The Surfrider Foundation, one of the country’s most consistently effective environmental organizations, has plenty to celebrate this year, including the hiring of its first statewide coordinator and the national organization’s 25th anniversary. With that in mind, the group’s Oahu chapter is hosting a statewide conference this weekend–also a first–to plan for the upcoming year. In true Surfrider fashion, it’s also throwing a big party to celebrate past successes and to honor leading environmental activists.
The 7th Annual John Kelly Environmental Awards event, slated for Saturday night at the Waimea Valley Pavilion, will feature live music from up-and-coming Maui rockers The Throwdowns, along with Johnny Helm and others. Organizers will also screen clips from the upcoming surf film 180 Degrees South, by the Malloy brothers.
“This is the first time we’ve had a statewide conference with all the chapters present,” says Surfrider Hawaii Regional Coordinator Stuart Coleman, who says he expects 200 activists from around the Islands. “It’s great, because we’ve been working independently and various chapters have had great success, and now we’re able to get together to work out a shared strategy for the year ahead.”
The awards event includes an appearance by Yvon Chouinard, the Patagonia founder and one of the creators of the environmental corporate collaborative 1% for the Planet. Chouinard is widely credited for changing the way progressive-minded people think about business, and will be presented with a lifetime achievement award at the event.
“He was one of the first social entrepreneurs to see that there’s more than one bottom line–you need a triple bottom line of people, places and profits,” Coleman says. “That changed a lot of people’s sense of what business is supposed to be.”
Speaking of environmental heroes, Haleiwa’s own Jack Johnson will take the stage at Hawaii Theatre this weekend in support of planet Earth. Well, he’s technically supporting his new live album, En Concert, but as 100 percent of the profits thereof–in addition to 100 percent of the profits from the tour during which the album was recorded–are going back to environmental and educational non-profits, it’s all the same in the end. Johnson will also be screening his new DVD based on that same tour, 100 percent of the profits of which–you get it.
A few years back, Johnson was a pioneer in creating a more eco-friendly way to do a rock tour.
“What we realized with the greener tour thing is that you’re really trying to lessen then negative,” Johnson said. “We do what we can to keep the carbon footprint down and then we try to do offsets at the end.”
This time, Johnson and his foundations donated a portion of the proceeds of each night’s show to worthy non-profits in the communities in which he appeared. “That felt really good…and then we kept in touch and they let us know what they were doing, so we keep funding them. Then we look for other groups, both environmental organizations and groups working on getting more art and music into the schools, and we fund those, too.”
As for how director Emmet Malloy convinced the famously camera-shy Johnson to star in a movie about himself, Johnson said not everything was on the up-and-up. “I get kind of tricked,” he laughed. “[Malloy] frames it in a way where he says, ‘Hey, we should shoot some film on this tour so your grandkids can see it one day.’ The next thing I know, he’s editing a movie.”
Artist Rita Coury scored a coup when the high-traffic ING Direct gallery on Kalakaua agreed to show Coury’s photographic series Survivors of Breast Cancer during Girl Fest Hawaii’s run this week. Then, as Coury was hanging her pieces, she was informed that they’d have to come down–after seeing her work in person, bank managers had decided Coury’s photos of barechested cancer survivors were offensive to their customers. Girl Fest organizers struggled to find a new home for the work.
This survival story has a happy ending–Coury’s images will be on view at Diverse Art Center in Kakaako beginning this week. Look for more coverage in next week’s Honolulu Weekly.