“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
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
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
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