Eco-Warrior Profile: A Hawaiian Environmental Activist on Her A-ha Moment and Our Food System

1 month ago 2 min read
July 9, 2020
By: Ruth Fein

Today’s options make the switch to vegan easy and delicious!

In Hawaii, the climate crisis is top of mind for so many people, says Eco-Warrior Doorae, an environmental and ocean activist there. “Living on a small island, we see sea level rise happening and we see plastic pollution inundating our beaches.”
 
Awareness of the issue and love for nature is something foundational to native Hawaiians, according to Doorae, and others who now call it home as she does. The avid surfer and vegan pot-luck enthusiast recently told The Oxygen Project about her climate journey and priorities.
“I realized climate change was bad when I watched ‘An Inconvenient Truth’ in high school. I moved to Hawaii to go to college when I was 18, and then it really hit me how bad it was.”
 
Living in Hawaii, “I really had my a-ha moment that the climate crisis was an all-hands-on-deck issue and that this was a pivotal moment in history,” she says. “I decided I didn’t want to look back on my life realizing I did nothing to help. So I changed my major to Sustainability Studies, got immersed in environmental activism, and never looked back.”
 
For Doorae, many early experiences added another level of commitment for the work she chose.
 
“I’ll never forget a week I spent with 20 other young environmental leaders, uncovering our personal stories in a teepee that we built together. It was such a meaningful leadership development opportunity and a way to bond with fellow teen and 20-something-year-old activists who were on such a similar journey.”
 
She is passionate about how every human is in a position to make a meaningful contribution to climate change.
 
“People here are deeply connected to nature,” she says, “but there is also a lot of economic inequality that leads to huge swaths of our population being unable to dedicate their energy and resources into helping the problem.”
As a global village, what’s our biggest opportunity to reverse climate change? Doorae believes it is our food system. “Food production is the leading cause of the climate crisis, particularly animal food production,” she says. “The movement to move people towards eating plant-based and vegan (foods) is imperative to our ability to solve this problem, from both an individual and an institutional level.
 
“We need a healthy, low-impact food system in harmony with nature that does not destroy ecosystems and exploit animals. There are so many plant-based food options that the switch to eating plant-based is now incredibly easy and delicious.” She thinks “veganism (and capitalism) just aren’t talked about enough.”
 
Doorae’s fear? “People are too stubborn and addicted to convenience to embrace the fact that our lifestyles and realities will need to drastically change if we are serious about solving the climate crisis.”
 
Outside of her environmental work, Doorae loves to surf, enjoy the beach, hang out with friends, have vegan potlucks.
 
What would she do with a million dollars if she had it to donate to a cause? “I would invest my money in fixing our food system. Investing in plant-based foods to replace commonly consumed animal foods would create so much relief on the environmental pressures of food production.”