Hawai‘i’s message to the world on climate change

Posted on Sep 27, 2021 in Capitol Connection, Featured, Main
The Hawaii delegation at the 2021 IUCN World Conservation Congress in France. Gov. Ige addresses the Hawaii delegation.

The Hawaii delegation at the 2021 IUCN World Conservation Congress in France. Gov. Ige addresses the Hawaii delegation.

“We can create a better world. We just have to make it a priority and work for it.” That message drove the recent IUCN World Conservation Congress, Sept. 3-11, in France and underscored why global events like it are so important. We’ve heard the dire warnings before, but natural disasters over the past few months have made climate change more real than ever. “The nation and the world are in peril,” said President Joe Biden after seeing the devastation from Hurricane Ida. “That’s not hyperbole. That is a fact.”

Governor Ige addressed the IUCN remotely — an event last held in 2016 when Hawai‘i was the host. He stressed how islands are on the frontlines of climate change. “The culture of conservation that permeates our indigenous values and ways of relating to the natural environment are inspiring and driving progress,” he said.  He described Hawai‘i’s leadership in improved biosecurity, 30×30 marine and terrestrial conservation, restoring watersheds and native forests, and reducing our reliance on fossil fuels and committing to 100% renewable energy. Representatives from Hawai‘i’s community-based conservation groups, cultural practitioners and the state Department of Land and National Resources (DLNR) attended the event in person or virtually. “Hawai‘i brings a unique and powerful message to the world — of close conservation and culture connections, ambitious goals and strong partnerships and collaboration to implement them — with aloha as the overarching value,” said DLNR director Suzanne Case.

Conservation partners from the state Department of Land and Natural Resources, the Hawaii Invasive Species Council and other community organizations: (from left) Chelsea Arnott, Christy Martin, Laura Brewington, and Rachel Neville.

Conservation partners from the state Department of Land and Natural Resources, the Hawaii Invasive Species Council and other community organizations: (from left) Chelsea Arnott, Christy Martin, Laura Brewington, and Rachel Neville.

One of the major victories for the Hawai‘i delegation was helping lead the creation of the IUCN’s new Climate Crisis Commission. “(This commission) with a single focus to implement a unified plan to save the Earth will protect future generations, indigenous people and nature,” according to an IUCN statement. The Hawai‘i Conservation Alliance was a co-sponsor of the proposal, urging organizations worldwide to take unified action on climate change.

Read more in the October Capitol Connection newsletter.

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