Pro race car driver builds up speed to save planet - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Pro race car driver builds up speed to save planet

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Leilani Munter Leilani Munter

By Mari-Ela David - bio | email

HONOLULU (KHNL) - A professional race car driver is taking her environmental campaign to Hawaii's roads. She's known as one of the fastest women in the NASCAR and Indy Car scene and has returned here to her mom's home state for her 'Race to Save the Planet' Hawaii tour.

Leilani Munter's mission is to raise awareness about a situation she says is dire and requires our urgent attention.

Sports Illustrated calls her one of the top ten female race car drivers in the world. But what really makes Munter stand out is her ability to combine her passion for the planet with her life in the fast lane.

For every race she enters, she buys an acre of rain forest.

"When I go to the race track, and I run a race, those are unavoidable emissions that I can't really do anything about so I adopt and protect an acre of rain forest for each race that I enter to offset the carbon footprint that I'm making by racing a car," said Munter.

For the 32-year-old Minnesota native, protecting Hawaii's coral reefs and fragile underwater ecosystems hits home for her.

"My mom is from Hawaii. She was born and raised in Holualoa on the Big Island so I have family ties here," she said.

Munter has tag-teamed with the Conservation Council of Hawaii to raise awareness on the islands, and across the world.

Using her spotlight in the NASCAR and Indy Car scene and her biology degree, Munter hopes to save the earth by reaching out to the 100 million race fans in the United States.

"I want to promote recycling, I want to promote CFL light bulbs, I want to promote canvas grocery bags. The small things that each of the race fans can do, that when you multiply it by 100 million race fans in the United States, can have a really big effect," said Munter.

Munter will be speaking on Monday at the State Capitol Auditorium from 6:30 to 9 p.m. Afterwards, she'll be signing autographs. Munter will also make several appearances over the weekend.

For details on her Hawaii tour, go to our website and click on 'Race to Save the Planet Tour' on this page or under 'News Links'.