Words by Jeff Mull

With thousands of concertgoers nestled into the arms of Diamond Head, Jack Johnson painted Honolulu a vibrant shade of eco-green with his fifth annual Kokua Festival over the course of Earth Day weekend.

Jack and the people behind the Kokua Fest (one of the Islands’ most anticipated events) ensured that every aspect of the concert remained environmentally friendly and green to the core. From the bike valet for those that opted to choose the pedal over the engine, to the numerous waste stations designed to collect compost, to the dozens of environmental booths set up to raise awareness in support of local and global green issues, the concert pulled out all the stops to remain an Earth-friendly event.

“We’re really excited to be here at Kokua and to be a part of this concert,” said Mark Cunningham, North Shore bodysurfing legend and spokesperson for the “Keep the Country COUNTRY” movement. “It’s a really positive thing … it’s one of the great contemporary happenings in Hawaii.”

With the success of this year’s Kokua Fest, a monumental step has been taken in the way events and concerts are planned and organized. If some of the world’s biggest musicians can play for a capacity crowd while raising awareness about the environmental perils facing the world today, all the while hosting a zero-waste, carbon-neutral event, who knows what we can do?

All proceeds raised by the Kokua Festival benefit the Kokua Hawaii Foundation, created by Jack and his wife, Kim.

Ways Kokua Stayed Green

* Zero-waste collection sites for recyclables, food waste, and compostables were featured on the grounds and later separated by students from local schools.

* A bike valet service, electric trolley, and carpool incentives were featured for those who chose not to drive.

* Promoting the use of reusable water bottles and providing free-water stations.

* Festival generators and vehicles were run on locally-made biodiesel.

* The event featured biodegradable concession ware.

* The remaining emissions were offset with clean-energy development in Hawaii.

Watch the footage of the festival here!

>>> Click here for more coverage of Kokua Fest ’08.

Kauai-born writer Jeff Mull graduated from the University of Hawaii, worked in California as an editor for Surfer magazine, and is now a freelance.