“It’s a true test of someone’s character to give them a little cash and see what they do,” Jack Johnson was recently quoted in the cover story of Rolling Stone. Johnson has dedicated not only a little cash, but time, effort, musical ability and possibly most importantly- his fame- to creating a foundation that literally cultivates environmental stewardship in the next generation.
Art by Heather Brown
Kokua Hawaii Foundation is the non profit started by Johnson and his wife Kim in 2003. The Foundation gets most of its exposure from its annual Kokua Festival held in Honolulu each April to bring awareness to Earth Day and raise money for its programs.
If your children aren’t school age you might not be aware that throughout the rest of the year a small staff and a number of volunteers work diligently to establish and develop environmental programs in elementary schools and the community.
Kokua’s most recent program is the “Plastic Free Haleiwa Coalition”. Using their own community to set an example, the Kokua crew has joined forces with Haleiwa businesses and community members to provide more environmentally responsible alternatives to single use plastic bags, take out containers, utensils and water bottles.
Local artist Heather Brown created an appropriate new logo for the program including the waves, bridges and waterways that make Haleiwa beautiful but also vulnerable to plastic litter. The logo adorns the durable, multi-use bags available at a growing number of participating Haleiwa businesses.
Five lucky pilot schools on Oahu have been involved in the “AINA In Schools Program,” an effort to directly integrate agriculture and nutrition into elementary curriculum.
For second, fifth and sixth graders, a series of lessons have been created by a team of educators and nutritionists to teach topics ranging from critical thinking about food advertising to the value of specific nutrients.
Third graders focus on worm composting while kindergarten, first, fourth and fifth grades get their hands dirty in school gardens where they learn to grow plants relevant to their history and cultural classes. Future goals aim to incorporate what they grow into school lunch.
This school year Kokua Hawaii Foundation has helped send over 2000 students on environmental field trips. Other programs include community film screenings and discussions, school-wide recycling programs, and Kokua Earth Action Projects where students design and implement their own environmentally mindful ideas.
To donate, get involved or to just learn more about the Kokua Hawaii Foundation and its programs visit www.kokuahawaiifoundation.org