Hawaii 2050 Sustainability Plan
Goal 3: Strategic Actions
1. Reduce reliance on fossil (carbon-based) fuels.
Energy use pervades all aspects of contemporary life, from vehicles to air conditioners, computers, dishwashers and dryers. About 95% of our primary energy supply is imported fossil fuel that contributes to global warming and the deterioration of our environment. There are other sources of energy that can be produced locally. We must reduce our reliance on fossil fuels by expanding renewable energy opportunities. We must rethink how we use energy by improving efficiencies in all that we do.
2. Conserve water and ensure adequate water supply.
- Expand renewable energy opportunities.
- Increase energy efficiency in private and public buildings, including retrofitting existing buildings.
- Improve energy efficiencies and options in transportation.
- Encourage the production and use of locally produced bio-fuels.
- Adopt building codes that encourage “green building” technology.
- Encourage all government agencies to adopt sustainable practices, including purchasing hybrid cars, buying biodegradable products, and mandating recycling.
We consume the most water per capita in the United States, 18% higher than the national average. The decline in agriculture gives our aquifers temporary relief, but with projected development and the use of agricultural lands for fuel production, usage will increase dramatically. A projected population increase of 300,000 residents by 2030 and increased demand for water from all sectors will further tax this precious resource. We must care for and manage our watersheds, uphold water quality standards, and support adequate infrastructure for residential, commercial and agricultural use.
3. Increase recycling, reuse and waste reduction strategies.
- Reduce water consumption by means of education and incentives.
- Encourage greater production and use of recycled water.
- Continually review water-conserving technologies for possible incorporation in county building codes.
- Encourage price structures for water use that furthers conservation.
- Require water conservation plans from large private users.
Recycling, reuse and waste reduction cuts down on the amount of energy and raw materials to make products, and reduces waste in the landfill. Paper products, glass, plastics, building materials, petroleum products, chemicals, and even cellular phones can be recycled or reused. This is one of the most straightforward strategic actions that can be undertaken now. Hawai‘i’s people are enthusiastic and determined about recycling. In fact, most want recycling mandated, and they want it now.
4. Provide greater protection for air, and land-, fresh water- and ocean
We are home to the most rare and sensitive ecosystems in the world, from upland rainforests to coral reefs. They form the foundation of our society from a biological and cultural perspective. It’s important to understand that our most pristine areas will not stay as they are if we just leave them alone. Because of invasive species, we need conservation officers on the ground, in the forests and marine habitats, monitoring these places and making sure that their biological integrity is preserved. The greatest threat to the health of our most biologically rich ecosystems is not just development – it is weeds. By protecting our habitat, we protect our native species. By protecting both, we ensure biological sustainability.
5. Conserve agricultural, open space and conservation lands and resources.
- Strengthen enforcement of habitat management.
- Fund public and private conservation education.
- Improve management of protected watershed areas.
- Incorporate the values and philosophy of the ahupua‘a resource management system as appropriate.
- Establish funding for invasive species control and native ecosystems protection.
We need to better conserve agricultural lands, open space and conservation lands. Integrating “smart growth” principles and compact patterns of urban development will enable us to better utilize urban lands and develop more sustainable communities. Building “up” rather than “out” will minimize sprawl, and better conserve our agricultural, open space and conservation lands.
6. Research and strengthen management initiatives to respond to
- Create compact patterns of urban development.
- Encourage “smart growth” concepts in land use and community planning.
rising sea levels, coastal hazards, erosion and other natural hazards.
With the realities of climate change, it is not outlandish to think that beachfront hotels in Waikiki could be under water some day. We must aggressively address the impact of global warming and rising sea levels for our island state.
7. Develop a comprehensive environmental mapping and measurement system to evaluate the overall health and status of Hawai‘i’s natural ecosystems.
Caring for the environment cannot be done on a piece-meal basis. Streams impact lands; lands impact the coast; the coast impacts our fisheries. We need a comprehensive way to research, study and evaluate the status our ecosystem.
print this page | download this section (PDF)download full plan (PDF)