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by Makana Shook, staff writer

 

“I can do with a little less so that my children can have a little more,” said Terry Tamminen, keynote speaker at the Hawai‘i 2050 Sustainability Summit on Sept. 22 at the Hilton Hawaiian Village Coral Ballroom. “We must leave more for our children than what we inherited from our parents,” he emphasized. Tamminen is the former Cabinet secretary and the chief policy advisor to Arnold Schwarzenegger, governor of California

The purpose of the Hawai‘i 2050 Sustainability Summit was to unveil the much anticipated draft plan for 2050, which was compiled by the state sustainability task force after more than a year’s work of gathering information from the community.

The draft plan identifies five primary goals:

· Goal 1: To make sustainability a way of life throughout our entire state.

· Goals 2 and 3: To ensure a delicate balance between a booming and prosperous economy and a flourishing and protected environment, never losing sight of reducing our reliance on carbon-based fuels and increasing our supplies of in wind, biomass, solar, and wave energies.

· Goal 4: To create a community that gives our local residents every opportunity to live healthy and fulfilling lives in Hawai‘i, never needing to leave Hawai‘i to be afforded these things.

· Goal 5: To protect and honor the Kanaka Maoli, the host culture of our islands.

The highlight of the summit was the presentation from nine high school students of the Honolulu Advertiser’s Teen Editorial Board, moderated by Andrew Aoki of Kanu, Hawai‘i, a group of young professionals dedicated to a positive future for Hawai‘i, and Jeanne Mariani-Belding of the Honolulu Advertiser. The students represented the 250 high schoolers from public, private, and charter schools statewide who were invited to participate in a 2050 Youth Sustainability Summit on Sept. 21, on issues related to creating a sustainable future for our state.

In their half-hour session, Hawai‘i’s future generation expressed concerns about the state’s high cost of living and its lack of affordable housing, the need for a cohesive curriculum from elementary through high school, higher wages for working people, to restore faith and pride in our state and colleges, and the also the importance of supporting local farmers for Hawai‘i to be independent on our own resources.

When the students were asked to raise their hands if they saw themselves living in Hawai‘i at the age of 35, no hands went up. These high school students aren’t old enough to have the means to buy homes or rent, yet they already believe that a home in Hawai‘i is not a possibility, but rather a luxury they just can’t afford.

The most important message from the students was their plea for a reason to live here. Without it, they see themselves being driven out of this paradise that they see their parents struggling to afford.
The key to a sustainable Hawai‘i starts with changing the mindset of the people that live here. We must share the message that sustainable living second nature and a part our everyday lives. Only then can we truly become a leader in the effort to create a sustainable world.

The draft Hawai‘i 2050 Sustainability Plan is available for review and comment at www.hawaii2050.org.

 


A panel of high school students discussed their future in Hawai‘i.

Photo by Makana Shook

 

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