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