Almost 200 people packed into Kailua Elementary Cafeteria on a beautiful Sunday afternoon to hear 6 speakers and peruse tables set up by 10 different groups working on projects related to climate change. We are blessed to have political leaders that care about this issue — among the crowd were Representatives Cynthia Thielen, Representative Chris Lee, Senator Laura Thielen, and a staff person for Tulsi Gabbard.
Some of the information shared at the event – great resource for disaster preparedness and ways to reduce your carbon footprint – is available at windwardclimatechangehui.wordpress.com, and in the future a video of the talks will also be available at that site.
The first group of speakers talked about climate change impacts and vulnerabilities. Dr. Camilo Mora and Dr. Dolan Eversole from UH shared their own research on temperature change, the impact on plants and on sea level rise. Stuart Scott shared data from scientists working on methane releases in the Arctic. The take home message for all of them, was that climate change is well documented, there is no controversy among scientists about the cause, and that it is well underway based on data already directly observed. Predictions for trends include a range, but due to various feedbacks that are accelerating change, future trends show exponential rates of change. In short, this is not a problem for the future, not a problem we are leaving to our children. This problem has already started.
The second group of speakers focused on building resilience. Jeff Mikulina of the Blue Planet Foundation and Colin Yost of Revolusun spoke about ways in which we can reduce our energy use individually and as a State. Mikulina spoke about the importance of changing habits and some of the nifty technologies available to help people reduce their carbon footprint. Yost spoke about some of the challenges due to lack of investment in infrastructure to accommodate solar. He made a plea to have Hawaii go straight to investing in renewable energy, instead of using our funds to refit HECO plants to process natural gas.
Dr. Gerald Marten (yes, also this blogger’s father) of ecotippingpoints.com warned that with climate change, extreme weather is more frequent and has moved up the time within which we will be hit by a category 4 hurricane. He pointed out that there is no government body set up to provide food and water for one million people stuck in the middle of the Pacific. With the just-in-time food stocking of modern businesses, the private sector has a limited stock. If electricity is out, there will be no way to pump water into our homes. So, the only real solution is for the majority of the population to stock up on food and water themselves.
A big mahalo to all those that came to share!