Years ago I volunteered as a public health professional. Our mission was to motivate and inspire youngsters to be the best they could be by avoiding temptation to consume alcohol, smoke cigarettes, chew tobacco or use illicit drugs. I was a professional athlete and connected well with young people — particularly males who were most at risk.
Due to my success, the Department of Health sent me to a national conference dedicated to reducing teen smoking initiation. The keynote speaker held up a balloon.
She said, “Imagine we are advocating Policy A.” She took her index finger and pushed into the balloon. The balloon indented. She then highlighted how the balloon had warped and pushed out on the other side.
“This illustrates the challenge we face in public health,” the speaker said. “Unless we work together and push on the balloon from all sides at once, we aren’t effective.” Her assistant stepped up. “We must collaborate and push at the same time.” Using four hands, the pair squashed the balloon — eventually popping it.
Applying this collaborate strategy, we eventually defeated BigTobacco, culminating in the Master Settlement Agreement (1998).
Today, the global population is at risk. Worked with Al Gore’s team in 2000; assisted the distribution of An Inconvenient Truth around 2006. In my opinion, Hurricane Ida (August 2021) finally woke the nation. We wasted 15-20 years waiting for Americans to grasp the severity and magnitude of our environmental challenges.
Zombie Ice Will Flood the Entire Planet
A male friend in Hawai’i, conservative, and climate-change denier, refuses to accept that the massive ice fields are melting and will raise ocean levels. I recently shared a scientific report about “zombie” ice causing rapid melting on Greenland that will increase global sea level by at least 10.6 inches. He laughed, “Not possible!”
My friend claimed I was over-estimating the size of Greenland, and sent me an illustration.
Agreed with him. I responded saying that he is under-estimating the amount of ice on Greenland.
There is on average 1,600 meters (5,280 feet) of ice covering Greenland. Africa is about 14 times larger than Greenland. If we spread all the ice on Greenland over Africa, the entire continent would be covered with (5,280 / 14) 377 feet of ice.
Let’s continue. Surface area of planet is 17 times larger than Africa. If we spread the 377 feet of ice on Africa over the planet, the entire globe would be covered by (377 / 17) 21 feet of ice.
Imagine!!! Spreading ALL the ice currently on Greenland over the entire planet covers the planet with 21 feet of ice. Scientists predict the melting of this ice will raise ocean water by at least 10 inches. And we’re not even considering the massive amount of ice in Antartica. His response? [crickets]
We’re out of time! Get it now?
Hawai’i Blue Planet Foundation
Have followed a local environmental action group for some time. Recently, Blue Planet Foundation (BPF) Executive Director Melissa Miyashiro posted an opening for a policy analyst. Job description fit me perfectly. Could be a valued addition to this progressive group, so I invested about 4-5 hours researching and preparing application materials.
Due to my extensive experience, my cover letter was over five pages in length (below). Also had concerns. There are no engineers or scientists on the BPF team. My research uncovered that BPF made some questionable policy decisions recently. Believed my background would help fill some of their gaps.
Didn’t matter. Neither Melissa nor staff at BPF responded to my application or numerous requests to discuss potential collaboration. BPF extended me no respect; showed no interest; and frankly, ignored me completely.
Such behavior is not uncommon on O’ahu. Local residents are quite insecure, which leads to arrogance that is so anti-aloha. I come from Kaua’i and mainland. I’m treated as an outsider. Locals feel threatened by outsiders, as discussed by long-time local journalist, Lee Cataluna.
The selling point for a candidate from out-of-state is that person comes in with no encumbrances or potential conflicts of interest. An outsider won’t have cousins who work in the organization or long-held grudges within the department. An outsider comes with a clean slate, and no favors owed to anyone.
(Oh, but in Hawaii, we love favors. We love having a friend on the inside. It is how so much business is transacted.)Lee Cataluna: The Local-Versus-Outsider Leadership Debate Continues
There is considerable “group think,” and the local rule is, “Go Along if you want to Get Along.” And our talented, outstanding and dominant group of Asian Americans are quite willing to discriminate, hire their friends, relatives and previous colleagues — rather than focus on merit.
