries. I know these steps won’t sit well with the special interests and lobbyists who are invested in the old way of doing business, and I know they’re gearing up for a fight as we speak. My message to them is this:

“So am I.”

Click here to watch the full five-minute address and read the transcript.

February 28, 2009 at 11:44 am Leave a comment

Medicine at Your Feet – wild edible and medicinal plants

Learn about wild edible and medicinal plants with David Bruce Leonard, herbalist and scholar. Many of these plants are weeds but are sold in health food stores! In these times, it’s nice to know what you can eat from your lawn! The Haliimaile Community Garden will be specially open to the public for this event. Saturday, March 7th from 1 pm – 3 pm. Directions: $5 suggested donation per person but no one will be turned away. For more info,

February 28, 2009 at 12:15 am Leave a comment

Build a Solar Power Generator for Under $300


  1. Buy yourself a small solar panel. For about $100 you should be able to get one rated at 12 volts or better (look for 16 volts) at an RV or marine supplies store or from Greenbatteries Store.
  2. Buy yourself a battery. We recommend rechargeable batteries from these green companies: Greenbatteries Store and Get any size deep cycle 12 volt lead/acid or gel battery. You need the deep cycle battery for continuous use. The kind in your car is a cranking battery—just for starting an engine. Look for bargains, the cheapest ones should cost about $50-60.
  3. Get a battery box to put it in for $10. (This is good for covering up the exposed terminals in case there are children about If you going to install the system in a pump shed, cabin, or boat, skip this.) Buy a 12 volt DC meter. Radio Shack has them for about $25.
  4. Buy a DC input. I like the triple inlet model which you can find at a car parts store in the cigarette lighter parts section for about $10. This is enough to power DC appliances, and there are many commercially available, like fans, one-pint water boilers, lights, hair dryers, baby bottle warmers, and vacuum cleaners. Many cassette players, answering machines, and other electrical appliances are DC already and with the right cable will run straight off the box.
  5. But if you want to run AC appliances, you will have to invest in an inverter. This will convert the stored DC power in the battery into AC power for most of your household appliances. I bought a 115 volt 140 watt inverter made by Power-to-Go at Pep Boys for $50. Count up the number of watts you’ll be using (e.g., a small color television(=60 watts) with a VCR(=22 watts), you’ll need 82 watts). A variety of cheap inverters from 100 watts to 3000 watts can be had from Lane’s Professional Car Products. Type “inverters” into his search bar.
  6. Use a drill to attach the meter and DC input to the top of the box.
  7. Use insulated wire to attach the meter to the wingnut terminals on the battery. Connect the negative (-) pole first. Only handle one wire at a time. Connect the DC inlet to the battery in the same way. Connect the solar panel to the battery in the same way.
  8. Close the lid (I use a bungee cord to keep it tight). Put the solar panel in the sun. It takes 5-8 hours to charge a dead battery; 1-3 hours to top off a weak one. It will run radios, fans, and small wattage lights all night, or give you about 5 hours of continuous use at 115 volt AC, or about an hour boiling water. This system may be added on to with larger panels, inverters, and batteries.

That’s quite a project that’ll kill an idle Sunday afternoon—and power a good deal of your electrical equipment. And save you a bunch of money. Happy solar building.

For more info on specifics, and how best to operate the system, head over to

February 26, 2009 at 11:40 pm Leave a comment

Simple elixir called a ‘miracle liquid’

The Electroyzer uses salt, water and low-p0wer electrolysis  to produce a natural degreaser and sanitizing solution that successfully competes with other products.

Sodium ions are converted into sodium hydroxide, an alkaline liquid that cleans and degreases like detergent, but without the scrubbing bubbles. Chloride ions become hypochlorous acid, a potent disinfectant known as acid water.

“It’s 10 times more effective than bleach in killing bacteria,” said Yen-Con Hung, a professor of food science at the University of Georgia-Griffin, who has been researching electrolyzed water for more than a decade. “And it’s safe.”

Used as a sanitizer for decades in Russia and Japan, it’s slowly winning acceptance in the United States. A New York poultry processor uses it to kill salmonella on chicken carcasses. Minnesota grocery clerks spray sticky conveyors in the checkout lanes. Michigan jailers mop with electrolyzed water to keep potentially lethal cleaners out of the hands of inmates.

See full article in the Los Angeles Times.

February 26, 2009 at 11:02 pm Leave a comment

The Electric UNO Bike

A young inventor has created a motorbike with a twist – it uses two wheels but they are positioned right next to each other, giving it the illusion of being a powered unicycle. And even better, it might help save the planet. Ben Gulak has spent several years building the electric Uno that uses gyroscopic technology – like the infamous Segway commuter device – to stay upright. The bizarre-looking contraption has only one switch – on or off – and is controlled entirely by body movement. The rider leans forwards to accelerate to speeds of 25mph and back to slow down. It has two wheels side-by-side and has been turning heads wherever it has been ridden.

Ben Gulak designed the Uno himself with the help of a simple 3D program The green machine is so small and light it can be taken indoors and carried into lifts – and is recharged by being plugged into the mains. The wheels are completely independent, allowing the bike to turn on a sixpence and the technology takes the balance and guesswork out of riding a unicycle.

