Ground Zero Initiative

In 2017, 4 friends came together on the Big Island of Hawaiʻi to begin to create something beautiful. During festival season, we were seeing our friends and neighbors gather to celebrate music, sustainability, and our way of life on the Big Island, living close to the land and in harmony with nature. However, we also noticed that many of these festivals had the same needs- venues, transportation, electricity, waste management, etc., and the same impacts on climate and the environment...

Design Charrettes

That’s when the 4 of us hosted our very first “design charrette” in February 2018, bringing together festival and event producers to co-design solutions to mitigate the impacts of such gatherings. 

Festivals from around the island as well as from Minnesota were in attendance, sharing ideas and best practices for creating Zero- degree festivals- festivals that embody and foster climate- cooling culture. 

Before long, we decided to form as a non- profit organization. And so, Center for Getting Things Started (501(c)3) was officially launched in 2018 with the mission to initiate regenerative economy by fostering climate cooling culture. And what would we call this first initiative of ours? The Ground Zero Initiative- creating Pathways to zero for festivals and gatherings and creating the cooling economy.

We are off and running! 

This April, we hosted our second design charrette. Attendees collaborated to outline zero- degree practices for their festivals, including ways to collaborate and learn with festival vendors towards sustainability. We have further developed our Pathway to Zero protocol, plans for events to chart their way towards net- zero emissions. 

Composting at design charrette 2019

Afforestation and Reforestation 

Afforestation: the act or process of establishing a forest especially on land not previously forested

This year, we also hosted our first annual Coconut Planting Festival. Over the week of Earth Day 2019, we brought education for sustainability to the classroom, visiting local high schoolers to educate about the benefits of reforestation and afforestation for capturing carbon from the atmosphere. Then these students joined us, over 100 high school of them, to help plant 1,000 coconut trees and 100 culturally relevant Hala trees on the fresh lava land at Kalapana, Hawai’i.

Sustainability Consulting

Since our founding, we have been offering sustainability consulting services for our partner festivals. We help create a zero- degree culture by implementing zero- waste practices, offering options for off- setting carbon impact, and educating attendees about zero- degree and regenerative practices. 

We have accomplished all of this and more on an abundance of hope, laughter, and then only a shoestring budget! We are poised to grow, expanding our Ground Zero Initiative to reach more festivals and events in Hawai’i and beyond. 

Board members, left to right: Debbie Milikan, Gregory Paul, Koh Ming Wei, Scott Laaback, Carly Wyman.

Join us

We invite you to join us in creating the cooling economy! Your donation will go directly to supporting our Ground Zero Initiative programming in 2020- Ground Zero Charrette, Coconut Planting Festival, and Sustainability Consulting services. We will use funds raised for designing positive outcomes for our partner festivals, and developing our “pathways to zero,” catered to each event. Additionally, we will use funds raised for necessary supplies and staffing to make these events happen. We have been entirely volunteer- run from the beginning and we will draw on our strong volunteer network to continue bringing the Zero- Degree economy into reality. 

Thank you so much for your support, we couldnʻt have accomplished what we have so far were it not for our amazing network of volunteers and supporters. We hope you will join us in continuing to build the regenerative economy!

In gratitude, 

Carly, Scott, Ming Wei and Greg

Our Partners:



  • Ginny Cash
    • $25 
    • 3 yrs

Fundraising team (4)

Carly Schmarly
Raised $594 from 3 donations
Hilo, HI
Center For Getting Things Started
Registered nonprofit
Donations are typically 100% tax deductible in the US.
Scott Laaback
Team member
Raised $600 from 8 donations
Ming Wei Koh
Team member
Raised $100 from 1 donation
Gregory Paul
Team member
This team raised $305 from 7 other donations.
  • Other

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