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Navigating Change, Hawai‘i’s Approach to Adaptation

Navigating Change, Hawai‘i’s Approach to Adaptation

Hawai'i Sea Grant

This report describes the State of Hawai‘i’s unique position and perspective as a member of President Obama’s State, Local and Tribal Leaders Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience. Hawai‘i’s team of state, federal, and academic partners sought out knowledge and practices from a variety of local and regional sources. In response to the Task Force’s charge to advise the Administration on how the Federal Government can best support resilience efforts, the Navigating Change Report also proposes initial recommendations in the areas of actionable information, coordination, and implementation.

Hawai‘i’s Vulnerability and Vantage Point As the most geographically isolated islands on Earth, Hawai‘i is especially vulnerable to the impacts of climate change:  

* Freshwater. Hawai‘i is 100% dependent on rainfall for our very survival. Rainfall and stream flows are declining. 

* Coastlines. Hawai‘i’s shorelines (more than 750 miles) are its natural borders, but they are vulnerable to beach erosion and sea level rise. 

* Ocean Resources. Pacific Islanders are ocean peoples. Rising temperatures and acidification kill the reefs, damage fisheries and jeopardize the island way of life. 

* Security. Climate change is a matter of security for Hawai‘i. Climate change will disrupt and then threaten economic systems--food, water, energy, biodiversity, and health. Hawai‘i’s people will be at risk. Hawai‘i shares a unique vantage point of the world as an archipelago of islands: 

* An indigenous host culture with more than 1000 years of traditional knowledge and adaptation practice 

* An island understanding of finite resources and the need for an integrated, collaborative approach—on islands, the feedback loops are direct, immediate and widely experienced 

* An Asia-Pacific regional connection to islands, states and nations with shared issues

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