Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Message for the Hawaii Climate March

Below is a transcript of Rep. Tulsi Gabbard's message for the Hawaii Climate March on April 29, 2017:

Hawaii’s climate is changing. We all know it. We see it. We feel it. From the odd seasonal temperature changes to the weird weather patterns, we feel it. From the long periods of drought to the reduced frequency of our trade winds, we feel it. From the monster wave events-- like last winter’s that claimed miles of shorelines and several North Shore Homes—to the steady sea level rise creeping up our shorelines and across our coastal highways, we see it.

Last year the US Environmental Protection Agency reported –and I quote: “Ocean Warming and Acidification are changing Hawaii’s environment…warming in the oceans around Hawaii has increased by several degrees.” And in recent decades, increased ocean acidity has caused further harm to our coral reefs and the marine ecosystems around them. Mass bleaching events are becoming more common ruining our once beautiful underwater gardens.

Our natural resources-- from fresh water to our clear blue oceans and green fields-- support our health, our culture, and way of life.

Sea level rise is endangering coastal communitiesworldwide—where 40 percent of the world's population lives. In Hawaii, sea level has risen up to 8 inches since 1960. The University of Hawaii has estimated another 1-foot to 3-foot rise (or possibly more) by the year 2100. Sea level rise makes the impacts of waves, hurricanes, tsunamis, and extreme tides worse with potential harm to an array of natural and built environments.

Sea level rise is accelerating coastal erosion. According to UH over 70% of the beaches on Oahu, Maui and Kauai are chronically eroding.

Each of us needs to recognize our Kuleana - we must take action. As our Hawaii Congressional delegation fights for Resources to protect our environment and uphold the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts, we need to take action here at home by aggressively pursuing our sustainability goals. We can take steps to reduce our own carbon emissions by changing the way we think about transportation, increasing renewable energy use, weaning ourselves off of our reliance on fossil fuels, and so much more.

Climate change will continue to have far-reaching effects on our own “little islands in the Pacific”. Its important that we all act now for the life of the land, the air, and the sea are perpetuated in righteousness today. Mahalo.

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