This week was VERGE Hawaii, an energy and innovation conference bringing together key stakeholders in Hawaiʻi’s clean energy future. Until this year, there was one key stakeholder missing, the youth, our future decision makers. In just three short days, ten students from Hawaiʻi Island, Kauaʻi, Lanaʻi, Molokaʻi, and Oʻahu wrote a declaration that calls on each of us working toward this future to act with urgency and a sense of place.
ConVERGE was co-hosted by Blue Planet Foundation, Hawaiʻi Center For Advanced Transportation Technologies, Hawaii Energy, and Elemental Excelerator.
We, the deeply committed youth of Students ConVERGE Hawaiʻi 2018, want clean energy for our island home.
We call upon legislators, innovators, leaders of energy-using industries and community members to implement an action-oriented plan that supports the Hawaiʻi Clean Energy Initiative with specific attention and commitment to the cultural identity of our island home.
We charge you with adopting a healing approach to problem solving and to furthering our collective knowledge through education of youth, promotion of multi-stakeholder involvement in decision making and public awareness.
We acknowledge the sense of urgency and are asking each of you to commit to specific actions that first value remaining true to Hawaiʻi’s cultural community. We call upon each of you to remain grounded in the very soil of this place and in the people of this land. We implore you to value with prominence conservation and efficiency as we collectively work towards a clean energy future.
We call on you to operate with a dynamic mindset, to execute smart planning with mindfulness and to commit to the small-scale quick implementation of new technologies in practical applications.
We commend you for the good work that has been done and charge you with making these efforts more public, as well as going further to ensure that incentives are properly aligned to emphasize ethical practices for both businesses and consumers.
We call on you to affirm that you will create specific plans, with measurable outcomes that test new ideas in practical applications and honor the land that is providing all that we have. And that you will share these plans openly and in a way that the community at large can understand.
We call on you to commit to community involvement and opportunity development that is proactive and addresses the actual needs of the communities you serve, by seeking first the input of those communities.
We challenge you to commit to addressing the clean energy revolution with the meaningful and intentional engagement of the youth of Hawaiʻi.
We call on you to join us in our commitment to educating our peers, our parents, businesses in our community and representatives of all levels of government.
We, the youth of Students ConVERGE Hawaiʻi know this place. We know our island home personally and know that we must work as a community toward a secure energy system that can provide for the community. We must not focus only on ensuring that energy is available in the face of disaster. We must focus first on ensuring that energy is available and accessible to all of the people in our island home. We must develop a clean energy system that responds to community needs and we must pursue this equitable type of development with a sense of urgency.
We demand that our voice be one that is not only listened to when we raise it loudly or only in public forums but that our voice is one that each of you proactively seek. We demand that you engage us actively in deciding our future.
We, above all, will hold you accountable. We believe this is necessary because what we all have today is a responsibility to mālama ʻāina. We have a responsibility to plan an energy future that is efficient, effective, lasting and sustainable. We can only do that together.
With all that we have charged you, we, the motivated youth of Students ConVERGE Hawai’i 2018, commit to remain invested in Hawaiʻi’s clean energy future. We commit to asking tough questions and not settling for subpar answers. We commit to seeking opportunities to share our voice and to practicing humility in seeking knowledge from the land and the people of our island home.
This 14th day of June 2018