By Della Watson
Grilled | Democracy Now | Calling All Millennial Movers and Shakers
Invading the Privacy of the People Who Make the Club Tick
Photo by Dana Edmunds
Rick Kaponowaiwaiola Barboza
Horticulturalist, Hawaii Chapter newsletter columnist and board member
[Laughs] Well, I mean, yeah, it looks trippy. It looks like it should be in Jurassic Park.
I sampled it. Even if things are slightly poisonous, you gotta taste it to see what degree of poison it is, you know.
Not all the time, but if there's documentation that it was used in Hawaiian culture somehow, then I'll try it, yeah.
No non-culturally significant plants. Our ecosystem is just too fragile.
Let me put it this way: Hawaii has been around for 70 million years and has about 1,400 native plant species that we know of. Today, more than 10,000 plants have been naturalized in Hawaii. We've completely altered the environment here. And so that's why I say, nah! I don't want anything non-native.
It's easy to go and drive into a nice, heavily vegetated forest, and they think they're surrounded by this Hawaiian beauty. But few of the plants in that forest are Hawaiian. Like right now I'm looking out my window into this lush valley, and most of the plants in this valley are non-Hawaiian.
Watching sports, hiking, surfing, playing poker, and spending time with my family.
It depends on who you talk to. [Laughs] I used to go to Vegas a lot, which is probably anti—Sierra Club due to the amount of energy consumed.
Yeah, that's my vice. But it kinda runs in the family. We get together almost on a weekly basis, and we play cards together. The whole family--mom, dad, sisters, grandma.
She's awesome at it. She really, really is. She's the matriarch of this poker-playing habit.
Very much. I have a girlfriend and a young son, 10 months old. Hopefully he'll continue on the push for native plants and strive to be the best poker player in the world.
—interview by Della Watson
Do you know a Sierra Club volunteer who deserves recognition? Send nominations to email@example.com.
Don't forget to cast your vote by April 20 in the annual election for the Sierra Club's Board of Directors. Ballots can be mailed in or filled out online during the first week of March.
Calling All Millennial Movers and Shakers
Sproggers strike a pose in Puerto Rico. | Photo by Lisa Fouladbash
Meet other young activists and learn grassroots organizing skills
at the Sierra Student Coalition's summer leadership program, nicknamed "Sprog." To sign up for one of the weeklong, peer-led training programs or to donate, go to ssc.org/sprog.