Hawaii’s Green Blue economy tackles climate change challenges head-on

By John Parnell

Hawaii is targeting a Green Blue Economy as it tackles its energy and food security problems, according to Jacqueline Kozak, part of the islands’ delegation at a recent UN environmental summit.

With pressures on food security and a reliance on imported energy, Kozak believes the response of Hawaii can set an example for the wider world.

“Islands are a microcosm of the planet and the [environmental] challenges facing islands are felt more urgently and first,” said Kozak, who is also a member of the Hawaii Invasive Species Council.

“The urgency of our food, energy security and our biodiversity loss has really motivated us to find innovative and integrated approaches to a more sustainable future for Hawaii.”

Kozak says the islands’ pursuit of a “Green Blue Economy” with sustainability and water at its core, is the cornerstone of its policies.

“When Captain Cook landed in Hawaii there were 1m indigenous people living self-sufficiently.Now we are dependent on imports and we have an enormous problem with affordability because we have to import everything,” said Kozak.

The Islands have a 40% renewable energy a target and a 30% energy efficiency goal by 2030. It currently imports 90% of all its energy.

Local food production will also be doubled in effort to reduce its food imports that currently account for 85% of the island’s consumption.

Protecting freshwater supplies will be key to enabling the state’s agriculture sector to flourish, according to Kozak.

The islands’ Governor Neil Abercrombie, was elected on a sustainability ticket and is spearheading many of Hawaii’s efforts.

Hawaii is also part of the Ecoislands initiative, recently launched on the UK’s Isle of Wight.

RTCC Video: Jacqueline Kozak on Hawaii’s sustainable push for self sufficiency

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