Hawaii, which gained its statehood in 1959 and is also known as the “Aloha State”, is a state both rich in tradition and revolutionary when it comes to dealing with modern issues. The following are the most shared stories to come out of Hawaii in 2015. After reading them, you will see a common pattern. Each story showcases the fact that the people of Hawaii care deeply about their picturesque environment and the rights of all that live therein.
First up on our list is the story out of Hawaii about a ban regarding using animals for the purpose of entertainment. Hawaii led the nation in with this action and became the first state to ban the use of wild animals in performances. The Hawaii Department of Agriculture unanimously voted in favor of a ruling that will now prohibit the import of exotic wild animals, such as big cats, elephants, and bears, for the expressed purpose of “exhibition performance.” Animal activists who have been working to get this ban in place are of course overjoyed with the ruling. Senior director of Hawaii’s Human Society Inga Dibson says, “ We’re hoping of course that Hawaii will set an example to other states to take the next step.” The ruling does make a special provision for government zoos and for commercial use of wild animals in the filming of movies or television shows. However, as far as animal activists are concerned, the ruling is a big step in the right direction towards the betterment of wild animals’ lives.
In July of 2015, it became apparent to that the bottle nose dolphins and humpback whales that reside off the coast of Hawaii have a special bond not before seen. While it is common knowledge that dolphins and whales are both incredibly intelligent, playful creatures, their desire to interact with each other in this particular way is new. This unique interaction was discovered by Marine Biologist Lori Mazzuca who photographed a dolphin and a whale seemingly playing with each other. The dolphin actually appeared to be hitching a ride atop the whale’s back. The dolphin, which of course is a powerful swimmer itself, would propel itself on top of the whale and ride along for a while, until it slid off the whale’s back. Then, the dolphin would swim alongside the whale and maneuver itself back on the whale’s back. According to expert Ken Ramirez, who is the vice president of animal care and training at Chicago’s Shedd Aquarium, the two creatures were simply playing as there didn’t seem to be any aggression present during the event. The American Natural History Museum put together an educational video that showcases the interaction between these lovable creatures. This unusual interaction is an example of an interspecies relationship, which is an aspect of animal nature that has not been studied in great detail at the present time.
What is one to do with 70 retired city transportation buses? Well, Group 70 International, which is an architecture firm with a vision to give back, had the perfect idea. Their plan is to turn each bus into a homeless shelter on wheels. Some buses will be turned into living spaces, others will become much needed showers and still others will be transformed into recreation rooms. When completed, the buses will work as a mobile fleet of sorts with the purpose of creating a better existence for Hawaii’s homeless population. Volunteers will work to remove the existing interior and renovate the buses, using only donated material. This is all made possible thanks to the help of LIFT, which is the volunteer organization helping to execute the project. This project itself is another example of the heart of the Hawaiian people and their desire to take care of those less fortunate.
Hawaii made history when its governor David Ige shared his visionary goals regarding renewable energy. He recently announced he no longer wants to utilize petroleum to fuel electricity plants. His goal is to transition to 100% renewables by the year 2045. His ambitious and somewhat decisive vision is to transform Hawaii into the world’s most impressive laboratory when it comes to humankind’s fight against the climate change. On June 8, Ige’s put his beliefs into practice when he signed into a bill into law that requires all of Hawaii’s electricity to be derived from renewable in 30 years time. Ige’s law is the most ambitious clean-energy program in the United States at the present time.
Finally, we come to the most shared story of 2015. This story tells about Hawaii’s historic ban on plastic bags. In July, the City and County of Honolulu in Oahu, which is Hawaii’s most populated island, banned the use of plastic bags. Oahu was the last of the Hawaiian cities and counties to make the ruling, meaning now all of Hawaii have given plastic bags the boot. There are some exceptions to the rule, such as compostable bags and those used for sanitary and medical purposes. Hawaii holds the distinction of being the first state to fully ban the use of plastic bags within grocery stores. This is an important move by Hawaii, as plastic isn’t biodegradable. Consequently, the move away from plastic bags will have a large impact on plastic pollution. Surfrider Foundation, which is an environmental advocacy group, says the following about the ban, “It is a great example of local activist and decision makers addressing the serious issue of plastic pollution.”
The stories listed above are the most shared stories from Hawaii in 2015. Each of them showcases the heart and character of the Hawaiian people, as they all communicate the betterment of not only the environment but of all living beings.