A Large Step Toward Carbon Neutrality

A Large Step Toward Carbon Neutrality

Five seniors and Science and Math Teacher Brian Turano volunteered their time on Saturday, November 17, to contribute to a record-breaking effort to plant 1,000 trees in a single day at Ala Mahamoe Cultural Garden and Forest near Tripler Hospital. The team of St. Andrew's students joined more than 200 people from various organizations around the island to plant and register the native and Polynesian species with the Carbon Neutrality Challenge.

Seniors Skylin Tokashiki, Sydney Hirayama, Alexia Saad, Hypatia Pine and Natalie Wong are part of The Priory's Sustainability Club and share a passion for helping the environment through taking action.

"I went to the tree-planting event because I feel very passionate about the environment and wanted to fight against climate change," Wong said. "The work was challenging but rewarding. After we finished planting our trees, our group walked to the top of the hill and saw the hundreds of pink flags, which signified the trees being planted."

"I had a great time planting various trees at the event," Pine said. "I was glad to be a part of making a small impact on our island!"

"This activity was so special to me," Tokashiki said. "I have never done anything like it before and never thought I would. While it was a lot of work, it was so much fun and it was an amazing, unforgettable feeling."

University of Hawai'i at Mānoa Associate Professor of Geography Camila Mora led the project. Mora works in the College of Social Sciences at UHM and was recently featured in a CNN article on climate change predictions. According to the article, the carbon dioxide from a single tree planted in Hawai'i can pull a ton of carbon from the atmosphere over 10 years. "The solution to climate change is staring at us. It is as simple as planting sufficient trees to offset one's emissions," Mora said in a Hawaii News Now article.

"The goal of the event was to demonstrate that everyone can do their part to slow climate change and restore Hawai'i's environment," Turano said. "The girls joined more than 216 people making up 18 teams at the event and planted 1,100 trees in about two hours. These students are models for all of us."