Its 18-year-old creator is now looking for investors to get the Uno into production and onto the streets. Ben, from Ontario , Canada , said: ‘I was inspired to make the bike after visiting China a few years ago and seeing all the smog. ‘They all drive little bikes that are really polluting and I wanted to make something to combat that. ‘I started with the concept because if something doesn’t look cool people just won’t be interested.

The Uno works like a Segway – just tilt your body forward to start moving

Ben Gulak turns heads from onlookers as he rides past them ‘After coming up with the concept I started to build it and now have the first prototype and the reaction has been amazing.’ It has two wheels side by side and that means it is easier to turn as they are completely independent and have their own suspension.

The bike has a ‘neutral point’ and when you lean forward it accelerates to keep the neutral point in the right place. ‘It has a couple of gyros and is basically self-balancing – it takes the guesswork out of riding a unicycle. ‘The bike takes a bit of getting used to because you have to learn to trust it. But it doesn’t take long.

‘It takes any weight and weighs 120 lbs and can fit into a lift so you can take it indoors to charge it up.’ Currently it has a top speed of 25mph, but that will be increased greatly with bigger motors.

‘It has a range of about 2.5 hours and it is designed for the commute to work through busy towns. I believe this could be electrical alternative to the car. I’m just looking for an investor to help me get it into production.’

From via Susan Douglas.

February 26, 2009 at 3:02 pm Leave a comment

FUEL: Film—SMS Screening Feb 2009

 South Maui Sustainability hosted a screening of FUEL on February 27th 2009. An insightful portrait of America’s addiction to oil and an uplifting testament to the immediacy of new energy solutions. Director, Josh Tickell, a young activist, shuttles us on a whirlwind journey to track the rising domination of the petrochemical industry—from Rockefeller’s strategy to halt Ford’s first ethanol cars to Vice President Cheney’s petrochemical company sponsored energy legislation — and reveals a gamut of available solutions to “repower America” —from vertical farms that occupy skyscrapers to algae facilities that turn wastewater into fuel. Tickell and a surprising array of environmentalists, policy makers, and entertainment notables take us through America’s complicated, often ignominious energy past and illuminate a hopeful, achievable future, where decentralized, sustainable living is not only possible, it’s imperative.

The cast includes: Barbara Boxer, Richard Branson, Sheryl Crow, Laurie David, Larry David, James Gennaro, John Paul DeJoria, Larry Hagman, Woody Harrelson, Jay Inslee, Jack Johnson, Robert Kennedy Jr, Bud Mcfarlane, Willy Nelson, Julia Roberts, Josh Tickell, Neil Young, Smudo and Jim Woolsey.

The film won the following awards:
• Sundance Film Festival: Audience Award for Best Documentary
• Sedona Film Festival: Best Screenwriting
• Sedona Film Festival: Most Compelling Documentary
• AFI Dallas Film Festival: Current Energy Environmental Award
• GAIA Film Festival: Audience Award for Best Documentary
• Santa Cruz Film Festival: Producer’s Award
• IVCA Clarion Award: for Corporate Social Responsibility
• Cinema for Peace Award: Berlin Film Festival

Not yet in release or available on Netflix.

*Kihei Charter School location:
300 Ohukai Rd # 213
Directions: Coming from south Kihei, take the Pi’ilani Hwy toward the Mokulele. Turn right (mauka) onto Ohukai Road. Take your second right. Go straight to the very end and turn left around the building. Turn left into the next bay. KCS is located on the right. Coming from north of Kihei, turn left (mauka) onto Ohukai Road and follow the directions as above from Ohukai Road. Look for the blue and yellow signs.

Click map to enlarge.

February 22, 2009 at 1:13 am Leave a comment

Nuclear Radiation: Do We Know the Truth?

 Interesting article about nuclear power, which will no doubt be part of that debate, if not the necessarily the final solution in how we want to spend our money when it comes to a new energy infrastructure.
– care2

February 18, 2009 at 2:08 pm Leave a comment

Next SMS Meeting: March 12 – Malama Aina: Connecting Traditional Hawaiian Practices with the Vision for a Sustainable South Maui

Location: Kihei Charter School*
7 p.m. – Light pupus
7:15‐9 p.m. – Speakers and discussion

Daniel Kanahele will be introducing the evening’s program and our speakers. He lives on Oahu and Maui and has gotten very involved with issues on Maui including preservation of sacred lands and more respectful development. He is a respected speaker and has written and offered most powerful and moving testimony at many hearings and committee meetings.

Alex Bode is a long time Kihei resident. With a PhD in Common Sense, he is using farming and traditional practices to teach life’s lessons. He is currently Project Director of Waikikena which is a 150 acre farm and cultural center in Haiku that serves as a substance abuse prevention center. Waikikena means a place to regain strength and a place to rest. Alex hopes to create a nonprofit organization of this project. Alex says he doesn’t feel right if he doesn’t get his hands in the dirt every day.

