Aloha friends,

As the lava flow approaches Pahoa Town and neighboring subdivisions and threatens to cut off Hwy 130 and other access  roads to lower Puna HSCA has been helping to organize our community response.

Over the last five weeks HSCA has hosted four meetings focused on creating a sustainability plan for the residents living in the triangle between Kapoho, Kalapana and Leilani.

Our first meeting was very well-attended, with over 50 participants representing over twenty different community groups, organizations, and communities. There were also several political leaders present including Senator Russell Ruderman and former Hawaii County Mayor, Harry Kim.

Subsequent meetings have been focused and very productive with 10 new HSCA board members appointed, 11 committees established and reports from committee members detailing research and progress they are making to contribute to our mission to establish a collaborative community plan to address lifestyle changes and possibilities due to lava inundation.

A major concern is to ensure that local community leaders in lower Puna can collaborate to maximize (and share) resources, while reducing duplication of effort.

Our website will now be regularly posting minutes from our meetings in order to keep our members updated on our progress on the Lava Zone page.

We invite everyone who can contribute to the development of our new community plan to attend a meeting or to contact us by phone or e-mail.

In the spirit of sustainability and aloha,

Graham Ellis
HSCA President

Latest News on SB2274 – R.I.P.   (until next legislative season) 

Bill SB2274 Relating to Sustainable Living

This is our effort to provide a legal foundation for sustainable living communities to become a permitted activity, supported by state and county agencies. Bill SB2274 will enable innovators and sustainable pioneers to practice and test ways of living that are ecological and sustainable. It complements but does not replace existing zoning codes.

This bill allows for ecovillage-type communities, building affordably and sustainably, provide alternative energy on a small scale, conserve and harvest fresh water, conserve and improve topsoil without expensive or toxic inputs, increase local food production and quality, provide onsite waste treatment and recycling, and many other developing techniques for sustainable living!

In a travesty of democracy, Senator Malama Solomon (as Chairperson of the Senate Conference Committee) refused to grant SB2274 a hearing by the deadline on Friday April 25th.  Tragically, our bill was killed after passing through all six Senate and House committees with overwhelming supportive testimony. The purpose of the conference committee is only to resolve which amendments are adopted, and ours were simple.

It should be a formality to give all successful bills a hearing but it isn’t. In Hawaii, the conference committee chairperson gets to decide which bills go forward. All those meetings, phone calls, testimony, discussion, and votes were dismissed at the whim of one person who is given the power of life or death over well-reviewed and well-supported new legislation. This is not democracy. It actually creates a serious and unnecessary time lapse, separating the democratically expressed needs of citizens and the passage of legislation that addresses these needs. When new legislation has been subjected to extensive public and agency review and passed through all Senate and House committees we believe it is too important to be killed by the whim of one person.

We fully intend to resubmit our bill next year, which will include amendments that were proposed this year. We will personally address the concerns that three agencies expressed in their comment letters and will meet with the Hawaii Planning Department to find out why they chose to oppose our bill at the 11th hour, knowing that the Hawaii County Council fully support it.

We will also be turning our attention back to the Alternative Building Code issue that was also supported by a resolution passed by the Hawaii County Council and now needs to be adopted by Mayor Kenoi’s administration.

Through participation in the legislative process, we have learned how it lags behind changing needs of society and relies upon the public to lead the way in requesting new laws. We therefore urge all of our members to continue their work on the research and development of sustainable living innovations in the faith that legalization will happen and in the knowledge that historically all significant changes in society have come through direct action.

We can all gain strength through visiting and networking with other sustainable projects and people throughout the islands.

Mahalo to everyone for helping with this initiative! Please stay continue to visit our website and remember that we are open to offers of support of any kind and always welcome new Board members.

Sustainably yours,

Graham (HSCA President)

Other News:


SB2274 Feature Story in the Big Island Weekly

Feature Story in the Big Island Weekly

b) Honolulu Civil Beat story on HSCA & SB2274!

c) Graham Ellis President of HSCA Radio Interview

ii) Hawaii Sustainable Community Visits

For those of you who live on or are planning to visit Hawaii island we welcome you to contact one of the sustainable communities below for a tour so that you can see real life examples of what we mean by ‘sustainable community’!