For example, Americans demand better mental health services. In Hawai’i public schools, the DOE employed 61 school psychologists last year — about one for every 2,800 students. National Association of School Psychologists recommends a ratio of one for every 500 students.
Our public schools are a tragic mess. Yet the Board of Education selected a local boy, one of their own, Asian American Keith T. Hayashi, to lead the district. Nice guy, but system will stay broke! Privileged people in Hawai’i send their keiki to private schools.
I didn’t want to oppose the compassionate action by BPF. A better strategy would be for all of us to push on the environmental balloon at the same time. Sought an internal audience. Told Melissa there would be no hard feelings if they didn’t select me, but I needed to share my concerns. Melissa and BPF refused to even send a quick email. No phone call. Nada! I was invisible to them.
Thus, had to go public.
BPF Demanded HECO End Use of Coal
First concern: BPF has demanded Hawaiian Electric Company (HECO) end use of coal. Superficially, this initiative might seem to make sense. Coal is a non-renewable fuel that contributes to global warming and climate change.
However, residents in Hawai’i do not use much coal. There are about 1.4M residents, some 100,000 visitors per day, totaling around 1.5M daily electricity users. HECO provides 95% of our electricity. KIUC on Kaua’i provides much of the remaining supply.
HECO used coal to produce about 10% of their electricity generation. Thus, about 142,500 residents in the islands received electricity from coal generation.
Engineers and math specialists can put Hawaii’s use of coal in perspective. China and India use the most coal. It would take Hawai’i coal users over 5,100 YEARS to use as much coal as China does in one year; over 1,700 YEARS to use as much coal as India does in a year.
Coal use in Hawai’i is a drop in the global bucket. Most importantly, ratepayers in Hawai’i suffer the HIGHEST rates for electricity in the nation, as pointed out in Hawaiian Electric Punches Local Residents in the Stomach.
Ending use of coal on September 1, 2022, caused electricity rates to spike 4% to 7% on everything — in the most inflationary period in 40 years — and these additional costs ripple and multiply through the local economy. Disaster!!!
Insanely, while HECO ended use of coal, they substituted burning coal with the burning of more dirty diesel oil.
Our residential, commercial and industrial rates are 3-4 times the national average. BPF and HECO increased these prices even more. Extremely hard on families, frustrating for business and destructive for government services.
While it’s noble to recommend HECO end use of coal, it’s not policy wise for families. Insanely, while HECO ended use of coal, they substituted burning coal with the burning of more dirty diesel oil. Families and the environment are punished by this irrational and senseless policy decision.
Hawai’i Blue Planet Foundation was absolutely incompetent in their rush to force HECO to make this change at this time.
Solar and Wind Cannot Supply Our Islands With Reliable Energy
Second concern: While solar and wind are necessary substitutes for non-renewable fuels, they are not sufficient by themselves. There are major limitations. Briefly, we will need to deploy some 15 MILLION solar panels gobbling up some 5,000+ football fields of rooftop or green space to replace non-renewable fuels. Double this number of panels and green space to provide sufficient electricity to recharge EV batteries.
Traditional solar panels do not survive hurricane winds, as witnessed in Puerto Rico (2017) with Hurricane Maria. Island power company, PREPA, collapsed. While less than 100 people died directly due to the storm, estimates suggest 3,000+ people died due to failure of PREPA.
Puerto Rico replaced PREPA with LUMA due to the massive breakdown. Is HECO going to be Hawaii’s PREPA? We must plan for the worst; hope for the best. We’re not preparing.
In addition, HECO encourages more wind turbines. There are no tests of these massive towers in hurricane wind and rain conditions. Will they survive a super storm or topple on families sheltering in their homes?
EVs and Lithium Batteries are not Environmentally Friendly
BPF pushes local residents to migrate to electric vehicles (EVs). I posted a question to a pre-interview for BPF’s Move O’ahu Electric event held Saturday, September 24th. Asked why BPF would recommend local families buy an EV that costs at least $10,000 more when we do not have sufficient electricity to recharge EV batteries, as California witnessed recently during their intense heat wave.
