Working To Keep Kaua’i Green
An environmental crusader for the Garden Island, Ivory McClintock of the Blue Planet Foundation is determined to help make Kaua’i a greener place to live.
Serving as an ecological spokesperson for the island on Oahu, the 2005 Kaua’i High graduate says she wants to inspire the Kaua’i community to move toward greater energy efficiency.
“While there’s so much focus on a lot of renewable energy projects, I think bringing it back to the first step in getting individuals to play a role in energy efficiency is key,” says McClintock, whose family lives in Anahola. “I do think Kaua’i has a lot of potential to do that.”
The first step has been to initiate an exchange of light bulbs from incandescents to the more adept compact fluorescent lights (CFLs).
“We’re starting off with light bulbs because that’s the easiest thing you can do,” she says.
She also hopes to launch community comparisons, where the island’s residents will analyze their electrical use with one another and find new ways of increasing their energy sustainability.
“If we can do this on Kaua’i and leverage the community to take a stronger step toward becoming more energy efficient, the other islands can look to us as an example,” she says.
Offering incentives and hosting competitions to discover those with the highest energy reductions will encourage individuals to invest in more efficient appliances and recognize where they can curtail their consumption.
The venture will allow social pressures to come into play because individuals will see how others are saving energy.
“I see this as my baby project,” she says. “I’m really excited to get this going, and being from Kaua’i I take more pride in getting the community involved and making sure it’s done right and everyone can come together.”
This isn’t the first environmentally savvy project McClintock has guided. The graduate of Leadership Kaua’i pioneered a project that helped one of the buildings on the University of Hawaii campus to annually save some $147,000 in energy expenditures. A 2010 political science major and UH graduate, McClintock was part of a student group that used the building as a model for sustainability. An energy audit showed that all it took to save money was small changes such as turning of the air conditioning on weekends and turning off lights.
“A lot of the classes were over-lit with unhealthy levels of light,” she says.
As team leader for Sustainable UH, she also arranged two of the largest events the university has ever had for Earth Day.
The highly ambitious young woman says she devoted much of her free time during college to raising people’s environmental consciousness. In fact, McClintock was the only student from Kaua’i chosen to attend a clean energy workshop in Washington, D.C., to lobby for renewable resources and green jobs.
“It was really great to learn about what is going on around the country and what other students were doing as far as clean energy is concerned,” she says. “Once I came back from that I was really excited to get things going and get more students involved, and continue volunteering and working with Blue Planet.”
There is no question environmental matters are interlaced with politics, says McClintock:
“It takes a push from the top at the high levels to get big things to change. But it also takes working through the community and working at the lower levels to start that grassroots buildup, so you can meet in the middle because without one, you can’t have the other.
“I think that’s why I really like working for Blue Planet now. They work heavily at the Capitol and advocate for clean energy at the high levels, but at the same time we work with the community through education in the school.”
She adds that the upcoming project will likely begin at educational institutions across the island. Not only did her passion for the ‘aina and interest in governmental affairs lead McClintock to her current position, her love for the Kaua’i community did as well.
“I see myself living on Kaua’i in the future with a family,” she says. “I want to make sure that we do have an island that I recognize from when I grew up and have it continue to be the same because I do want to raise my kids there.”
And she has little doubt her current undertaking in what she calls “the big city” will help guide Kaua’i toward a more sustainable future.
“This project we’re going to be working on for Kauai is really going to be different and innovative,” she concludes. “If the community of Kauai can embrace it and take it forward, it would be a really good model for Hawaii.”