State Bill 2274 Summary

“Today’s climate changes are warning bells signaling the necessity for preparedness now … The Hawaiian Islands are a learning laboratory for scalable, innovative mitigation, adaptation policies and techniques, and providing a model on local and regional collaboration.”– Gov. Neil Abercrombie, 2014 State of the State Address

SB2274, “Relating to Sustainable Living,” can be viewed online.

Our bill states, “The long term goal of these sites is to further emergency preparedness development and to implement the Hawaii 2050 Sustainability Plan.”

As Act 8, the Hawaii 2050 Sustainability Plan became law in 2005 “to ensure the development of innovative, responsible, and sustainable practices that are vital to Hawaii’s future.”  State Bill 2274 will add Sustainable Living Research sites as a permitted use on agricultural and rural land by amending HRS Section 205-2. It will only apply to Maui and Hawaii Counties.

Making Hawaii Sustainable

  • Our vision is to be part of the effort to create a healthy, ecological, peaceful and economically stable world. We work toward that vision on a local level by taking action to promote, support and advocate for land based sustainable community living in Hawaii.
  • We were inspired by the eco-activists who are trying to legalize sustainable buildings, communities and living in other parts of America and the world. In turn, we hope the passing of this legislation will be inspirational and used as a precedent for others who are trying to achieve the same goals elsewhere on the planet.
  • We facilitate networking, communication, information sharing and education among those interested in the vision and goals of sustainable living in Hawaii.
  • Our methodology is to work closely and cooperatively with each other and with local, state and federal government to resolve issues, and to advocate for new and/or amended laws and codes.
  • We specifically support and encourage the State of Hawaii’s goal of self-reliance and sustainability. This lifestyle of working together, pooling resources and thereby consuming less is essential to the success of our state becoming more self-reliant on all levels.

A Solution to Global Challenges Now

Sustainable living is vital to solving life-threatening conditions facing the globe right now. We are faced with resource degradation, the breakdown of Earth’s ecological systems, the possibility of climate changes, and social issues such as crime, health and economic crises. Recent scientific and media reports regarding current economic, environmental and social conditions in Hawaii and worldwide show an immediate need to take clear and decisive action on these issues. We believe that time is of the essence, and that this lifestyle is one part of the solution.

The Sustainable Living Research Bill will:

  1. Improve our state disaster preparedness by researching and developing practices to alleviate impacts due to a state of emergency
  2. Increase real ‘affordable’ and sustainable green housing
  3. Increase employment in small business sustainable enterprises
  4. Promote the growth of small locally-owned farms that educate and employ a new breed of young farmers
  5. Provide additional protection for consumers from the disruptions in transport of supplies to Hawaii islands
  6. Reduce dependence on imports of food and energy by promoting locally sustainable alternatives
  7. Alleviate landfill problems by increasing ways to reduce, reuse, and recycle
  8. Promote the development of think tanks focusing on sustainable research and development
  9. Bring current zoning and land use codes into compliance with local community values

We Invite Your Participation!

If you would like to get involved, we would welcome your help!
  1. Sign up more members to HSCA. Tell your friends about this site and the work we are doing. The more support we can show, the better. When time comes to send in testimony and speak with Council members we will let you know more details.
  2. Please view our Channel on Youtube. 
  3. Please sign up for our Newsletter and subscribe to our posts, or just check back here for more resources and updates.
  4. If you live in the state of Hawaii in some sort of community or plan to start one we welcome you to complete the HSCA 2014 Intentional Community Survey. This survey will help us to understand the needs of those who wish to live in a community setting in Hawaii.
  5. You can help us out by signing up as a member, (see sidebar) so we can show that many people support ideas such as sustainable building techniques, building your own home from recycled and local materials, composting toilets and living in community on land.
  6. Donations of any size are also very helpful!  Just click on the Donate button to use Paypal.