Evergreen Issues: Flooding in Kauai, Grocery Store Food Waste and Plastic-Eating Bugs

Every Tuesday we bring you issues that impact you as an outdoor loving woman. Whether it has to do with climate change or female empowerment, we scour the internet, including government bills, social media and local and national news, and deliver it to you – so you know.

1. flooding, mudslides terrorize kauai

Severe rainfall over the weekend in Kauai, Hawaii has prompted hundreds to be evacuated, as flooding and mudslides threaten residential areas.

A CNN report helps put the sheer amount of rainfall into perspective:

“For context, the town of Wainiha, Kauai, recorded a staggering 822 mm of rainfall in just 48 hours,” CNN meteorologist Pedram Javaheri said. “That amount of rainfall would climatologically take nearly 18 months to fall in London and over 24 months to fall in Los Angeles.”
The Hanalei District is essentially inaccessible, as several mudslides have closed road access. The Hawaiian National Guard is in the process of determining landing spots for aircraft, so they can get crucial supplies to the area. Hanalei Bay is located just west of Princeville in the North Shore.

30 hikers along the world-renowned Kalalau Trail on the Na Pali Coast were

stranded on Kalalau Beach, but told Coast Guard crews they had enough enough supplies to last another day or two.

The island of Kauai holds a special place in Evergreen Girls’ hearts. We recently wrote up a travel guide for visitors looking for big adventure.

If you’d like to contribute to recovery efforts on Kauai, consider giving to the Hawaii Life Charitable Fund.

2. grocery store waste

A new report from the Center for Biological Diversity finds something that might not surprise you: grocery stores throw away A LOT of food. However, the extent of the waste is another story.

The center considered three categories, at some of America’s most shopped stores, according to NPR: 

“how much public information a store shared about food waste, what it was doing to prevent food waste, and where its discarded food went.”

None of the stores earned an A. Walmart earned the highest mark, with a B. Costco, Publix, Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s and Target all got a D.

So, how exactly are they throwing away this food? In addition to tossing away “expired” grub in the dumpster out back, the waste traces all the way back to the farmer’s field, where “ugly” fruits and veggies are passed over.

The Ugly Fruit and Veg Campaign is working to end the industry-wide standards for how our produce should look – and dispel some of the myths surrounding it.

3. bugs to solve plastic pollution crisis?

Science never ceases to amaze. Check this out. A group of international scientists have accidentally created a mutant enzyme that, get this…EATS plastic bottles.

Apparently, it all traces back to a Japanese dump, where workers discovered bugs that eat plastic back in 2016. Researchers took the enzyme, tweaked it, and surprisingly, they say, it actually improved its ability to break down polyethylene terephthalate (PET) plastic.

From The Guardian’s report:

“The mutant enzyme takes a few days to start breaking down the plastic – far faster than the centuries it takes in the oceans. But the researchers are optimistic this can be speeded up even further and become a viable large-scale process.”

The scientists believe this could help solve the global plastic pollution crisis. How’s THAT for a bit of GOOD NEWS on this Tuesday?