State of the State: Highlights from the Governor's Address

Yesterday in his State of the State Address, Governor Ige touched on the many important issues we face here in Hawaiʻi--such as homelessness, traffic, unemployment, and many environmental issues, such as our reliance on fossil fuels, our commitment to a renewable energy future, food security, and global climate change. He was clear in his message that we must invest in the future, for our children and for future generations.

In order to invest in the future, it is crucial to look at our actions today and how they will impact the environment. The governor spoke of the many ways Hawaiʻi is working to protect our land and ocean resources, such as being the first state in the nation to sign the Paris Climate Accord. This means continuing to work towards reaching 100% renewable energy resources by 2045 and working to grow a carbon market in Hawaiʻi. Doing so would allow carbon polluters across the globe to offset their carbon emissions, for example by investing in restoring Hawaiʻi’s koa and ʻōhiʻa forests.

Governor Ige also mentions the dream of “a future economy for Hawaiʻi that isn’t reliant solely on tourism and the military”. In order for this to become a reality there needs to be an increased focus on food security via local food production, including efforts that promote sustained crop yields grown right here in the Islands and sustained, plentiful fisheries--both of which result in feeding our local communities. In a system where we currently export 80-90% of our agricultural crops, it is crucial for Hawaiʻi to move toward a more resilient and sustainable food system that does not not rely so heavily on imports for food. Therefore the Sierra Club of Hawaiʻi will support measures and initiatives that encourage diversified agriculture, carbon farming and composting, and the regulation of restricted-use pesticides (i.e., pesticides that are harmful to soil health, freshwater resources, nearshore marine life, and human health).

The Sierra Club of Hawaiʻi is pleased to see the Governor direct focus to environmental issues. We look forward to working with his administration, as well as state and county agencies, as we move forward with climate change adaptation, mitigation, and reduction strategies that include 100% clean and renewable energy and food security.

Civil Beat article here and video here.