Families are struggling in Hawai’i. The #1 question they ask politicians is how will they make Hawai’i more affordable. EVs are not affordable for ordinary families. BPF demands these families go deeper in debt by shaming folks to do more for the environment.
However, EVs are not better for the environment. EVs rely on lithium-based batteries. Mining of lithium is extremely destructive to our environment. And, at this time, recharging an EV battery must be done using dirty diesel in most cases. BPF is simply making it harder and more expensive for ordinary families — many who work 2-3 jobs just to break even — while still harming the environment. Total incompetence!
Executive Director Melissa did not respond to my question. Seems BPF removed the video segment and decided not to consider me for the policy analyst position.
In the screen shot above, Blue Hawai’i Foundation Mobility & Equity Coordinator Tabatha Knudsen promotes unstable and extremely dangerous electric scooters to local residents. Her professional bio notes that Tabatha helped “pass a straw ban policy on campus,” while at the University of Hawai’i.
I recently observed a woman in Waikiki take a nasty fall on a similar electric device. Small wheels do not navigate cracks and curbs well. The woman went flying headfirst into the pavement. She was badly scraped and hurt. Road rash covered the left side of her face.
Tabatha demonstrates no common sense or professional understanding of safety protocols. BPF will get people killed or seriously injured riding unstable electric scooters, e-bikes or beach cruisers. Tremendous incompetence!
Lastly, looks to me like BPF is simply a front group for an auto industry trade organization. Their team is just selling cars. Who is funding Blue Planet Foundation?
BPF CEO Melissa Does Not Care About People
As I’ve shown, Melissa Miyashiro and BPF do not care about the environment or people. Under her direction, BPF staff have latched on to critical global concern without taking the time to consider the complete and bigger picture.
We witnessed similar failures in public health during the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic. Result was the collapse of the state DOH, loss of faith in the U.S. CDC, and an angry, confused public.
As BPF offered no respect or professional courtesy, I withdrew my application yesterday. Sought only a 30-second email response; wanted to see if we could team up and collaborate. Not local enough; not a crowd follower! Appears I scared this unprofessional group to death. Ralph Nader was my mentor. We had adults in the room at that time.
After withdrawing, Melissa finally answered my numerous requests, “as a small nonprofit, it can be a struggle for us to balance our regular programming with the demands of reviewing applications and scheduling interviews.”
POPPYCOCK !!! I responded to her excuses and lack of professional behavior:
Aloha e Melissa,
I know what BPF is and does … researched your organization. Worked with many groups smaller than BPF. Took you 30 seconds to send an email. I put hours into applying for this position. You didn’t care enough about this applicant to simply say, “We received your application. We’ll be reviewing these next week.”
Didn’t respect me enough to give me 30 seconds of your time! Years ago, a mentor gave me Peter Drucker’s book, The Effective Executive. There is no “sorry.” There are executives who care; those who do not. Professionally, believe you should step down. Apparently this job overwhelms you. You are not dealing with other professionals in good faith — as a lecturer on law, you understand what I mean.
You and BPF are harming local families. It’s incredibly expensive here for people. They struggle daily. Together, we could ease their burden, not heap more hardship on them. You now force us into positions of opposition when we could have partnered.
Ultimately, our work is about helping each other. You didn’t care at all about me. This behavior is why employees are ghosting or quiet quitting. Too many executives do not care about human capital.
There is also much arrogance on O’ahu. I see local players boast of their education or professional attainment, yet demonstrate they simply do not care about others. This arrogance is really an insecurity that condescends others — particularly from Asians. Such capable, outstanding people — yet so self-centered. Somehow these locals missed the point of living aloha. I originate from Kaua’i. We’re too small a population to be fake and mean to each other. We must work together.
No excuse for this lack of professional courtesy. The work of BPF is important. You should step down. Seriously!
Would have been your loyal partner. You turned me into an opponent of BPF.
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Ko’olau of Kaua’i. I am the Defiant One
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