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Lifestyle // Proof Positive
MidWeek Staff

Saving Energy, Promoting Awareness

By Jeff Mikulina, executive director, Blue Planet Foundation

Every week, a supertanker of oil arrives in Hawaii. A supertanker can carry as much as a million barrels of fuel, and each year we burn through nearly 50 million barrels to power our vehicles, our homes and businesses, and our lifestyles. How much do we value energy? We certainly pay for it dearly – not just on our electricity bills and at the gas station, but at the cost of our economic and environmental security.

More than $5 billion leaves Hawaii annually to pay for fossil fuels. Converting this fuel to energy emits the equivalent of 5.6 billion balloons full of CO2 into our atmosphere each day, the cumulative impact of which contributed to the reality that this past year was by far the hottest year in the U.S. on record. We have the power to choose a different path for Hawaii.

Blue Planet Foundation, a local nonprofit founded in 2007, is committed to ending the use of fossil fuels, starting in Hawaii. We believe we must fundamentally change our energy culture – how we use, produce and value energy – and prioritize an energy system that is local, clean and sustainable.

Our work is focused in three areas: education, community initiatives and policy. Blue Planet programs promote awareness while yielding direct energy savings. For example, our (C)onserve (F)undraise (L)earn program has replaced more than 300,000 incandescent bulbs statewide, which amounts to a savings of $40 million, displacing 190,000 barrels of oil. Our Hui Up! “Groupon”-style appliance trade-in program brought high-efficiency refrigerators to 174 Molokai and Lanai households, saving each family as much as $500 a year.

Some of the most important (and least glamorous) work Blue Planet does happens behind the scenes advocating for transformative energy policies at the legislature and the Public Utilities Commission. Whether that’s protecting renewable energy tax credits or creating an on-bill financing program that will make efficient appliances and solar power available at no upfront cost, Blue Planet is at the table to drive the decision.

Blue Planet Foundation aims to communicate the urgency and vision for Hawaii’s clean-energy future. We strive to inform, influence and inspire. We invite you to join us at BluePlanetFoundation.org or call 954-6161 for more information. For those on Facebook, stay in the loop at facebook.com/blueplanetfoundation.

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