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Jan 23 13 5:41 PM

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 HSCA Newsletter
 
 
The Hawaii Sustainable Community Alliance is working towards amending current laws to allow more sustainable, eco-friendly practices, communities and buildings. We have been successful with two Hawaii County Resolutions:
Sustainable Habitat Building Res # 167-11
Sustainable Living Research Site Res # 302-12
 
Our Sustainable Living Research Bill is before the State Senate (SB 361) and State House (HB111)
 
        Read below for our ACTION CALL, and how to support this!  See the sample letter and talking points.
Your email testimony is needed NOW to support this initiative.

 NOW WE NEED YOUR HELP, by Jan 24th! Send a quick email in support!
                ACTION CALL    
 
       See below for details on what the Bill proposes, and how to support it.
 
                Here's what we and our supporters can do...
 
Submit testimony to Senate and House Committees
Call Committee members to ask for their support.
 
The first hearing is scheduled for this Friday January 25th with the House Water and Land Committee.
Please prepare your Testimony ASAP and submit it to committee members by Jan 24th.
 
For an easy submission go to http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/submittestimony.aspx
 
It also helps to send personalized e-mails to
Chair, Cindy Evans - repevans@capitol.hawaii.gov
Vice Chair, Nicole E. Lowen - replowen@capitol.hawaii.gov
Keep it positive.
Keep it relatively short.
Note that, testimony can "Favor", or "Oppose", or "Comment".
 Tell your friends, please forward this, and ask for help!

Summary:
This Bill provides for legislation to establish Sustainable Living Research Sites on parcels greater than one acre that are designated "agricultural".  It would allow applicants to request exemptions from State and  County Codes for approved sustainable living research activities.
This would enable innovators and sustainable pioneers to practice and test ways of living that are ecological and sustainable but outside existing codes.  Research will include new ways to: live in ecovillage type communities, build sustainably, provide alternative energy, conserve and harvest fresh water, conserve and improve topsoil without expensive or toxic inputs, increase local food  production and quality, provide onsite waste treatment and recycling, and many other developing techniques for sustainable living.
 
       WHAT TO SAY:
                   Your testimony is an opportunity to mention some or all of these things in support.

Modify this Sample Letter, (or build your own with the Talking Points, below):

Sample:
 Re: Sustainable Living Research Bills (SB 361) and (HB111)
I support the initiative proposed in the SUSTAINABLE LIVING RESEARCH Bills (SB 361) and (HB111).
 
Thousands of Big Island residences have been constructed without Hawai'i County building permits particularly in rural areas.    The cost of house & outbuilding construction in accordance with current Building Code is out of the financial reach of many residents, especially during these dire economic times.
 
This would provide a way for people to come into compliance, and be able to learn about new ways of living that are ecological.  
They could work on how to:
conserve and harvest fresh water;
conserve and improve topsoil without expensive or toxic inputs;  
increase local food quality and security using organic methods and local materials;
increase biodiversity and protect wildlife;
provide onsite waste treatment and recycling with minimal or zero air and surface or ground water pollution, and many other techniques.
 
In addition, Hawaii's need to create & support more sustainable paradigms in order to insure a healthy future is obvious...and, in fact, has been mandated by the state goal of becoming more self-reliant & sustainable by the year 2050.
 
This is in line with successful building code alternatives already on the books for other counties such as Mendocino's ClassK/Type 2 rural alternative dwellings. It fits in with local methods for the building of Hawaiian-style indigenous architecture.
 
Please support this bill.
Thank you,
(your name)
 
    TALKING POINTS for TESTIMONIALS:
Mention the previously passed County of Hawaii Sustainable Habitat Building Code Resolution #167-11 and the Sustainable Living Research Site Resolution  #302-12.
Make reference to support found in many existing initiatives, like the Hawaii 2050 plan.  This is in alignment with what the State says it wants.
Educate our elected officials about the benefits of this kind of law;
Reduced public housing shortages
Natural and organic farming,
Increased local food production and consumption,
Diversification of sources of food and energy production
Meets the need for affordable housing
Allows home builders more freedom and creativity
Allows the use of local building materials
Encourages ecological practices like composting toilets, greywater systems
 
4. Medical research, energy research, agricultural research etc. are permitted for commercial purposes therefore we need to have sustainable living research permitted for community building purposes.

