Hawaii 2050 Sustainability Plan
Goal 1: A Way of Life
Living sustainably is part of our daily practice in Hawai‘i
A new way of embracing Hawai‘i and the world
By 2050, our goal is that sustainability will be a way of life for all Hawai‘i residents; not a technical term used by environmentalists, planners and political leaders. Integrating this ethic cannot be confined to government policy, but rather it is a fundamental shift in our understanding of our economy, society and environment. This goal, more than any of the others, requires the collective action of all.
Responsibility of all
All sectors and individuals must play an active and vital role. Individuals in their role as consumers must be conscious about how their actions impact our economy, community and environment. The informed and responsible person can determine what products and services are purchased, what kind of energy is used, how much water is consumed, and how the environment is managed. In many respects, our individual daily practices can determine whether we achieve a sustainable Hawai‘i.
Government must lead and set an example. Government is the largest employer and consumer in the state. Its actions and policies can make dramatic shifts on whether we meet our sustainable future, including retrofitting old facilities, purchasing hybrid cars, and buying biodegradable products. The business community can also lead in finding opportunities to move towards sustainable practices. In the long-run, it can be more profitable, and consumers who are rapidly purchasing “green” products and services will likely respond accordingly.
Engaging young people
Young people are our greatest asset. They are open and enthusiastic about sustainability as a mainstream concept. They use technology to connect with each other on this topic, and are developing their own environmental and community-based movement to plan for Hawai‘i’s future. Kanu Hawai‘i, Envision Hawai‘i, Sustain Hawai‘i, Sustainability Saunders and other efforts are independently building a sustainability movement that doesn’t resemble anything from a previous generation. This cultural phenomenon is best described by a t-shirt seen on a young Maui woman reading “sustainability is sexy.” It is young people who will be able to popularize and energize planning for the future and embed it into the everyday actions of the next generation.
The role of education and public awareness
Part of creating a sustainability ethic can be done through the Department of Education and through independent schools. Integrating a curriculum is a straightforward, measurable way to directly educate the next generation about these concerns. But the effort has to expand beyond that. It has to be embraced by churches, temples, youth groups, canoe clubs and others. This social movement is already building and it cannot be confined to government action. We must also invest in a public awareness campaign about sustainability, and encourage cross-sector dialogue to address key long-term and sustainability issues facing our state.
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