Sharing Knowledge the Hawaiian Way with Doorae Shin31 Mar 2017
I came across Doorae's work through a joint group set up by the Plastic Pollution Coalition with the goal of minimising the use of polystyrene globally. I was blown away that someone so young is so incredibly motivated and already creating significant change through her work. I got in touch and of course she was happy to spread the word.
Doorae was born and raised in Pennsylvania and is now living in Honolulu, Hawaii on the island of O'ahu. She has been local for 7 years, working as the Plastic Free Hawaii Program Manager for the Kokua Hawaii Foundation, and working in environmental education and advocacy to minimize single-use plastics on the islands.
She is also 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, Doorae's first experiences in community organizing started in 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".
I asked her some questions.
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 became increasingly connected to nature while simultaneously learning about climate change. It was truly heartbreaking to fall in love with nature and discover its vulnerability at the hands of human exploitation.
Over the years I began to do whatever I could: avoiding single-use plastics, biking, taking short/cold showers, recycling. And then I read the World Peace Diet and did more research on the connection between food choice and climate change. 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 thoughtfully.
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 will inherit a big burden when it comes to saving planet earth. It's important they learn 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 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 current patterns of food consumption?
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, fresh water 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. Many local farmers use conventional methods of farming that deplete the health of soil and threaten food security. So finding and supporting farmers that grow food 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 farmers 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 will live 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, or 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, on animals, and on 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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