Exploring the Climate Crisis In Hawai'i
Combat Climate Change Today
Aloha sunshine! Welcome to Save Our Happy Place, a newsletter making it easy for you to help protect the places you love from climate change. As part of our core climate activism philosophy here at SOHP, we believe it is essential to celebrate and educate ourselves on how the climate crisis is affecting the places we love.
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As part of a series to introduce you to fellow community members and their happy places, this week our guest climate action curator is the amazing Katie Zuber. She is a climate activist, environmentalist, mother, and Director of Communications for the Hawai’i Farmers Union. She will be familiarizing us with the current climate status in Hawai’i and how we can help save her happy place.
Exploring the Climate Crisis in Hawai’i
What Hawai’i Can Teach Us About Connecting to Nature
When imagining our happy places, for many of us that place is Hawai’i and what we feel so connected to is its intense integration with and celebration of the natural world. Hawai’i has a long history of fostering connections between humans and the natural world. This is embodied through “Mana” the spiritual energy that is present in humans, plants, animals, and all objects. This connectivity makes humans a direct relation to everything on Earth and harbors a sense of responsibility for nature as family members and friends. Nature is not something to master, control, or manipulate. In ancient Hawaiian culture, humans are the caretakers, while plants and animals are the guardians.
Nature is where it all begins for the Hawaiians. In fact, they call themselves keiki o ka 'aina, the "children of the land." - M. J. Harden
This sentiment still rings true today as the people of Hawai’i have made it one of the leading states in environmental quality, eco-friendly behaviors like reusing materials and carpooling, and climate-change contributions including solar power and electric cars.
“E hele me ka pu’olo.” Always make every person, place or condition better than you left it. – Hawaiian Proverb
The Climate Crisis in Hawai’i
As a chain of islands, Hawai’i can anticipate being affected greatly by climate change. Fortunately, many Hawaiian politicians recognize this and are working to pass effective climate change legislation, setting an example globally. A big win that we can all learn from was the recently passed “performance-based regulation” financial incentive reforms that called for Hawaiian Electric to sell and install solar panels for their customers. In the past 6 months, this utility company has decreased the average installation time of solar panels by three weeks.
How Hawai’i May Be Impacted
Rising sea levels will swallow an estimated 40% of Hawai’i beaches by 2050.
Warming waters cause increased storms and thus severe damage.
Warming waters cause coral bleaching to occur and thus killing reefs.
Increased number of wildfires.
Increased sea surface and air temperatures.
Increased coastal erosion and extreme rain.
What’s on the docket for Hawai’i?
Hawai’i is no novice when it comes to introducing planet-saving legislation. There are several bills currently in session in the Hawai’i State House and Senate that cover solutions related to food safety, food hubs, farm mentorship programs, carbon sequestration incentives, organic waste, sustainable food systems, and many more.
Take Action to Support Climate Mitigation Measures in Hawai’i
Protect sacred landscapes from air tours
What? Contact the National Park Service and ask them to ban low-flying commercial air tours to protect our parks and landscapes sacred to Native Hawaiians.
Why? The noise and disruption of low-flying aircraft impacts the wildlife, designated wilderness, and prevent us from hearing natural sounds.
How? Click link to send message. (Estimated 1 minute)
Help Hawai’i create healthy soils and cover plant programs
What? Contact Hawaii representatives encouraging them to support bills HB1804 (Healthy Soils Program) and HB1527 (Cover Crop Reimbursement Pilot Program), and SB 2218, SD1 a food hub bill that requires the Department of Agriculture to establish a five-year food hub pilot program to increase access to local food. It will provide for the award of grant funding to qualified applicants wishing to establish or expand a food hub.
Why? Protecting soil quality and using cover crops while farming and then increasing access to those crops by connecting small farmers with diverse markets are some of the most effective tactics for carbon sequestration.
How? Email rephashem@Capitol.hawaii.gov to request that these bills get passed. (Estimated 2 minutes).
Support climate change bills in Hawai’i
What? Keep a pulse on climate bills and efforts going in Hawai’i including important updates, key stakeholders, and annual reports through the Hawaii State Climate Change Portal.
Why? Helping to protect Hawai’i contributes to greater global climate efforts and helps protect our favorite places and the planet at large from the worst effects of climate change.
How? Supporting bills surrounding climate change is very easy to do on this website: Hawaii State Legislature. Create an account to support and provide testimony for various important bills before they go to a hearing. (Estimated 5 minutes).
Meet Katie Zuber
Happy Place: Hawai’i
Where is your happy place?
Swimming in the clear blue ocean, opening my eyes underwater.
What inspired you to become a part of the climate movement?
The documentary ‘The Human Footprint’ came out in 2007 and changed my worldview completely. Realizing that everything we throw away has to go somewhere and that the Earth cannot swallow our trash for too much longer.
What is one thing you recommend someone do while visiting?
Visit public parks and public beaches. Learn about the Hawaiian and Polynesian cultures. Pay attention.
What is one thing people in / or visiting Hawai’i can do to be more mindful of their environmental impact?
Do not follow illegitimate guidebooks, pull over on the side of the road to explore, park illegally, trespass, etc. Be extremely respectful and stay on the paved path. Hawai’i is not a playground. Find a local beach clean-up if you can and support the local farmers at the farmer’s market.
Rays of Sunshine
The Headlines We’re Happy to See
Red Hill underground fuel storage to permanently close ending the water contamination in Oahu. - Read More
Hawai’i Judge ruled in favor of a Honolulu effort to hold oil companies accountable for climate change impacts amid an attempt by Chevron, Sunoco, and ExxonMobil to dismiss the lawsuit. - Read More
Hawai’i Governor urges bolder climate action stating Net-zero is not good enough. - Read More
Hawai’i instates a deadline for 100% renewable energy utilities by 2045. - Read More
Bills for compost reimbursement programs and organic waste diversion plan passed in the Hawai’i State House. - Read More
450-acre solar farm approved and planned construction for 2022 in Maui. - Read More
Hawai’i Island (Big Island) is getting a 30-megawatt solar farm in 2022, its first utility-scale solar farm. - Read More
Hawai’i banned sunscreens that harm the ocean. - Read More
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