In the last week of September, world leaders came together for the United Nations Climate Change Summit in New York to discuss the current state of the world’s climate and sustainability. Maui County was represented by Makale’a Ane, the county‘s environmental coordinator. While in New York, Ane also attended several events related to issues facing communities living on the islands, such as fires, floods, loss of coral reefs, rising sea levels, and severe weather.
“The climate crisis threatens to dramatically alter people’s relationships with the land on which they rely,” Ane said. “Meanwhile, many climate solutions are themselves land-intensive, including solar and wind energy, carbon dioxide removal, and strategic relocation. Finding places for people, displaced by climate change, to live and grow food dramatically increases competition for land, whereas Indigenous populations have historically been pushed to the margins of society and are underrepresented in these discussions.”
At the UN Summit, two Hawai’i organizations were recognized with the prestigious Equator Prize for their sustainability achievements. Local awardees were Hui Maka‘ainana o Makana on Kaua‘i and Hui Malama O Mo‘omomi on Moloka‘i.
The Hui Malama O Mo‘omomi has been a part of Maui Nui Makai Network since 2013 and was formed in 1993 to preserve local resources of fish for future generations. It promotes better, more sustainable fishing practices and fishery management on the North Shore of Moloka’i and teaches the younger generation how to adopt traditional Hawaiian fishing techniques in a modern world.
“I am incredibly proud of these two groups, and I’m especially excited for our friends on Moloka‘i. As sustainable community initiatives take root throughout the tropics, they are laying the foundation for a global movement of local successes,” commented Ane at the Summit. “I look forward to implementing Mayor Victorino’s commitment to develop a Maui County Resiliency Strategy that will incorporate island values, [traditional ecological knowledge], locally-driven, and nature-based solutions to meet the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.”
Image courtesy County of Maui