Category Archives: Community Networking

Sharing community resources, groups & events related to sustainability in Hawaii.

Geothermal discussions in Puna

“I will admit that I support low scale geothermal. We still import most
of our fuel so any locally sourced energy has it’s advantages.” -M
response: You haven’t been there very long (you came in after all the worst of the previous round of development). You might want to talk with your long-time local neighbors about what they’ve been through with 20+ years of (publicly subsidized) geothermal development.

“Let us study Iceland to see how they do it!” – M

If we *truly* look at Iceland (and New Zealand and others doing geothermal) we will see that we have a completely different geological context from them. Geothermal development proponents will keep saying that because geothermal is working out OK in these other places, that it can be the same here.

Fact is, geothermal elsewhere in the world (New Zealand, Iceland, California, etc.) is not like here.

We are drilling into an active rift zone on an active (and young) volcano. Although both NZ and Iceland also have active volcanoes in some areas, they are not stupid enough to locate their geothermal development in their most highly active, unstable and dangerous areas.

I don’t know if we have any areas that are as geologically/geothermally stable as the areas used for geothermal development in those other places. The east rift of Kilauea is probably not such a place.

So any comparisons with geothermal development elsewhere are bogus at the level of the geology and types of geothermal sources/activity involved. It is not the same here as there. I expect we could find some geothermal-savvy geologists who would testify to that?

This kind of approach is important because it is scientifically grounded, and raises issues of both public safety *and* investor risk (people don’t want to invest in risky things – the riskier this is shown to be, the harder it will be to get investors).
Remember that Harry Kim (as head of Civil Defense) opposed the spaceport proposal for K’au on purely civil defense/safety grounds.

As to location, this is a business investment intended to make people money. So there will be no geothermal infrastructure built in lava zones 1 or 2, the areas most likely to be wiped out by ongoing or new flows and where insurance may not even be available (e.g. lose money, not make money). It’s got to be zone 3 or safer (and as above, the more risky it can be shown to be in all ways, the less willing investors).

Reducing the money willing to flow to this project may be one of the more effective potential strategies.

cheers,
John S.

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Kailua Attorney Builds Shelters For The Homeless

HONOLULU – Tony Locricchio saw the growing homeless population living in tents on sidewalks and said we must find places for them to live with dignity.
With his own money, and on his property in Kailua, he has constructed demo buildings to show what can built with a little money and a lot of imagination.

He calls it deconstruction reconstruction. Locricchio’s yard is full of used construction material. Next to his home he has built three one-room homes, cobbled together shelters that he says could be moved to state land.

Read more: http://www.kitv.com/Kailua-Attorney-Builds-Shelters-For-The-Homeless/-/8906042/9659642/-/11y7sxrz/-/index.html#ixzz1yluJRuds

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YouTube video on Sustainable Communities

Aloha,
l just watched this very comprehensive YouTube video on Sustainable Communities presented by Dr. Kelly Cain to the Saulk County, Wisconsin,  Comprehensive Plan Steering group. It has lots of very valuable data that would benefit our cause as well as all Hawaii County sustainability initiatives.
<http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=of1ThHkhx74>

aloha
Graham

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Natural Building Network

Natural Building Network http://nbnetwork.org/  is a not-for-profit membership association promoting natural building principles, materials and practitioners worldwide. We support ecological regeneration, social justice, the building of community and economic opportunity, and the recognition of indigenous wisdom as essential in creating healthy, beautiful, and spiritually-uplifting habitation for everyone.

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Sustainable Economies Law Center

We are especially interested to learn about legal and financial models for community acquisition, ownership, tenancy, etc. Zoning for eco-villages is also something we’d love to see more of.  I definitely know of communities in northern california that are running up against the same barriers I imagine that you’ve encountered.
Orsi, Co-Director
Sustainable Economies Law Center
<http://www.TheSELC.org>www.TheSELC.org
436 14th Street, Suite 1120
Oakland, CA 94612
510-649-9956

Janelle Orsi, Co-DirectorSustainable Economies Law Center<http://www.TheSELC.org>www.TheSELC.org436 14th Street, Suite 1120Oakland, CA 94612510-649-9956

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support from the Hawaiian Acres Community Association

June 13th, 2011

Hawaiian Acres Community Association

PO Box 368

Kurtistown, HI 96760

info@hawaiianacres.org

Hawaii Sustainable Community Alliance

13 June 2011

Re: Hawaii County Sustainable Rural Habitat Ordinance

Aloha,

On behalf of the Hawaiian Acres Community Association (HACA)board, I am writing

this letter to voice our support for the concept of an ordinance to address limiteddensity

owner-built rural dwelling and associated structures.

We’ve had some discussions at our meetings on the topic of the Universal Building

Code and believe that there are many provisions in it that are not compatible with

the rural life style so many of us enjoy here in the Hawaiian Acres Subdivision.

One of your board members, James Weatherford, in his letter dated31 May 2011, to

the Puna Community Development Action Committee requesting their support for

the Hawaii County Sustainable Rural Habitat Ordinance stated, ”The proposed

change in policy is first and foremost about sustainable quality of life, permitting

rural habitat with a lower ecological footprint, through use of local, recycled, and

unconventional materials and building methods.” These are ideas that the HACA

board can endorse because they are consistent with how many of our residents are

currently living.

