Do more to save the planet — not just on Earth Day
by Shannon Tangonan | April 22, 2021
I never really paid too much attention to Earth Day when I was young. I grew up in a working-class family of seven in Ewa Beach and saving the planet wasn’t really a topic of conversation at the dinner table. But as I’ve gotten older (and perhaps slightly wiser) Earth Day has become an occasion to acknowledge small contributions we’re making toward building a more sustainable future for our son and generations to follow — and to also think about what more we can do.
It doesn’t have to be grand gestures. Our family stopped buying bottled water unless it’s to stock up for emergencies. I try to do laundry during the day when solar energy is most abundant rather than during the evening peak. I still need to get the husband to stop running so much water when he washes the dishes, but I vow to keep nagging him.
Now that I work for Hawaiian Electric, Earth Day has taken on even more significance. For the past four years I’ve helped produce the company’s Sustainability Report, which highlights our progress toward 100% renewables, work in areas such as electrification of transportation and efforts to improve our communities.
The impactful work to create a greener Hawaii doesn’t always make headlines. But we’re extremely proud of our employees and what they’ve done to get us here.
Here’s a major one: Last year Hawaiian Electric achieved a 35% consolidated renewable portfolio standard (RPS). That means 35% of all the electricity the company sold in 2020 came from renewable resources. That’s huge. We were mandated to hit 30% by the end of 2020 — and we exceeded that. Solar and wind production, as well as lower consumer demand, contributed to that notable RPS. Given that we were at less than 10% RPS in 2010, we’ve truly made progress.
You can read all about it in the Sustainability Report online. As for me, I’ll work on finding small ways to help save the planet — turning off lights when not needed, refraining from using the air conditioner and, yes, even nagging the husband about turning off the water.
Shannon Tangonan is a manager of external corporate communications at Hawaiian Electric