Maui Teacher to Trek 750 Miles to Raise Environmental Awareness

January 15, 2015, 3:56 PM HST · Updated January 16, 8:46 AM
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Lindy Shapiro. Photo courtesy of Shapiro.

Lindy Shapiro. Photo courtesy of Shapiro.

By Maui Now Staff

Seventy-hundred-and-fifty miles, 31 days, six islands, and one woman on a mission.

Maui teacher and author Lindy Shapiro, founder of the Bodhi Education Project, is embarking on an ambitious, month-long coastal trek across the islands. Called “holoHI,” her goal is to inspire kids toward constructive change by raising awareness on a growing problem in Earth’s oceans–plastic.

A recent study estimates that over 250,000 tons of plastic are floating in oceans across the planet, endangering marine habitats and polluting food and water supplies. Shapiro believes that educating kids on the issue is the best way to create change, and credits children with inspiring her to do the event.

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“The best hope we have for a happy, healthy planet Earth is kids who are empowered to take an active role, to create change, to teach the rest of us, and to lead in whatever field they choose… to face the world with huge brave hearts guided by huge wisdom,” Shapiro said. “I hope that my run will unite us in an effort to create sustainable, positive change for our youth, our environment, and our planet… and I believe this begins with inspired educational programming.”

During her journey, Shapiro will visit 20 schools on Hawai‘i Island, Lāna‘i, Moloka‘i, Oahu, Kaua‘i, and Maui, launching an educational initiative called “Bottles for Change (B4C),” a student-led conservation project challenging kids to reduce their–and their friends’–use of plastic bottles.

Shapiro said of the project, “’Bottles for Change’ will be making school and community presentations to increase awareness regarding the impact of plastics on our land and ocean environments, and to encourage youth participation in the ‘Bottles for Change’ challenge.  My hope is that ‘holoHI’ will inspire others to support this vitally important work.”

Shapiro hopes the run will not only inspire youth to reduce Hawai‘i ’s plastic footprint, but also support the expansion of outreach programs like “Bottles for Change” as well as her nonprofit organization, Bodhi Education Project.  The project’s ultimate goal aims to build an independent, tuition-free leadership academy on Maui that is accessible to everyone.

Shapiro begins her journey by foot and bike before sunrise on Sunday, Jan. 18, 2015, in Hilo on Hawai‘i Island, and ends in Kahului, Maui, with a celebration on Feb. 18.

The experienced runner says she participates in marathons about once a year, but has never done anything like “holoHI” before.

Life Foods Inc., a Maui-based organic foods company that sells locally-sourced, whole-plants-based foods, is providing the “official fuel” for Shapiro’s trek. During Shapiro’s 31-day mission, the company is also donating a portion of all sales made in the state  to “Bottles for Change.”

For more information or to make a donation of support, visit www.holoHI.org.

To learn more about Bottles for Change, visit www.bottlesforchange.org.

Lindy Shapiro, founder of the non-profit Bodhi Education Project on Maui.

Lindy Shapiro, founder of the non-profit Bodhi Education Project on Maui.

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