climate change Maui

When positioned in the most geographically isolated place on Earth, one becomes attuned to factors that may threaten a cutoff to Hawai’i’s current lifelines: Shipping for our basic needs and Tourism as the current economic driver. The proverbial “What are we going to do when the boats stop coming?” was a common talk story growing up, especially come Hurricane Season (which we are in by the way, be prepared). 

Yet it seems that Hawai’i State leadership feels more confident in supporting import-based, oil-supported economics than answering the big question we need to address, the elephant in the room, as it were. And despite what we saw in 2020, despite what we are seeing with new variants developing, globalization and mass consumerism continues, creating an environment for new, virulent organisms to grow and thrive. 

Then Climate Change. We live in Hawai’i, an island chain in the middle of the ocean with an intimate history of self-reliance, abundance, and resource management. We kilo (observe) that the Earth’s Climate is undergoing changes and it is clear what is happening to our islands. Yet, Climate Change is also not reason enough for current leadership to pivot. 

As a Political Scientist, the behavior of State leadership in 2021 feels criminally short-sighted and as a Political Economist, this degree of economic myopia feels profoundly irresponsible. As a Mother, I feel we have a belligerent bully at the helm of decision making and that makes me nervous. 

The recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report, which came out this August (, raised many red flags. The IPCC was created to provide policymakers with regular scientific assessments on climate change, its implications, and potential future risks and to put forward adaptation and mitigation options. Based on the findings of this report, it would behoove State leadership to take climate resiliency far more seriously.

For many people, for most, it all just feels like too much. That is because it is! We should not be having to carry this weight. As mothers, we already carry so much. It can feel complicated and immobilizing, not knowing what to do. So, here’s a list of tangible things we can reach for. Things that will benefit us, no matter what’s going on outside of Hawai’i. Things that can help secure a safer future for our keiki, so they can grow up in a healthy Hawai’i and create the Systems and Laws that Hawai’i needs:  

1. Ground Down: Into Self and ‘Āina, whatever that means for you

2. Do everything possible in your Ahupua’a (microclimate/region) to encourage more natural rainfall (i.e. planting native plants)

3. Start building meaningful relationships of consistent support, supply, and demand (a non-hierarchical alternative non-monetary economy) with people physically near you. 

4. Start scaling back and localizing your everyday lifestyle. Major. Every tiny piece makes a huge difference in Economic Decline and Climate Collapse. 

5. Work towards sourcing security outside of: Capital, Bank Accounts, Possessions, Land Ownership, or Market Success. Those systems are currently aggressively Titanic-ing. 

6. Make Immune Health, particularly nervous system health, top priority as much as is feasible at any given time. This means: sleep, immune-boosting foods, time outside, spend money on adaptogens and local honey instead of alcohol, etc.

7. If you on the rivers: Think flood mitigation.

8. Mauka: Plan for drought issues, winds, fires.

9. Makai: Start watching sea level maps. 

10. Be gentle with ourselves. Because what American Capitalism done got us into here is straight-up bats*** crazy. 

We can take each step one by one, and we can be prepare when the boats and planes stop coming. Like they did in 2020. 

With Sincere Love and Care, 

A Concerned Mother on Maui.

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Summer Starr, M.A., has 22 years of formal training and education in Political Science, Electoral Politics, Regionally Based Resource Management, Decentralized Power Structuring, and Community Organizing. But sure, take it from the guys financially benefitting from letting sick tourists stream into Hawai’i. You do you. In the meantime, I will be encouraging my loved ones of Maui, to continue building your Ark. We will be prepared on their behalf.


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