Tag Archives: Rubbah Slippah

Hawaii, Shale & Geothermal

Richard Ha writes:

Because Hawai‘i relies so much on oil for its energy, the state will be a major beneficiary of the shale oil phenomenon. Conventional oil development takes a long time – five to ten years – whereas activating a shale oil well takes less than a year.

The result is that whenever the Saudis try to raise the price of oil, our U.S. shale oil drillers will react wherever they can make money.

From The Barrel Blog, the essential perspective on global energy:

Energy Economist: Shale oil’s response to prices may call for industry re-evaluation

Shale oil’s investment cycle is shorter and its decline profile sharper than conventional oil production. Current indicators suggest legacy declines from shale will catch up fast with the industry. This points to a sharp deceleration in US shale oil output. But, while conventional oil takes time to slow down, it also takes time to speed up. It will be shale that is best placed to benefit from any oil price recovery, as Ross McCracken, managing editor of Platts Energy Economists, explains in this month’s selection from the publication. Read the rest

At $70 a barrel, a lot of people make money and at $40, a lot of people lose money. This safety valve is very good for us in Hawai‘i.

This will give us time to make rational energy decisions. Oil and gas are still finite resources. Because two-thirds of our economy is based on consumer spending, we need to find solutions that take care of the rubbah slippah folks. Low prices for them strengthens the economy for all.

Each island has its own basket of energy resources. The Big Island, because of its abundant geothermal resource, has the biggest basket of lowest cost alternatives. O‘ahu has the smallest basket of resources and so it needs help from the other islands—hence, the talk about cabling resources.

The elephant in the room is cabling geothermal resources from the Big Island. That will never happen, though, unless the Big Island residents themselves receive a demonstrated benefit from geothermal.

So now we need to work on getting Big Islanders definite low cost and other benefits from geothermal—like making hydrogen for transportation and even nitrogen fertilizer.

Then we can have a group of Big Islanders, representing the people, sit across the table and negotiate the conditions under which the people would approve exporting energy off island.

I would think education for our keiki might be a good starting point.


Photo Contest! Where Are Your Slippahs?!

Richard Ha writes:

It’s time for another photo contest.

We want to see your favorite shot of where all the rubbah slippahs gather at your place.

Maybe it’s that spot just outside the back door. You know where it is. The place where everybody leaves their slippahs when they come over.

So take some photos and give us your best shot. Send your favorites to leslie@leslielang.com by Friday, February 6, 2015.

We’ll announce a winner shortly after that.

The prize is the satisfaction of knowing you won.

We can’t wait to see what you’ve got!


For the contest, we are looking for a photo of where your slippahs all congregate. Not just a pair of slippahs. Take a photo of that big mess of slippahs right outside the door, when everyone is home or when everybody comes over.


What Darwin Said

Richard Ha writes:

This was my testimony at yesterday’s Hawai‘i County Council hearing on the anti-GMO bill, Bill 113. I advocated for killing the bill and starting over with a study that brings forth good science.

I am Richard Ha. I have been a farmer for 35 years, farming
bananas and hydroponic tomatoes. During this time, we have grown more than a hundred million pounds of food.

And now we are a few weeks away from putting in a hydroelectric generator. It’s about adapting to change.

The most significant thing that has happened in my career is
that oil prices quadrupled in the last 10 years, causing farmers’ input costs to rise. Oil costs and farmers’ costs are inextricably tied together – as the oil price rises, farmers’ cost rise. Since farmers are price takers, rather than price makers, Big Island farmers have not been able to pass the cost on.

We do not grow GMOs, and I do not have any financial interest in any biotech company. I am just concerned about how we adapt to change. Darwin said it is not the strongest, nor smartest, that survive, but the one that can adapt to change.

Conventional farmers on the Big Island are getting hurt in
the GMO cross fire. This bill criminalizes our small farmers and will raise their cost of production. It will discourage farmers from farming and threaten our food security.

Bill 113 cites the precautionary principle. All the major scientific organizations in the world, though, say that GMO foods are safe.

Hawai‘i has the longest life expectancy for senior citizens in the whole country.

Yet we are willing to ignore the effect of rising food costs on the most defenseless among us. These are the kupuna on fixed incomes, single moms, the working homeless, the rubbah slippah folks.

Hector Valenzuela, at the last Council hearing, advised organic farmers to seek high-end niche markets. He knows organics cannot provide affordable food for most of us. I agree. More than 90 percent of the food calories produced on the Big Island is produced by conventional farmers. Bill 113 will make the conventional farmers less competitive and less able to adapt to change. And that will threaten our food security.

Bottom line is how are we going to feed all of us. We need
to provide affordable food for the most defenseless among us. It is not a solution to provide food that people cannot afford. Biotech solutions can be a part of the solution. They will benefit everyone.

We should not throw that option away.

The Big Island has the lowest median family income in the state. We must find a way to provide lower cost food for the most defenseless among us. This is where the precautionary principle should apply. There are real social consequences to low median family income.

There are more Hawaiians living outside of Hawai‘i than live
in Hawai‘i. If we do not figure out how to provide affordable food, even more Hawaiians will be living outside of Hawaii.

Kill this bill, and start over with a study group that includes the stakeholders, including conventional farmers. It is not a matter of who is right, so much a matter of what is right. Good luck; this is not easy.