YERTpod24: Non-Invasive Ways to do Holidays in Hawaii

Dear YERTians,

(Hang with YERT in Washington D.C. on Sunday night at 7PM! Get details to this event, including the full street address, here.)

A key objective during our visit to Hawaii was to explore the impacts of invasive species on this beautiful, isolated island. How do new plants and animals arrive? Why do they thrive, or fail? And why is Hawaii a hotbed for genetically modified food research? Then it hit us like a ton of bricks—WE are the most invasive of the species!

Our world turned upside down as we began to scrutinize each of our vacation habits, and we learned that measures we previously considered extreme were far from it. Prefer a simple room? Try a yurt, or even a repurposed VW Bus. Low flush toilet? Try a composting toilet, entirely solar powered. Anitra at Lova Lava Land showed us how simple it was to vacation lightly on the planet and still have a blast.

If you seek more comfort than a stylish (but old) VW Bus can offer, then you might have preferred our other destination. We enjoyed an extraordinary bamboo cottage at Kahua Institute’s Maui Retreat Center, using it as a home base while exploring the island—where we found countless human specimens invading the streets to celebrate Halloween! We hunted for invasive insights from lions, clowns, Transformers, and even a life-sized martini.

Conserving Vacation Days,

Ben, Julie, and Mark (Your YERT Team)

P.S. And now for the Breadcrumbs! If you’d like to learn more about the topics covered in this video, check out the information below…

  • BioBeetle – If it weren’t for the recent arrival of the BioBeetle to the islands, we might have had an even larger footprint! Both BioBeetle and YERT are not convinced that biofuels are the way to go as “the” solution for our energy woes, but we can all totally get behind BioBeetle’s 100% recycled veggie oil fuel. After helping us rent their cute green diesel VW Bug, these folks even loaned us maps, books, and TUPPERWARE while on the island. We even got hugs. Talk about a full service car rental company…
  • Lova Lava Land – Ben edited most of the Iowa "corn challenge" video (YERTpod14) while at LovaLavaLand, which meant that it was almost entirely powered by solar energy! If you have a good pair of shoes, then you’ll have no problem walking around on the beautiful (but sharp) lava rocks at this simple-riffic vacation spot. Budget vacationers will enjoy the price and you’ll be well hosted by Anitra.
  • Kahua Institute’s Maui Retreat Center – Home to the oldest bamboo farm on Maui and, and according to their website, the first two bamboo structures in the U.S., it also became the site of our very own Step It Up event back in November. This lush Hawaiian haven offers classes and work-study opportunities on sustainability and embodied spirituality for anyone looking to transform bamboo or themselves from an "invasive" into a more sustainable "beneficial non-native".
  • Dr. Christopher Dunn, Director of the Harold L. Lyon Arboretum, introduced us to plants that should and shouldn’t be on the islands, and explained why it is important to pay attention to having the right plants in the right places at the right times.
  • Daniel Gluesenkamp, Biologist at Audubon Canyon Ranch, is Ben’s cousin living in San Francisco, and quite possibly one of the more knowledgeable and passionate conservationists we’ve met on the trip. He’s not from Hawaii, but a visit with him in California just before our flight put invasive species high on our radar for Hawaii.
  • Christy Martin gave us the technical low-down on invasive species in the Hawaiian Islands. She is the Public Information Officer for the Coordinating Group on Alien Pest Species (CGAPS for short), and we learned that she’s constantly on the alert for snakes and other exotic pets/pests that shouldn’t be “vacationing” on the islands. Even the dirt on our shoes can carry the seeds of a new pest. Tread lightly…


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