Sustainable development is a term that we hear a lot these days. It is defined by the International Institute of Sustainable Development as “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs." Sustainability is crucial here in Hawaiʻi, as we have already seen our natural resources become depleted, and will be some of the first in the world affected by climate change and sea level rise.
In 2015, the United Nations adopted a new framework for a better world, the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), with the purpose of creating a “plan of action for people, planet and prosperity.” Hawaiʻi has taken initiative and jumped on board with the United Nations, and now has drafted legislation to implement statewide action and do our part to help achieve the sustainability goals. Below are some of the SDG bills that align with our mission this legislative session:
SB 2667 Clean water and sanitation - including access to clean drinking water for all, improving water quality and efficiency, protecting watersheds and restoring water-related ecosystems, and implementing more effective water resource management
SB 2668* Affordable and clean energy - including achieving 70% clean energy, 100% renewable energy by 2045, expanding and upgrading technology and infrastructure
SB 2674 Climate action - including integrating climate change measures into state policies and strengthening resilience and adaptive capacity to climate related natural disasters
SB 2675 Life below water - which includes preventing and significantly reducing marine pollution, in particular from land based activities, sustainably managing and protecting marine and coastal ecosystems, and ending overfishing and subsidies that promote illegal, unprotected and unreported fishing
SB 2676 Life on land - which includes ensuring conservation, restoration and sustainable use of land, combating desertification and ensuring the conservation of mountain ecosystems
*We would like to note that SB 2668 has language pertaining to "cleaner fossil fuel technology" (page 8, line 13). The Sierra Club of Hawaiʻi does not support the implementation of technologies that utilize fossil fuels of any kind moving forward, when renewables could be chosen. We suggest the language of this bill be amended to explicitly define "clean fossil fuels" in the statute.