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Listening to diverse perspectives during these transformative times.

The UH System Office of Sustainability hosts a series of Earth Month events online exploring a diverse range of perspectives which consider our roles & responsibilities on a changing planet during these transformative times.

Schedule of Events for April 2022

Virtual Sessions

View the session recording.

Student Perspectives On The Climate Crisis

UHM William S. Richardson School of Law Students

Hear perspectives from Hawaii’s delegation to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Glasgow (COP 26).

Joe Udell

Joe Udell is a third-year student in the Environmental Law Program at the William S. Richardson School of Law. He has contributed research in support of the plaintiffs in several landmark youth climate cases (Duarte Agostinho and Others v. Portugal and 32 Other States (European Court of Human Rights), and Sacchi, et al. v. Argentina, et al. (United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child)) and is currently co-authoring a chapter on duty of care for the Judicial Handbook on Climate Litigation. He attended COP26 as part of the Hawaiʻi ʻOhana Delegation.

Naima Te Maile Fifita

Naima Te Maile Fifita is a leading and founding member of Our Drowning Voices, and President of the Pacific Islander Legal Association at the William S. Richardson School of Law, where she is a JD candidate. Naima is passionate about environmental justice, climate migration policy, and strengthening cross-cultural competencies throughout her legal and non-profit work with institutions like the Institute for Climate and Peace, Blue Ocean Law, and the International Union for Conservation of Nature. Her Pacific Islander and multicultural upbringing and world-embracing views have charged her engagement in numerous areas, particularly legal research, education, and policy transformation. With family residing in Tuvalu, Hawaiʻi, Aotearoa New Zealand, and the Republic of the Marshall Islands, she is committed to helping coastal communities in the South Pacific combat the effects of climate change with peace and resilience. She is a graduate of Punahou School, Honolulu, Hawaiʻi, and Amherst College, Amherst Massachusetts.

Colin Lee

Colin Lee is a Climate Change and Resiliency Policy Analyst at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology working with Dr. Fletcher on the Community Resilience Program. Colin is a recent graduate of the Richardson School of Law where he earned his Juris Doctor and Environmental Law Certificate. Prior to that, Colin grew up on the Windward side of Oʻahu and earned his undergraduate degree from the University of California, Santa Barbara in international relations. Colin has focused his professional efforts on coastal protection, renewable energy, and climate change, and has worked for various non-profits including Earthjustice, the Blue Planet Foundation, and the Surfrider Foundation and has worked in state government at the State Judiciary and at the State Legislature.

Scott Glenn

Scott Glenn is an alumni of the Department of Urban & Regional Planning at UH Mānoa and currently serves as the Chief Energy Officer for the State of Hawaii. He leads the Hawaii State Energy Office in its mission to promote energy efficiency, renewable energy, and clean transportation to help achieve a resilient, clean energy, decarbonized economy. Scott specializes in innovative, consensus-oriented problem solving for difficult challenges. He is especially focused on climate change, energy, environment, and sustainability that improves decision making and enhances public engagement

Chip Fletcher

Chip Fletcher is the Interim Dean for Academic Affairs and Professor of Earth Sciences in the School of Ocean and Earth Sciences and Technology at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. He is also Chairperson of the Honolulu Climate Change Commission. Chip has graduated over 30 graduate students who earned their Masters and Doctorate degrees with him. He and his students have published over 120 peer-reviewed articles on beach processes, the natural history of Hawaiian reefs, and the impacts of sea level rise. He is author of three text books on 1) Earth Systems (3rd Edition), 2) Climate Change (2nd Edition), and 3) Hawaii’s Natural History and Hazards.

Denise Antolini

Denise Antolini served as the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs at the William S. Richardson School of Law from 2011-2019, is former Director of the Environmental Law Program, and has been a member of the Law School faculty since 1996. She is the Former Deputy Chair of the World Commission on Environmental Law of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Denise attended Princeton University for her undergraduate degree, and obtained a Masters in Public Policy at UC Berkeley and concurrently a J.D. from Boalt Hall School of Law, UC Berkeley, where she was editor-in-chief of Ecology Law Quarterly. After a two-year federal district court clerkship in Washington, D.C., she spent eight years practicing public interest law with the Sierra Club Legal Defense Fund (now Earthjustice) in Seattle and Honolulu, serving as Managing Attorney of the Honolulu office before moving to the Law School where she has been teaching Environmental Law and related courses for the past 26 years.

