Thank you to everyone who posted or sent in photos for our #MauiEarthMonth2020 experiment while in lockdown! Well, it's now May, we're still doing social distancing, AND we have a LOT MORE gift cards to give away, so we're extending our "Earth Month" activities through the summer. We'll give you a $25 gift card to one of several essential businesses that are still open (CJ's Deli & Diner, Sea House at Napili Kai, Down the Hatch, Maui Diving Scuba & Snorkel Center, West Maui Sports & Fishing Supply, Maui Sporting Goods, New Maui Fishing Supply, and Ace Hardware Lahaina) - all you (Maui residents) have to do is send us (and preferably post on your own social media, too) a photo of you and/or your family doing one of the ocean-friendly activities, below.
You may not be driving your car much at the moment, but perhaps it could use a wash. And if you have kids, perhaps you need an activity to get them out of your face...we mean, give them a chance to get some fresh air outdoors while still on your property. Car-washing is one of the activities that can contribute to pollutants reaching the ocean via storm drains. Not just the soap you use, but all the stuff like oil and grease and toxic heavy metal particles gets washed off and can then end up in the nearest waterway. However, there are a few things you can do to make your car-washing efforts more ocean-friendly. So our next post in our “quarantine-friendly” #MauiEarthMonth2020 series is focused on a few tips for ocean-friendly car washing.
The best thing to do is take your car to a commercial car wash, since they use less water and the water is recycled and treated, meaning it doesn’t get into the nearby storm drain. While we’re all under stay at home orders at the moment though, you’re left with washing it at home.
Tip #1. Wash it on your lawn. Biological action will help deal with the pollutants rather than sending them directly into a storm drain via the wash water. But once you're done, dump your bucket of excess wash water down the sink or into a toilet anyway.
Tip #2. Use a nozzle. This will conserve water, which is always a good thing.
Tip #3. Use a nontoxic biodegradable cleanser. We have used Shaklee’s Basic H and it has worked well. It's super concentrated so one bottle will go a long way. However, you won’t see a lot of suds which is FINE. Let Tova tell you why in this video from our first-ever ocean-friendly charity car wash, starting at 2:25.
BONUS! Maui residents: post on social media using #MauiEarthMonth2020 and email us a screenshot of your social media post of your kids or yourself washing your car the ocean-friendly way and we’ll send you a gift card to one of Maui’s essential businesses (while supplies last), and will share your photo on our website and social media. Please include the address where we should send the gift card.
Got kids to homeschool? Here’s some content AND a challenge to make and share an environmental message on social media
To kick off a series of quarantine-friendly Earth month activities, we’re starting with an activity for K-12 students who are currently being homeschooled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
This page has a rundown of resources you can explore with your kids, related to our goal of promoting community action to reduce the land-based pollution that harms our coral reefs. The larger message we’d like to share is that everyone can play a role in protecting our oceans and reefs – there are many actions you can take that will make a difference.
For Earth Month, we’re holding a social media messaging challenge, and for the first bunch of Maui-based K-12 students and families who participate, we will be giving away quite a few $25 gift certificates to several Maui restaurants that are still open and providing take out service (CJs Deli & Diner, Sea House, and Down the Hatch). We also have many gift certificates to dive and sporting goods shops to help families purchase gear for exercising and fishing purposes, and to Ace Hardware in Lahaina to support yard and garden care. To enter, all you have to do is post a photo of your creation (details below), share it on your preferred social media account(s) using hashtag #MauiEarthMonth2020, and drop us a line (email WestMauiKumuwai@gmail.com) with a screenshot along with your name and address so we can either mail you a gift certificate or put your name down on a list at the place where you can use it. This will be done on a first-come first-serve basis once we receive your email (one entry per household please), as supplies will be limited. Check out the other posts in our series for additional ways to "win" a gift card.
How to participate:
Choose one of the ocean-friendly behaviors from the list below, and use your forces of creativity to make a PSA (“Public Service Announcement”) of your own, in any form you like. It could be a simple drawing, a poster, a video, a story with a moral at the end, a fact sheet, a diorama…whatever! Just make it and share it. All we ask is that it has a “take action” component and highlights one specific thing that someone could do – see the examples below. Spend some time learning about the issue before you make your PSA.
Want some inspiration from the Division of Aquatic Resources? Check out these PSAs here or for a more recent and relevant topic, check out this very official one on hand-washing from the CDC, or this much sillier one from the Hawaii Department of Health.
Ocean-Friendly Actions for Earth Month PSA Creation Activity:
Choose one of the following actions people can take to protect our oceans and reefs, and create a message encouraging people to do it. How and why should they take action?
To explore these issues, you can start here on West Maui Kumuwai’s “what you can do” page , and also visit these sites:
Let’s face it. This really sucks. It’s traumatic. We can all agree on that. “Normal” is out the window, and we don’t know when we’ll be able to resume whatever will be left of the “normal” we once knew. Hopefully we can make some improvements to the systems that are failing us and create a new, better “normal.” But in the meantime, we’re stuck with whatever this “normal” is, which obviously varies depending on our individual situations. Everyone is being challenged differently, everyone is coping in different ways. Amidst all this, so many people on Maui are stepping up to help others while adhering to the social distancing requirements. That needs to remain our top priority.
Recognizing that things are operating differently right now, we at West Maui Kumuwai wanted to assess the situation, to determine what is and is not appropriate for us to be doing at the moment. Seriously, who is *really* thinking about stormwater runoff and land-based pollution right now?
Exactly. And that’s fine.
However, we know that so many people do care about our environment, and it is Earth Month. So, how can we build some ocean-friendly activities into our current reality, in an unobtrusive way that respects everyone’s priorities and circumstances?
We did some “research” of sorts. We looked around, and we noted what people are doing, how they’re doing things differently, and how they’re doing new things. We came up with some ideas we’ll be sharing in more detail through a series of posts on our website throughout the month.
Here’s a rundown, based on the new reality in which we find ourselves, of activities you may already be doing, that can be made more ocean-friendly with minimal effort:
Finally, one thing we will be doing that we wanted to share up front is giving back to the essential businesses that have supported us through the years. Instead of asking local businesses for prize donations this year, we’ll be using the funds that would have supported our public events to purchase gift certificates from places that are still operating at the moment, particularly West Maui restaurants. For starters, we’ll be giving these out as part of an Earth Month activity for kids being homeschooled. Read about how you can participate here; check out all the other posts too to see how you can participate in other #MauiEarthMonth2020 activities and receive a gift card.
Over the weekend, we partnered with Lahainaluna High School and the Old Lahaina Luau to hold the first-ever ocean-friendly car wash in Hawai'i! Washing cars causes a variety of pollutants (including oils and heavy metals like lead and arsenic, not to mention the cleaning products) to wash off and get into storm drains, where they ultimately end up in the ocean and can harm the environment. We tested out a model used elsewhere in the US to suck up and redirect the wash water to vegetated areas (or inputs to the sanitary sewer), and NOT into storm drains. Mahalo to a great crew from Lahainaluna High School for all the hard work, and to the Old Lahaina Luau for hosting us! We'd also like to thank the project's sponsors, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, US Fish & Wildlife Service, and the Hawai'i Department of Natural Resources, Division of Aquatic Resources!
Check out this album of photos, and to see some videos from the event, including a how-to guide, here's a YouTube playlist. For tips on washing your car the ocean friendly way, please visit our website.
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