Hawai`i is a special place in innumerable ways. The primacy of the natural environment is a common thread.
The Hawaiian culture is premised on respect for natural resources. The ancient Hawaiian ahupua`a system of land and water management efficiently allocated resources among all elements of society and, perhaps as important, among both current and future generations. Communities were organized, from mountain to ocean, to sustainably use and protect watershed resources. Hawaiians may have been the first to practice smart growth. Indeed, ahupua`a principles inform modern long-range planning throughout Hawai`i and elsewhere.
Hawai`i has long recognized the inextricable connection between environmental justice and social justice. The official state motto is Ua Mau ke Ea o ka `Āina i ka Pono (the life of the land is perpetuated in righteousness).
Hawai`i is also home to a wide array of endangered species - on the land, in the water and in the air. Bishop Museum says Hawai`i is "the Endangered Species Capital of the World."
The state's beautiful natural environment is a key reason Hawai`i's visitor industry has been so successful. And, thankfully, tourism promoters have recognized that Hawai`i's beauty isn't just in its beaches, mountains, and indigenous plants and animals. It's also in the people who live here and try to find harmony with nature and among themselves.
Hawai`i is also providing an example for the world in aggressively trying to harness our state's abundant renewable-energy sources: wind, sun, waves, geothermal, biofuels. High-tech green jobs can sustain Hawai`i and inspire innovators and policy makers across the globe
Obviously, the environment is an especially big deal in Hawai`i. So, it's major news when those who work every day to preserve natural resources choose a candidate in a significant election.
Congresswoman Mazie Hirono of Hawai`i has been endorsed for U.S. Senate by the Sierra Club and Ocean Champions.
Please follow me below for some Earth Day quotes from the Sierra Club, Ocean Champions, and Mazie.
Steve Montgomery, Ph.D., is political chair for the Sierra Club's Hawai`i chapter. He said Hirono has "a proven record of protecting Hawaii’s clean water, special places, and spectacular biodiversity while putting Hawaii on a path to a sustainable future" and understands "that transitioning to sustainable solutions — like developing clean energy and increasing local food production — is the basis for a strong economy."
Ocean Champions, which describes itself as the only political voice for the ocean, is putting more resources into electoral politics than ever before. The organization explains its vision:
The philosophy of Ocean Champions is that ocean users, in concert with traditional ocean conservation organizations, are the key to saving the oceans. We believe that fishermen, divers, surfers, sailors, kayakers, boaters, beachgoers, environmentalists and others who have a direct and passionate connection to the oceans make up a huge constituency that has the power to persuade Congress and state legislatures to take action to protect our oceans.From her Congressional office, Mazie offered the following statement on Friday:
There’s much to celebrate on this Earth Day as we recognize the robust efforts in our island state to protect Hawaii’s environment while working toward fuel and food sustainability.Links:
Hawaii continues to show great leadership when it comes to promoting renewable energy and creating green jobs. Our hotels and resorts are installing solar photovoltaic panels for energy, while recycling the water used in their air conditioning systems. Our military partners continue to push toward their goals of having Hawaii’s installations becoming more energy self-sufficient. In my district, Pahoa Elementary and Intermediate School and Hawaii Preparatory Academy have earned prestigious Green Ribbon School nominations for their work in meeting LEED Gold Standards as well as taking the lead in conservation and recycling efforts on campus.
The work continues in Washington, DC, where I’ve introduced legislation that would support partnerships between community colleges and businesses to help train people for jobs in Hawaii’s growing green sector. It would enhance the quality of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics programs in high schools and community colleges.
On this Earth Day, we can appreciate the work being done in the spirit of laulima – all of us coming together to protect our water, air, and 'āina.
Mazie for Hawaii
12:45 PM PT: I just a received an email from Mazie's campaign with this statement from the candidate:
"On Earth Day, I am honored that the Sierra Club and Ocean Champions have endorsed my candidacy for the United States Senate. This year's Earth Day theme, 'Mobilize the Earth: Living Green,' recognizes the importance of capturing the power of grassroots organizing to support a sustainable environment, and the Sierra Club and Ocean Champions are clearly leaders in this effort both nationally and in Hawaii.
"For hundreds of years, Native Hawaiians relied upon the land and the sea to develop a sustainable way of life. Unfortunately, Hawaii has strayed from this wise use of our natural resources, and we have become too dependent on other countries and the mainland for our food and our energy. Like the Sierra Club and Ocean Champions, I am committed to a more sustainable and secure Hawaii future that supports our local farmers and fishing industry and wisely invests in home-grown energy sources including ocean energy, solar power, biofuels, and wind. I welcome the endorsements of esteemed groups like the Sierra Club and Ocean Champions, which clearly understand that sustainability promotes the well-being of the people of Hawaii and reduces our dependence on foreign countries."