Maui News

Arakawa: Leaders Formalize Joint Sustainability Commitment

August 18, 2014, 8:36 AM HST
* Updated August 18, 3:10 PM
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Aloha+ Challenge: Governor Neil Abercrombie (left) and Hawaiʻi County Mayor Billy Kenoi. Courtesy photo, Office of the Governor. .

Aloha+ Challenge: Governor Neil Abercrombie (left) and Hawaiʻi County Mayor Billy Kenoi. Courtesy photo, Office of the Governor. .

By Wendy Osher

In an effort to achieve a culture of sustainability in the islands, Maui Mayor Alan Arakawa joined his mayoral colleagues across the state, Governor Neil Abercrombie, and the Office of Hawaiian Affairs in jointly launching the Aloha+ Challenge.

The joint leadership commitment sets clear targets in six areas to reach by 2030–among them, the establishment of 70% clean energy from renewables and efficiency, as well as doubling local food production.

Arakawa detailed the six initiatives during an exclusive interview with Maui Now, the list of which includes the following:

1.  Clean Energy: pursue at least 70% clean energy, at least 40% from renewables with 30% efficiency by 2030. State officials say this reinforces the Hawaiʻi Clean Energy Initiative.

Aloha+ Challenge. Courtesy photo, Office of the Governor. .

Aloha+ Challenge. Courtesy photo, Office of the Governor. .

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2. Local Foods: at least double food production by 2030. 20-30% of food consumed is to be grown locally.

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3. Natural Resource Management: reverse the trend of natural resources lost mauka to makai, and increase watershed protection, community based  on marine management, invasive species control, and restoration of native species.

4. Waste Reduction: reduce solid waste stream prior to disposal by 70% through source reduction, recycle & bio-conversions.

5. Smart Growth and Smart Sustainable Communities: to increase livability and resilience and built-in environmental planning and implementation at the state and county levels.

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6. Green Workforce: increase local green jobs and education and implement all of the targets mentioned above.

“We’re all tied in and we all agreed that these goals are what each of the counties are going to be working on and the state is going to be working on to try and bring Hawaiʻi to a much, much more ambitious green approach by 2030,” said Mayor Arakawa.

Arakawa said the county has dozens of projects that are tied into the Aloha+ Challenge.

“When I first got into elected office, we were doing almost no studies of the ocean and we started doing baseline studies; and now we probably have 30 to 40 different kinds of ocean studies going on. We were allowing water and all of the runoff to go directly into ocean; now we have siltation basins and sedimentation basins. We have policies that all water leaving a project must be treated on site,” said Arakawa.

The mayor also noted the purchase of property that will help towards meeting the goals outlined in the initiative.

“We have programs that are purchasing property like Launiupoko along the coastline. We’re trying to get the area from Pāʻia to Pāʻia-Baldwin. We’ve purchased property in Paukukalo along the coastline. We’re trying to build areas so that we can have open space preservation. We’re working with trying to increase our ag parks and the programs would be schools learning about agriculture. We’re trying to create more water resources so that we can do agriculture.”

Arakawa also said the county is working towards acquiring watersheds to protect them from being purchased by foreign investors.

Senator J Kalani English of Maui who chairs the Senate Committee on Transportation and International Affairs and primary introducer of SCR69, the resolution supporting the Aloha+ Challenge said, “The Aloha+ Challenge will help keep us on the path to a sustainable future through coordinated efforts and strategic investments. It’s a commitment by government and our partners to hit our goal marks for clean energy, local food production, natural resource management, waste reduction, smart sustainable communities and green jobs and education.”

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