The Center for Pacific Islands Studies at the University of Hawai'i at Mānoa is organizing a three-day conference titled, "Waves of Change: Climate Change in the Pacific Islands and Implications for Hawaiʻi." (download flyer) [videos of conference presentations available online courtesy of ‘Ōlelo]
The conference, scheduled for 4–6 April 2013, will explore the environmental, social, cultural, political, economic, and legal impacts of climate change in the Pacific Islands.
Pacific Island societies are already experiencing the impacts of climate change, and as Islanders adapt to the changing climate, they encounter challenges to economic security and social welfare. There is also the potential for increased rates of outmigration. This conference will focus on climate change–related migration and the implications for Hawai'i, which is already home to many Pacific Islanders.
The conference will include natural scientists, policymakers, academics, university students, and community members. It will feature paper presentations, panel discussions, and artistic expressions.
The Honorable Tony deBrum will deliver the keynote address (video). He currently serves as Minister in Assistance to the President of the Republic of the Marshall Islands and also represents the people of Kwajalein in Parliament. He advocates nuclear weapon–free policies on behalf of the Marshall Islands. He has in the past served as Minister of Foreign Affairs and Minister for Health and Environment. Minister deBrum also focuses on the newly defined challenges of climate change and its effects on atoll places and peoples.
Hawaiʻi is also affected by climate change. The Pacific Islands Regional Climate Assessment report released in December 2012 warns that Hawaiʻi and other Pacific Islands have experienced "higher average surface air temperature; decreased groundwater discharge to streams over the past century; more frequent and prolonged drought; and habitat changes affecting native species" as a result of climate change. This conference aims to facilitate dialogue between Pacific Islander communities and the State of Hawaiʻi.
Cosponsors of the conference are the Pacific Islands Development Program at the East-West Center; Senator J. Kalani English's Office; the UH Mānoa's Hawaiʻinuiākea School of Hawaiian Knowledge; Ethnic Studies Department; Student Equity, Excellence and Diversity (SEED); College of Social Sciences; and Department of English.
Conference registration is free.
Tarcisius Tara Kabutaulaka