Lucienne de Naie lives on a small farm in East Maui. She is a frequent presenter on historical and water issues and has written a book on the history of Makena. Lucienne is constantly of service to the community and some citizen’s committees she is currently involved with include General Plan Advisory Committee, Focus Maui Nui Advisory Committee, Sustainable Living Institute of Maui and she is serving as the Chair of the Hawaii Chapter of the Sierra Club.

Kalani Au was raised on Oahu and had early mentors to learn traditional Hawaiian knowledge. He has degrees from UH Manoa in Hawaiian Studies and History and a Master’s Degree in Education. Kalani has taught social studies, Hawaiian Language and hula for 8 years at Lokelani Intermediate School.

Iokepa Meno currently works as a Reserve Ranger at Ahihi-Kinau Natural Area Reserve in Honuaula. He is also a Teacher of Hawaiian Culture through private tutoring, and is a certified substitute teacher with the Hawaii Department of Education. He holds degrees from UH Manoa in Marine Science Education, MCC and certificate in Experiential Marine Science Education from UH Manoa’s Marine Option Program. He is also completing a program to earn a Masters in Arts in Teaching in Middle School Science. He was born and raised in Upcountry Maui on a 2 acre farm and can Olelo Hawaii.

*Kihei Charter School location:
300 Ohukai Rd # 213
Directions: Coming from south Kihei, take the Pi’ilani Hwy toward the Mokulele. Turn right (mauka) onto Ohukai Road. Take your second right. Go straight to the very end and turn left around the building. Turn left into the next bay. KCS is located on the right. Coming from north of Kihei, turn left (mauka) onto Ohukai Road and follow the directions as above from Ohukai Road. Look for the blue and yellow signs.

Click map to enlarge.

February 18, 2009 at 1:23 pm 3 comments

Defining Sustainability-From Ray Anderson’s Interface Inc.

Sustainability can be many different things – a motto, an ideal, a way to do business, a way to live your life or a call to action. The term “sustainability” is often misunderstood and misused, and not everyone agrees on its definition. In 1997, there were an estimated 350-plus definitions of “sustainability” and “sustainable development.”

Generally, however, there is a commonly understood idea of sustainability – that is, the capacity for continuance into the long term. This concept surfaces throughout history, reflected, for example, in the “seventh generation” philosophy of the Native American Iroquois Confederacy, which mandated that tribal chiefs always consider the effects of their actions on descendants seven generations in the future.

The most popular recent definition of sustainability can be traced to a 1987 United Nations Conference and states that sustainability in the context of development is: “Development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” (Report of the Brundtland Commission, “Our Common Future,” 1987)

Forum For the Future recently defined sustainable development as ”a dynamic process which enables all people to realize their potential and improve their quality of life in ways that simultaneously protect and enhance the Earth’s life support systems.”

Interface Vision
To be the first company that, by its deeds, shows the entire industrial world what sustainability is in all its dimensions: People, process, product, place and profits — by 2020 — and in doing so we will become restorative through the power of influence.

Interface Mission
Interface will become the first name in commercial and institutional interiors worldwide through its commitment to people, process, product, place and profits. We will strive to create an organization wherein all people are accorded unconditional respect and dignity; one that allows each person to continuously learn and develop. We will focus on product (which includes service) through constant emphasis on process quality and engineering, which we will combine with careful attention to our customers’ needs so as always to deliver superior value to our customers, thereby maximizing all stakeholders’ satisfaction. We will honor the places where we do business by endeavoring to become the first name in industrial ecology, a corporation that cherishes nature and restores the environment. Interface will lead by example and validate by results, including profits, leaving the world a better place than when we began, and we will be restorative through the power of our influence in the world.

Visit the Interface website.

February 15, 2009 at 10:49 pm Leave a comment

“Let’s build Sustainable Ecosocial Communities”—Meeting in Haiku

Sunday, February 15
6:00 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Temple of Peace , 575 Haiku Road , Haiku

(Just below Haiku Post Office on the right hand side before the road forks.)

An oportunity to participate in drafting and learning a presentation on Sustainable Ecosocial Communities to stand up and deliver to various community groups and county departments.

First is a film on Cohousing—about affordable housing with complete streets, sidewalks, bike paths, trees and cross walks. Learn to save on gas, food, child care, pet care, and travel time costs. Learn to meet your housing, living, education, exercise, relaxation, and gathering place with locally made materials and resources and cooperative agreements.

Complete communities for families and pets in a comfortable walking distance with local community feeling, public transportation, bike and pedestrian safety.

Community centers and stores, garden and micro-farming areas, churches, dog parks, restaurants and cafes, and shopping in walking distance.

Solar energy, wind power, and other green features. Sustainable democratic green schools for tourists and residents to learn at and take back to their communities and share with others.

An opportunity to share what you want to be included in this gift-driven process. Your gift of knowledge, your specialty in construction, design, imagination, green career, cooperatives, conflict resolution and nonviolent communication, senior and child care will all be a part of creating a Powerpoint presentation to present to the county government and other potential supportive groups. A chance also to help create a new land zoning category to address these issues as so many other communities have done!!

Click here to sign up.
– Call David Johnston @ 808-573-3250

February 13, 2009 at 3:54 am Leave a comment

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February 2009