Mayor Joins Effort to Raise the Profile on Climate Change
In an unprecedented show of unity and purpose, Hawaiʻi and other island leaders gathered on Thursday to significantly raise the profile on climate change.
With scientists voicing growing alarm about rapidly changing world temperatures, sea level rise and potential displacement of populations, islands are demonstrating their leadership in finding solutions and implementing action to achieve an economically, socially and environmentally sustainable future.
Maui Mayor Michael Victorino said the County of Maui is committed to achieving balanced economic, community, and environmental priorities through statewide intergovernmental collaborations with public-private partners on the Aloha+ Challenge. “Our island values and the health of our communities are of utmost importance, and the new partnership with the United Nations as a Local2030 sustainability hub recognizes what Hawai‘i has to offer the world,” said Victorino.
In addition to signing a Declaration of Commitment to Sustainability for Hawaiʻi, leaders and the public celebrated the five-year anniversary of the Aloha+ Challenge, which, along with the state’s commitment to achieving 100% renewable energy by 2045 and signing on to the Paris Agreement, led to the United Nation’s recognition of the Hawaiʻi Green Growth Local2030 Islands Hub.
Governor David Ige said the gathering of leaders shows a collective commitment to fighting global climate change. “Our fight started long before today and will continue well into the future. Hawaiʻi is committed to working with island leaders from around the world to implement and track progress made. By partnering, we can scale models that advance the global sustainability model,” said Gov. Ige.
As a United Nations Hub, Hawaiʻi, in collaboration with the Global Island Partnership, will advance concrete initiatives and open-data platforms, scale successful models and build educational pathways for next generation’s leaders.
Hawaiʻi leaders from all branches and levels of government, along with United Nations and island representatives from the UN Global Compact Forum, Grenada, Aruba, and New Zealand, and public, private and civil society leaders – also signed the Malama Mandate, renewing their commitment to sustainability and climate priorities through island values and actions.
The unified front comes on the eve of Earth Day and the conclusion of the Mahalo, Hawai‘i Sail by Hōkūle‘a, the final leg of the Worldwide Voyage.
Maui’s J. Kalani English, Senate Majority Leader of the State of Hawaiʻi was among the government leaders on hand. He said, “Through the enactment of bold legislative measures, Hawaiʻi continues to be a global leader in addressing sustainability and climate change challenges,” said Senate Majority Leader J. Kalani English (Hāna, East and Upcountry Maui, Molokaʻi, Lānaʻi and Kahoʻolawe). “Our support for the United Nations’ 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Hawaiʻi Green Growth Local 2030 Islands Hub further builds on a history of systems-thinking and traditional knowledge. It also reinforces our commitment to the protection and sustainability of our people, communities, natural resources and economic prosperity.”
“The Legislature supports the ambitious 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development designed to put the world on a path toward a more sustainable, equitable, and prosperous future,” said House Speaker Scott K. Saiki.
“Over the past five years, we have worked together to pass legislation supporting sustainable solutions, including modernizing the energy grid, setting the goal of 100 percent renewable electricity by 2045, and enacting ratepayer protections. The Legislature remains committed to achieving our objectives in the areas of conservation, sustainability, and economic development,” said Speaker Saiki.
Ronald Kouchi, State of Hawaiʻi, President of the Senate also commented saying, “This marks the 5th year anniversary of the State of Hawaiʻi endorsing and supporting the Aloha+ Challenge through Senate Concurrent Resolution (SCR) 69, that set ambitious goals of sustainability for the state by the year 2030. I am proud to say that on Kauai, the Kauai Island Utility Co-op currently uses 53% renewable energy to provide the island with electricity and hopes to be using 63% by the end of the year – well beyond the proposed 40% renewable energy use targeted by SCR69. With regard to food sustainability, Kauai’s two state run hospitals are serving Kauai produced locally sourced meals, with an eye toward expanding this program to all fifteen public schools on Kauai. Although we have made tremendous strides toward sustainability, there remains much to accomplish if we are to remain on the path to self-sufficiency.”
US Senator Brian Schatz noted that the Aloha Challenge started as an idea to take the state’s values and accomplishments and turn them into action. “Today, that notion is no longer an aspiration. It’s no longer theoretical. It’s happening. And the rest of the world is paying attention, because we are setting the standard for how things should be done,” said Senator Schatz.
US Representative Tulsi Gabbard also weighed in saying, “Hawai‘i is leading the change we need to make to protect our environment for future generations, and doing so through our collective commitment to the Aloha+ Challenge. The progress we are making towards making global impact is due to local action, leading with aloha for each other, our ʻāina and the world we all share. Mahalo to the Hawaiʻi Green Growth partnership, our UN Local2030 Hub, for your dedication to securing a more sustainable future for our Island Earth.”