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houses on the beach with erosion
Erosion at Rocky Point, Oʻahu is visible in this drone image. (Photo credit: Shellie Habel)

Efforts to ramp up public awareness about climate change and potential impacts to Hawaiʻi received a welcomed boost this summer. The state’s climate commission awarded the University of Hawaiʻi Better Tomorrow Speaker Series (BTSS) a $12,000 grant to organize a series of educational events on climate mitigation and adaptation. The multi-agency committee, the Hawaiʻi Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation Commission funded BTSS to help advance the commission’s mission to guide the state’s climate change policies.

Hawaiʻi has announced ambitious climate goals,” said Suzanne Case, chair of the Department of Land and Natural Resources and co-chair of the Climate Commission. “Now we are all really stepping up to get Hawaiʻi climate ready. This series gives us all key information and connections.”

The speaker series, Hā o ke Kai, which means Breath of the Sea, is paired with the commission’s statewide conference series of the same name. It will coincide with planning for a strong Hawaiʻi presence at the upcoming United Nations Climate Change Conference, or COP26 in November.

The first BTSS event in the Hā o ke Kai collection will feature renowned UCLA planning professor, Donald Shoup, who will talk on the power of parking policy to make our cities more sustainable, affordable and livable.

The livestream conversation, The High Cost of Free Parking, will be held on August 18, at noon HST. The online event is open to the public. (Submit questions and register online.)

“Our civilization, our Islands face no greater challenge than climate change,” said UH Mānoa Provost Michael Bruno. “Developing actionable climate research that can play a role in protecting Hawaiʻi’s economy, coastlines, natural environment and health is a top priority for the university. We are pleased that we will be able to share work and ideas with the public through this series so generously supported by the state’s climate commission.”

The climate commission and BTSS have collaborated on several past events, including an online Earth Day forum featuring Gov. David Ige, and public lectures and policy briefings by acclaimed author David Wallace-Wells, author of The Uninhabitable Earth which highlights how climate change will drastically transform human life such as an increase in wars, murders and domestic assaults. In January 2020, Wallace was a featured keynote speaker at the Commission’s statewide climate change conference.

For more information on the Hā o ke Kai series collection, contact

This event is an example of UH Mānoa’s goal of Building a Sustainable and Resilient Campus Environment: Within the Global Sustainability and Climate Resilience Movement (PDF), one of four goals identified in the 2015–25 Strategic Plan (PDF), updated in December 2020.

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