Sharing Knowledge the Hawaiian Way with Doorae Shin31 Mar 2017
I came across Doorae's work through a joint group to minimise the use of polystyrene globally set up by the Plastic Pollution Coalition and was blown away that someone so young is so increadibly motivated and already making significant change through her work. I got in touch and of course she was happy to spread the word.
Born and raised in Pennsylvania, now living in Honolulu, Hawaii on the island of Oʻahu. Doorae has been local for 7 years, working as the Plastic Free Hawaii Program Manager for the Kokua Hawaii Foundation working in environmental education and advocacy to minimize single-use plastics on the islands.
She is passionate about a sustainable and ethical food system, as well as many other environmental, social justice and other progressive issues . Born into an activist family, her first experiences in community organizing starting as early as high school.
"My true passion is now in connecting people to their food, and catalyzing conscious consumer choices when it comes to what we eat on a daily basis".
1. What started your quest to assist the environment and what are truly passionate about?
I was in absolute awe at the power and beauty of nature when I moved to Hawaiʻi. I become increasingly connected to nature while simultaneously learning about climate change. It was truly heartbreaking to fall in love with nature and discover it's vulnerability at the hands of human exploitation.
Over the years, I began to do whatever I could: avoid single-use plastics, biking, taking short/cold showers, and recycling. And then I read the World Peace Diet and did more research on the connection between food choice and climate change, and I decided to go vegan when I was 19. My true passion is now in connecting people to their food, and catalyzing conscious consumer choices when it comes to what we eat on a daily basis. Although driving less and eating local are positive actions, they do not even come close to the incredible impact that eating plant-based foods (and avoiding animal products) can have on healing our relationship with nature and wildlife, and really turning the tide on our accelerated path to climate change. Voting with our dollars is incredibly powerful, and the cool thing is, that each and every one of us can make a huge impact everyday by eating intentionally.
2. What do you most love about what you do?
In my work, I get to educate children and youth in Hawaiʻi about the impacts of plastic pollution and encourage them towards zero waste living. I love the opportunity to reach youth. They are so open and willing to learn, and they often have immense influence in their families to create behavior change in lifestyle and consumption patterns. Younger generations have a big burden to inherit when it comes to saving planet earth and learning from the mistakes of previous generations, so having a chance to educate and empower them to be a part of the solution is really uplifting.
3. Fair Food Forager is looking to change our behaviour around the consumption of food and the issues associated with it. What do you believe we should be doing to ease the problems caused by food?
Going vegan is the #1 most impactful thing we can do. That includes reducing consumption of meat and dairy. Going vegan for one meal or one day a week is a huge relief on nature in terms of land use, freshwater consumption, inefficient use of grains, pesticide use, deforestation, and greenhouse gas emissions.
On top of going vegan (one meal, one day or all the time), we must connect with local and sustainable farmers. Buying local is a huge relief on the emissions of transportation and it keeps money in the local economy. But many local farmers use conventional methods of farming that deplete the health of soil and threaten food security. So finding farmers that grow organically (with or without certification) is much better, especially if they integrate practices such as crop rotation, permaculture, and soil remediation. We as consumers can find this kind of produce at farmer's markets, food co-ops and health food stores.
Growing food is also an incredibly powerful act of resistance to an unsustainable and unethical food system.
4. What is your vision for the future?
My vision for the future is that humanity lives in harmony with the other beings on this planet. Humans will live in alignment with our natural values of compassion and non-violence, and we will no longer defend or justify any forms of violence, whether it is towards nature, animals or one another.
5. If you had one sentence for the human race. What would it be?
What you eat has the greatest impact on the planet, onto animals, and onto humans – eat less meat and dairy, eat local, eat organic.
6. When you aren’t working or thinking about making positive change, how do you relax?
I love to swim in the ocean and surf. It resets me and reconnects me to nature. I also love spending time with my friends, who are all young and empowered environmentalists. We host vegan potlucks where we play music, dance and have meaningful conversations.
Is the any wonder that Doorae would be inspired by this place? image: Dave Poore.
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