Environmental Science kicks off No-Impact Challenge with garden


Seniors Taylor Awai and Cheyenne Maio-Silva plot out plants for the first day of the “No Impact Challenge.” All Environmental Science classes began the challenge on August 16, 2013.

By Jaylin Kekiwi, editor

PUKALANI – No Impact Man (2009) is a documentary following American non-fiction writer and environmental Internet blogger Colin Beavan as he and his family lived a no-impact life in New York City for a full year in 2006 –365 days without leaving any negative impact on the environment.

For Beavan, this meant going to extremes, such as turning off all electricity in his apartment, abstaining from public transport to reduce air pollution, and even not using toilet paper to reduce paper waste.

He chose these challenges because he “got tired of listening to [himself] complain about the world without ever actually doing anything about it,” according to noimpactman.typepad.com, one of Beavan’s blogs.

Though the Environmental Science classes of Kamehameha Schools Maui aren’t exactly on board with the idea of leaving the bathroom without wiping, they are partaking in their own No Impact Challenge.

All three blocks of Environmental Science classes officially began the month-long challenge on Friday, August 16.

Inspired by No Impact Man, Environmental Science teacher Mr. Duane Iwamura decided his classes could participate in the same sort of thing that Beavan did – just less drastic.

The point of this month-long project, he said, is to raise awareness around campus about how much people impact the environment in the little things they do, even simple things like using too much toilet paper or taking too-long showers.

The classes collectively came up with a list of twelve things that they would be able to do during the challenge, one item on the list per class day. Throughout the next four weeks students will:

  1. Start and maintain a community garden
  2. Turn off lights
  3. Not use disposable eating utensils
  4. Go vegan/eat local produce (no meat/processed foods)
  5. Avoid individually packaged snacks
  6. Carpool, walk, or ride a bus to get around
  7. Limit showers to less than 5 minutes
  8. Unplug all appliances not being used
  9. Remove invasive species (around school)
  10. Help with native species reforestation (around school)
  11. Raise awareness of environmental impact
  12. Make a community-garden-grown dish

“We want to get students active,” Mr. Iwamura said of the project. “Not just our class, but we want people to see what we’re doing and ask why, and then do it themselves.”

Students began the challenge by starting a community garden directly outside the Environmental Science classrooms. They will continue to maintain the garden throughout the month, culminating in creating a meal from the foods grown there.

“I thought that planting a community garden was a good start to the project,” senior Gyle McGurn said. “It was fun to do and it wasn’t much work at all, which really made me realize how easy helping the environment really is.”


Students are also encouraged to continue their daily challenge into their other classes for that day.

“I think it’s cool that they’re carrying this around campus,” senior Rachel Smith said. “I’m not in [Environmental Science], but it’s fun because I feel like I’m helping out when the challenges are being done in a class that I’m in.”

Everything is leading up to September 28, the Green Apple Day of Service.

According to their Web site, “Green Apple is an initiative of the Center for Green Schools…[whose goal is]…to put all children in schools where they have clean and healthy air to breathe, where energy and resources are conserved, and where they can be inspired to dream of a brighter future.”

The Day of Service is meant to bring together school groups dedicated to making schools healthier and sustainable.

Different students will be pairing up to film the challenges throughout the month. Their footage will be put into a documentary, and the short film will be submitted to Green Apple on September 28 as proof of KS Maui students doing environmentally friendly things.

The Green Apple Day of Service is not a contest, but is simply a way for students around the globe to get active and positively impact or raise awareness about the environment. It encourages different schools around the world to participate in different projects to positively impact the environment.

This will be the first year that any school from Maui has participated in the Green Apple Day of Service.

“At first, everyone was kind of scared about the whole thing, because some of the challenges that were being suggested were really extreme,” senior Shana Aruda said. “But after we started the first challenge and filmed the intro to the documentary, I think we started getting excited about it.”

The challenges themselves will end on September 19, with students cooking and harvesting dishes from the plants they grew in their community garden.