5. Hawaii's need to create & support more sustainable paradigms in order to insure a healthy future is obvious...and has been mandated by the state goal of becoming more self-reliant & sustainable by the year 2050.

6. There are many citizens and organizations of Hawaii willing and able to develop, test, and implement a wide range of innovative methods that increase the productivity, health, and sustainability of Hawaii's economy, ecosystems, people, and culture.

7. Truly sustainable living frequently involves new and innovative methods, technologies, and holistic systems that:
conserve, harvest, and produce energy;
conserve and harvest fresh water;
conserve and improve topsoil without expensive or toxic inputs;
increase local food quality and security using organic methods and local materials;
provide onsite waste treatment and recycling with minimal or zero air and surface or ground water pollution;
increase the supply of affordable housing by using on-site timber and re-using/recycling discarded/"waste" lumber, windows, plumbing supplies, and other manufactured goods;
reduce the need for and use of imports from distant places while increasing the use and employment of local materials, labor, skills, and products;
enrich neighborhood educational, vocational, and cultural opportunities for all ages while enhancing their experience of place and community; reduce the need for expensive public infrastructure and services; stimulate private investments in sustainable development.
8. These methods for sustainable living frequently require activities and structures that are not permitted on lands designated "agricultural" under state laws.

9. NEED FOR AFFORDABLE HOUSING: There are growing numbers of people on the County affordable housing list. This proposal will help people to help themselves to provide their own, adaptable and affordable housing.  We don't want to add any more people to the housing subsidy programs. These regulations will facilitate the availability of affordable, owner-built homes which is essential to the continued health and welfare of the residents and rural communities

10.  RANGE OF ALTERNATIVES: We believe that 'one size does not fit all' with building codes and the diversity of population in this County would be better served with a range of alternatives to existing regulations.

11. THE COSTS OF CONSTRUCTION in accordance with current Building Code is out of the financial reach of many residents, especially during these dire economic times.

12. PROMOTE SUSTAINABLE PRACTICES: We advocate moving towards "educating" and "supporting" the use of ecological methods. The job of civil servants (State and County) is to provide info/educational/support resources to people who want to learn how to shelter themselves safely in any variety of ways (in contrast to enforcing one specific set of rules/codes).

13. BUILD COMMUNITY: Benefits for those who need these alternatives will be large and more than just economic (like providing self esteem/"I can do it," and community-building through work parties, sharing neighborhood/local skills, enabling more community living, etc.).

14. MORE ECOLOGICAL TO USE LOCAL MATERIALS: In rural areas of Hawaii Island there are many locally available, underutilized, renewable building materials, such as bamboo, tropical hardwoods, and other tropical wood species. The use of locally-available and minimally processed building materials can reduce overall construction costs and result in a smaller ecological footprint..

15. WE DON'T NEED TO BUILD LIKE THE MAINLAND: Hawaii Island is blessed with a mild climate that can obviate the need for insulation, artificial heating and cooling, and associated construction materials.    

16. ENCOURAGE RURAL SELF SUFFICIENCY: Establishment and occupation of owner-built sustainable habitat on agricultural land increases food production on that land, contributing to island-wide food sufficiency goals.

17. OTHERS HAVE DONE THIS: Sustainable Development Testing Site Acts have been adopted by New Mexico and Colorado while Alternative "limited density rural dwelling" building ordinances have been adopted in many other jurisdictions in the United States over the last three decades.
 

THANKS SO MUCH FOR YOUR HELP!

Now is a great time for you to help us go farther!
Help with our Membership Drive!
 
 Please help by encouraging friends to sign up for our free membership, so we can show big numbers of people who support sustainable buildings.  Collect emails at your classes and meetings, and send them to us.  Or send an email to your friend lists.
 Please send them this message in an email:
 "You can help make sustainable building practices more legal by signing up as a member of the Hawaii Sustainable Community Alliance!  With your help, we can show that many people support ideas such as sustainable building techniques, building your own home from recycled and local materials, composting toilets and living in community on land. Please go to http://hawaiisustainablecommunity.org/ and become a member today!"
 
* Donations of any size are also very helpful! Just go to our web site to use Paypal!

Want to help more?  Volunteer your services!
 

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Mar 6 13 11:34 AM

This bill just passed the vote of the Hawaii state House of Representatives!  now it is on to the Seante vote!  thanks for everyone who has been helping with this!

Amara Karuna, HSCA board member

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