Are Hawaii Leaders Serious about Climate Change?

Hawaii's leaders out of touch - preoccupied with privitizing public lands and turning the State into an amusement park

Is the Hong Kong Pro-Democracy Movement a Blueprint for Expression in Hawaii?

As you’ll see in the video below, rising sea levels are threatening Hawaii’s coastline homes and businesses, right now; but if you’re thinking that our leaders are on it . . .  don’t hold your breath.  Of late, Hawaii’s rule makers seem to be more concerned with handing over public lands and assets to private corporations than they are about anything else, with the possible exception of their fixation on trying to turn the State of Hawaii into one giant amusement park for the wealthy.  Their lack of concern for rising sea levels or climate change chaos is a red flag for all of us. Politicians and rule makers like the DLNR’s chief, Suzanne Case, will talk about climate change during their bid for leadership, but when they’re in the fort, nothing of any substance ever seems to happen.  Talk is cheap and hot air is free but there is now a certain urgency in finding an actionable climate change plan for the State.  As the video says: “Our keikis are depending on us.”

Last session, the legislature came bone-chillingly close to setting a frightening precedent in Hawaii when Sen. Sharon Moriwaki, Sen. Donovan Dela Cruz, and others nearly succeeded in ramming through a public lands privatization law that would have handed over public assets to huge corporations (HB-1032 and SB-1258: the former was vetoed by the governor and the latter is still very much active).  Meanwhile, climate change legislation last term got little in the way of serious airtime – the likes of Moriwaki, Dela Cruz, Tom Browers and similar ilk all opting to pander to the whim of the wealthy in their districts.

The leader of the Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR), the department that should be most concerned with the effects of climate change, has done virtually nothing to prepare.  Suzanne Case, DLNR Chair and sister of Republican Democrat, Ed Case, wants us to believe she’s environmentally conscious, a hard sell when tons of plastic, raw human sewerage, and huge oil spills constantly flow from the streams, canals and public harbors that are squarely in her jurisdiction.   Her sidekick, Ed Underwood, DoBOR administrator, seems to care even less, perhaps too absorbed in his hunt for the next lucrative backdoor deal.

The people of Hawaii need to look to the example being set in the east right now, in Hong Kong.  The grass-roots there has snapped out of it and is now letting the powers-that-be know what they think of inept leadership that wants to push the public off a cliff.  It might be time for us to do the same thing here.  Our keikis, worldwide, are already doing it, demanding climate change action.

The video below contains footage that was shot just two months ago.   The flooding was a result of so-called “king” tides, higher than normal high tides that occasionally occur.  It’s important to understand that Hawaii does not have big tidal changes to begin with and the so-called king tide is often not even eleven inches above mean high tide levels.  There are many places around the globe where ten-foot tides are normal and their “king” tides can exceed fifteen feet.  Our two foot tides — even our “king” tides — are, relatively speaking, pretty small.  What you are seeing in the video is the result of higher than normal tides plus rising sea levels.  Scientists are now saying that sea levels are rising at unprecedented rates.  These seawalls were never designed for sea level changes of this magnitude.

There was no wind on the day the video was shot, no rain, no storm surge, no surf of any consequence.  Had there been even the slightest surge, the effect would have been greatly amplified.  There is a business directly across the street from the flooding seen in the video.  The business is situated five feet below ground level.  Had there been any more flooding, the customers would have needed snorkels.


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