We are Sustʻāina ble Molokai. Our mission is to
maintain our island's rich culture and historic legacy of ʻāina momona
(abundant land) and embrace modern pathways to a sustainable future. Our
objectives include creating an environmentally, economically, and culturally
sustainable and self-sufficient island that serves as a model for Hawaiʻi and
the world. We focus on education,
training, and advocacy; identify existing community assets and inherent
challenges; and we fill complementary roles that advance local efforts.
As a strong native community, we take kuleana (responsibility) as the
architects of our own destiny, knowing that homegrown solutions work best. Our
current work is focused within the following program areas: Molokai-pedia (a database for the island),
Food Security, Energy Independence, Watershed Restoration, and Green Economic
*For all donations of any size, if we receive enough funding to build our prototype structure, we will send you updates and photos from the build that you helped to make possible.
Follow this link to a separate video, for a broader overview of our project and organization:
We live on an island where close to 100% of everything we eat, build with, wear and use is imported. Molokai, like many islands, has had to contend with poor agricultural choices, which have created erosion and denuded the soil, causing harm to reefs and endangering traditional fishing areas. As we looked to address these environmental concerns, we realized we could alleviate two unsustainable problems with one giant bamboo! We are proposing to plant 17 acres of bamboo in a watershed restoration area that will work as a carbon sink for greenhouse gas emissions, hold soil, and bring down precipitation. By using structural bamboo, we can address the issue of affordable housing on Molokai. Hawaii has the highest cost of living in the United States, and Molokai has the highest cost in the state.
We found a partner, Rich Van Wellsheim, from Whispering Winds Bamboo on Maui. Whispering Winds has been growing and processing bamboo for ten years, and Rich was working with a young and innovative architect named Yuliya Bentcheva. Yuliya had designed a simple strapping system that holds bamboo in place—a lovely, innovative, modular design we are calling the Molokai Ohana House. It is small enough to be affordable for tropical outdoor living, is a safe space against inclement weather, has simple lines, is made of renewable material, and can all be grown locally on Molokai.
Bamboo takes seven years to grow before the first harvest, so to get us started we are hoping, with your help, to purchase raw bamboo materials from Whispering Winds to build our first prototype. Although much of the world already builds with bamboo, for our island community it is a new concept. We want to initiate and introduce bamboo to the island with a structure people can stand in, touch and see. Once the structure is up, and people are able to interact with it, we are confident the community will embrace this building material.
This is where you the investor, and bamboo believer, can come in! We need the raw materials to build this prototype, and for that we need your help. Our goal is to raise $5,000 to purchase the raw materials and to cover any labor costs.
You will be on the forefront of creating a sustainable model for rural economies around the world, make possible the first affordable bamboo structure on the island, and help us to further fine tune the design and cost. This design and “grow your own house” concept could change the lives of thousands of families, providing sustainable, affordable housing to the people who need it most.
We need at least $7,000 for the first structure. We now have $2,000 from a grant, but as this is the proto-type, we will not really understand the true cost of everything until we build it. We will also be training local youth in the bamboo building aspect; so some of the funds will be directed towards securing building tools.
Growing bamboo and using it as a construction material will help to lower the carbon footprint of those on the island. It will also help us create safe and secure housing for keiki (children) and kupuna (elders) alike.
Visit our website, sustainablemolokai.org to check out our other great projects. Read our blog, learn about our school gardens, check out our Agricultural and Energy needs assessments, and follow our food map to local organic produce on Molokai.
If you are unable
to give funding we would still love your help getting the word out on social
media about our project. We appreciate so much that you've taken the time to
read our proposal.
Architect and Molokai artist Donald Sunshine has completed his watercolor rendition of the Bamboo Ohana Homes Structure. We have 20 signed prints ready to send off... we are so enthralled with the beauty of this vision!