Thank you for taking the initiative to draft the Rural Habitat Ordinance.

Respectfully,

Di~

President, HACA

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Support from Puna Community Development Plan Action Committee

The Puna Community Development Plan Action Committee (PACDP AC) supports the rural limited-density, owner-built-dwelling initiative of the Hawaii Sustainable Community Alliance. This initiative is in accord with the PCDP.

In particular, the PCDP AC recognizes the needs and opportunities for a Hawaii County Sustainable Habitat policy as outlined in the HSCA’s proposed Sustainable Habitat Resolution.

Furthermore, the PCDP AC supports the purpose and intent of an ordinance proposed by HSCA, to:

  1. Provide minimum requirements for the protection of life, limb, health, property, safety, and welfare of the general public and the owners and occupants of limited density rural dwellings and appurtenant structures;
  2. Permit the use of the ingenuity and preferences of individual builders of dwellings on agricultural parcels in rural areas of Hawaii County for occupancy by the builder; and
  3. Allow the use of substitute materials and procedures and alternatives to the specifications prescribed by the uniform technical codes to the extent that a reasonable degree of health and safety is provided by such substitutes and alternatives.
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Article in Hilo Paper June 14

Tuesday, June 14 8:03 pm

The public is invited to the Hawaii Sustainable Community Alliance (HSCA) meeting from 3 to 5 p.m. on Friday. Focus will be on the proposed county Sustainable Rural Habitat Ordinance.

The nonprofit group is drafting a proposal to amend the Building Code to allow “more eco-friendly communities and buildings.”

“In Hawaii and around the world, growing numbers of people are co-creating and living a life of intentional community and/or heading back to the land. By working together, pooling resources, consuming less, and designing eco-friendly living paradigms, such folk are essentially already in line with Hawaii state’s goals of becoming more self-reliant and sustainable by the year 2050,” said spokesman Graham Ellis.

“Yet, unlike in Mendocino and other counties where a variety of Class K/Type 2 rural alternative dwellings are on the books as safe, affordable, in-the-sticks housing, here in Hawaii thousands of people are living off the books in unpermitted structures because our building code doesn’t align with an affordable way to create housing for those invested in community/public service along with home business/cottage industry-type work, rather than in traditional well-paying 9-5 jobs, which here on the Big Island are quite scarce,” said Ellis.

“… HSCA is currently working closely with local, state and federal government for housing laws and codes to become more environmentally/financially sustainable both for our local community and for the planet as a whole,” said Ellis. “At present, the laws and zoning codes in Hawaii are quite unfriendly to eco-housing and community living. Overly protective standards in building codes and designs based on mainland cold weather building codes are not affordable, sustainable, or desirable here.”

HSCA supports “affordable, owner-built, low-impact housing on ag land suitable for this island’s varied tropical locations/lifestyles, and based on practical/aesthetic/eco-friendly designs which could potentially utilize local materials if the owner-builder desires — ie, why not make use of invasive hardwoods rather than adding them to the landfill?”

Dwellings inspected and found to be healthy and safe would be recorded as “Rural Sustainable Structures” rather than “unpermitted.”

Visit www.hawaiisustainablecommunity.org. For directions to Friday’s meeting, please call 982-6755.

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HOW CAN YOU HELP the HSCA?

We can really use your help in making Hawaii more sustainable! If you have some time to get involved, we welcome you warmly to join us!  We are currently looking for people to help with:

* Donations- Tell your friends, do a fundraiser!  We can use help with supplies, advertising, and the expenses involved in lobbying. You can write us a check or send it by Paypal.

* Personal stories- how have you used sustainable practices?  Have you run into any problems with the laws while doing so?  Please write up your story for us.  You can leave off your name if you feel more comfortable.

* Demonstration models for alternative housing- Did you build one?  We would like to be able to show the lawmakers that alternatives can be safe and healthy.

* Advisory Board Members:

We need technical advisors like architects, legal counsel, licensed contractors and trade professionals like electricians, plumbers, alternative building supplies providers, people living in land based community, owners of organic farms, habitat for humanity employees, low income housing employees, recycling center employees, permaculture design people

* Specifically we would like to have:

A local Building Materials subcommittee to study what’s available

Advisory Building Safety subcommittee, including architects, realtors, contractors, suppliers

Public relations subcommittee

Legal Advisors Subcommittee

Lobbyists

Fundraisers

* More Board Members for our organization.

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County Report on community asset building

Government report on community asset building

11/28
from John Schinnerer:
In this report on community asset building, from an ongoing project to address poverty, quality of life etc. on the island, there are countless comments from participants about problems with zoning and building codes making it impossible for people/families to live affordably, and making it difficult to have or maintain the kinds of communities that may still exist now or existed previously.
http://www.hawaiicountyrandd.net/hcrc/island-initiatives/hoowaiwai/Ohana%20Dialogue%20Draft%20Report.pdf/view
See also the other reports, and toolkit for “discovering community power”:
http://www.hawaiicountyrandd.net/hcrc/island-initiatives/hoowaiwai
All these people are potential HSCA allies. In basic terms of zoning and building they want significant change ASAP.
aloha,
John Schinnerer – M.A., Whole Systems Design
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