Challenge yourself to make eco-friendly decisions for Earth Day and beyond (Photo by Cameron Enomoto)

By Cameron Enomoto | Staff Writer

Earth Day serves as an important reminder that environmental conservation and protecting our planet’s natural resources is essential for our survival and the development of the next generation. While the annual event raises awareness about issues like climate change and pollution, it’s also a call to action. People worldwide are encouraged to implement more sustainable practices in their lives. If you’re looking for a place to start, check out these community organizations and local stores.

Community Organizations:

  • 808 Cleanups: This 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization empowers volunteers by providing them with supplies like gloves and buckets as well as connecting them with other volunteers to organize group cleanups. The calendar on the 808 Cleanups site lists all of the events happening throughout the month. All volunteers need to do to join is fill out the liability waiver.
  • Mālama Maunalua: Committed to conserving and restoring Maunalua Bay in the Maunalua region (Hawaii Kai), Mālama Maunalua offers many ways for community members to volunteer their time. While the huki project involves pulling invasive alien algae out of the bay, there are additional opportunities for volunteers who would prefer to stay out of the water. To view community huki events and additional outreach opportunities, please visit the Mālama Maunalua calendar.
  • Paepae o Heʻeia: As a private nonprofit organization dedicated to managing and maintaining Heʻeia fishpond located in Kāneʻohe, Paepae o Heʻeia strives to perpetuate cultural sustainability through education. The organization offers two opportunities for volunteers to get involved. Saturday community workdays are large volunteer days held on the second and fourth Saturdays of most months during the year. Workdays are also hosted on weekday mornings. RSVPs are required for both volunteer opportunities. 
  • Sustainable Coastlines Hawai‘i: Supported by passionate volunteers and dedicated staff, this local nonprofit aims to inspire the community to care for coastlines and build a world of reciprocity. Volunteers are encouraged to organize their own beach cleanups as well as join larger events. Sustainable Coastlines Hawai‘i is hosting an Earth Week from April 21 through the 27 with multiple cleanups and workdays scheduled in Waimānalo.

Local Stores:

  • For Simple Sustainability: The foundation behind For is rooted in preservation, culture, and sustainable practices. While the brick-and-mortar store is in Ward Centre, customers can shop online as well. Along with refills and a variety of sustainable options, For boasts unique, hand-crafted items like Merrie Monarch-inspired corsets and lei-nyards made entirely from shells. 
  • Keep it Simple Honolulu: Located in Kaimukī, this zero-waste store carries eco-friendly products to help minimize waste and support the local community. From kitchen wares to bath and beauty supplies, Keep it Simple has plastic-free replacements for essential household items. Additionally, the store’s refill program allows people to buy only what they need without pre-set packaging.  
  • Protea Zero Waste: Customers at Protea in Kailua are invited to do their part to take care of the Earth by supporting natural products and working to lessen overall consumption. Aside from its environmentally friendly merchandise and refill system, Protea also has a thrift that buys back clothes from the community to resell. People can schedule a 15-minute buy-back appointment free of charge to sell unwanted clothing.

Need other ideas? Check out our Earth Day article from 2022 for simple sustainability actions you can take to make a difference.