For 10 days last month, Hawai‘i was at the center of global attention as more than 10,000 participants from 192 countries met at the IUCN World Conservation Congress to discuss how to move the planet from “a tipping point to a turning point,” with the link between island culture and the natural world at the forefront.
Joining the delegates were 1,000 students who attended a “Students’ Day Youth Challenge.” As part of the Congress Legacy Initiative, First lady Dawn Amano-Ige announced $60,000 had been donated from Kamehameha Schools, the Harold K.L.Castle Foundation and the Public Schools of Hawaii Foundation to fund school conservation projects.
The governor told the international audience, “The conclusion of the IUCN Congress is the beginning of the real work. Hawai‘i is committed to working with our global partners to make change happen.”
The governor detailed his Sustainable Hawai‘i Initiative, which includes:
• Protecting 30 percent of our highest priority watersheds by 2030;
• Effectively managing 30 percent of our nearshore ocean waters by 2030;
• Doubling the state’s local food production by 2020;
• Developing the first Hawai‘i Interagency Biosecurity Plan to prevent, detect and control invasive species;
• Reaching 100 percent renewable energy use in the electricity sector by 2045; and
• Joining the Global Island Partnership to develop locally and culturally appropriate models for sustainability.
Why 30 percent? According to scientists, this number represents a “tipping point” or crucial marker beyond which it is difficult to reverse negative effects. One thing is certain: Hawai‘i left its mark on a world stage at the Congress, along with a set of 100 commitments approved by the delegates to chart a better course for Island Earth.