Students are leading the fight for a sustainable future in Hawaiʻi. This week was the initial kickoff, encouraging the entire university to live healthy.
Ua ʻākoakoa ka lehulehu ākea ma Mānoa i kēia Poʻalua no ka hanana “Semester of Sustainability Kick-Off” e mālama ʻia ana e kekahi mau haumāna ma ke kula nui ʻo Mānoa no ka hāpai ʻana aku i ka manaʻo o ke ō mau ma Hawaiʻi nei.
“He hanana ō mau kēia me ka manaʻo lana e kō ʻia nā pono o kēia ao me ka pilikia ʻole o ka wā e hiki mai ana,” wahi a Nicole Ferguson.
ʻO Nicole kekahi lālā o ka hui “Sustainable UH” e ʻimi like ana no ka pono o ko Mānoa a ma ʻō aku kekahi.
“He hui liʻiliʻi wale nō mākou o Mānoa e hoʻāʻo ana e kū ma ke ʻano he kumu hoʻohālikelike no ka lehulehu.”
A ua lilo nō lākou he kumu hoʻohālikelike no kekahi. “ʻO ka mea ʻeuʻeu o nā pāhana haumāna, ʻo ia hoʻi ko lākou pīhoihoi a komo ikaika ʻana i ka hana i like ʻole me nā pāhana kumu. ʻO ia ke kumu o koʻu kākoʻo nui ʻana,” wahi a Debora Halbert, he polopeka o ka polokalamu Kālaiʻāina o Mānoa.
“Ke kālele nei mākou i nā mea pono ea i kēia kau ʻoiai he pilikia nui ia i pono kona nānā koke ʻia,” wahi a Nicole.
A ua nui ko ia pilikia koʻikoʻi iā kākou ma Hawaiʻi nei ʻoiai ua ʻike ʻia nā mea pono ea e hoʻohaumia ana i ka moana e puni ana iā kākou.
“ʻO ke kai kahi e loaʻa ai ka mea ʻai, ke ea a me ke ola iā kākou,” wahi a Nicole. “No laila, ʻo nā mea e hoʻopilikia ana i ke kai, ʻo ia nā mea e hoʻopiliia pū ana i ko kākou ola kino kekahi.”
A ua nui hou aku nā pāhana a kēia hui nei ma waho o ke kaiāulu o Mānoa kekahi.
“Ke hana like nei mākou me nā ʻoihana nui e like hoʻi me Kōkua Hawaiʻi Foundation a me Surfrider Foundation e hoʻolaha i ia nīnūnē nei.”
“A ua hiki nō ke ʻike i ko lākou paʻu mau a holomua kūpono ʻana ma o ka holo ʻana o ka laina manawa,” wahi a Debora.
A wahi a Nicole, ua hiki nō ke kaiāulu ke komo ma ke kōkua ʻana kekahi.
“He mea nui ko ka poʻe ʻimi ʻana i kekahi ala e hiki ai iā lākou ke komo ma ka ka mālama honua ʻana. Ua pili kā mākou hana i nā mea pono ea i kēia lā a he mea hoʻohauʻoli ka ʻike ʻana i ke komo nui ʻana o ka poʻe.”
A crowd of people gathered at Mānoa on Tuesday for the “Semester of Sustainability Kick-Off” event that was held by a group of UH students.
“It’s a sustainability event so it addresses several aspects of sustainability. Sustainability meaning that we can meet today’s needs without compromising the future,” says Nicole Ferguson.
Nicole is part of the Sustainable UH’s effort in touching Mānoa and beyond.
“We’re a small student group with some faculty thrown in and what we’re trying to do is to have UH Mānoa set an example, really, for the rest of the community.”
And an example indeed they’ve set. “One of the things that’s most exciting to me about student lead projects is that there is a lot of energy and excitement that comes from them that you cannot generate from the top down. So I try to support any kind of student lead movements like this,” says Debora Halbert, associate professor and dean of the Political Science department at Mānoa.
“This semester, we’re focusing more on plastic because plastic is a pervasive polution issue and one that needs to be addressed very quickly,” says Nicole.
This is very important to us in Hawaiʻi because there is a lot of plastic waste in our surrounding waters.
“A lot of our food comes from the ocean,” says Nicole. “The ocean is the primary source of primary productivity so the oceans create an atmosphere that we breathe etc. So whatever is happeining in the ocean really does affect our health at the end of the day.”
And this group is involved with other projects outside of Mānoa too.
“We’re working with several different stakeholders in the community, with Kōkua Hawaiʻi Foundation and with Surf Rider Foundation, to help not only bring awareness but also to help start movement on this issue in our island home.”
“And as you can see from their timeline, it’s really blossomed in the last ten years and that’s really because of student interest in making things different here,” says Debora.
However, Nicole says that there are ways that the community can get involved too.
“I think that the most important thing anyone can do is to start seeing themselves as a change agent saying what can I start to do in my community to make it a better place.And today we’re addressing this with plastics, but it’s been inspiring for me to see people taking on these issues at all different scales in our communities.”