David M. Forman

David M. Forman is Director of the Environmental Law Program and Faculty Specialist with the Ka Huli Ao Center for Excellence in Native Hawaiian Law at the William S. Richardson School of Law (WSRSL), University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa. He is the Law School’s first tenured faculty member of Filipino descent. As a member of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) World Commission on Environmental Law (WCEL), David is currently participating in a project on climate change and islands through the WCEL’s Climate Change Law Specialist Group. He is the primary organizer of a unique, collaborative exercise now known as the Tony Oposa Intergenerational Moot Court, which made its debut during the 2016 IUCN World Conservation Congress (Honolulu, Hawai‘i) and continues to take place around the globe involving law students from diverse countries. In addition, David is co-editor of Legal Actions for Future Generations, the first volume of the Normandy Chair for Peace collection on Future Generations, Peace & Environment.

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Friday April 8, 3:00 p.m. – 4:15 p.m.

Reimagining Invasive Species on a Changing Planet

Uncle Vince Dodge and Malia Akutagawa

Co-hosted by JCI Americorps VISTA Fellow, Anya Benavides (UH Hilo) and UH Sustainability & Resilience Fellows Program Manager, Navin Tagore-Erwin, this session continues a discussion from our 2021 Climate Education Month series and features Malia Akutagawa, founder of Sust‘āinable Molokai and UH Associate Professor of Law and Hawaiian Studies; and Uncle Vince Dodge, founder of Waianae Gold. Join us to hear about how our communities can cultivate positive relationships with and challenge the dominant narrative on how we relate to invasive species in Hawai‘i.

Malia Akutagawa

Malia Akutagawa was born and raised on Molokaʻi. She is a Native Hawaiian Rights and Environmental Law attorney with experience in Hawaiian access, gathering, burial, land use, and water rights issues. She is an Associate Professor of Law and Hawaiian Studies and is part of Hui ‘Āina Momona, a consortium of scholars at the University of Hawaiʻi – Mānoa charged with addressing compelling issues of Indigenous Hawaiian knowledge and practices

Vince Kana‘i Dodge

Vince Kana’i Dodge is the founder of ‘Ai Pöhaku, a papa (grandfather), educator, cultural practitioner, and longtime resident of Wai’anae where kiawe trees are plentiful.

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Thursday April 21, BOR Meetings are typically scheduled to begin at 9am. Sign up to receive updates about upcoming BOR Agendas using the link below.

Sustainable UH – Annual Presentation to the University of Hawaiʻi Board of Regents

Matthew K. Lynch and Miles Topping

The Office of Sustainability presents its annual report on progress made, and support needed to integrate sustainability across the operations, curriculum, research, engagement and cultural connections of the University of Hawaiʻi.

Matthew K. Lynch

Matthew K Lynch was born & raised on Kaneohe Bay on Oʻahu, as well as Port Phillip Bay in Melbourne, Australia. He serves as the Director of Sustainability Initiatives for the ten campuses of the University of Hawai’i System. Matt also serves as a Design Team Member for UH Mānoa’s Center for Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation, and as a Teaching Faculty member for Harvard University’s Executive Education for Sustainability Leadership program.

Miles Topping

Miles Topping is an Electrical Systems Engineer with over 25 years of experience fulfilling various roles in the design, build, and delivery of electrical systems. Projects ranging from passenger aircraft, rocket propulsion systems, automated target recognition systems and more recently designing for power, lighting and communications and strategic energy master planning, for cities, schools, airports while implementing Off-Grid, and Grid-Supportive renewable energy systems and energy efficiency measures.


Friday April 29,  1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.

Pilina Circle w/ Hawaiʻi Land Trust, UHM Native Hawaiian Place of Learning Advancement Office, and UH Office of Sustainability

This session will be facilitated by Makanahaʻaheoanākūpuna (Makana) Reilly- Hawaiʻi Land Trust (HILT), Kaiwipunikauikawēkiu (Punihei) Lipe- UHM Native Hawaiian Place of Learning Advancement Office (NHPoL) , and Matthew K Lynch- UH Office of Sustainability.

“Pilina can be described in English as “association, relationship, and connection.” In some of our work we have leaned into an additional english description for pilina: deep relationship, connection, and interdependence with one another and Grandmother Earth.

Over the last couple of years I’ve been reminded how much life really is a pilina circle, whether we like it or not. What we breathe out someone else will breathe in; how we treat the earth will shape how the earth can nourish us. And the circles just continue. I think that all of our ancestors at one point understood pilina in some pretty profound ways and we as their mo‘opuna are so fortunate to inherit that wisdom, though I will say for myself that I am still uncovering and learning so much about all the ways we really are pili. So Pilina Circles are spaces where we can focus on re-building pilina by sharing personal mo‘olelo, listening deeply to those mo‘olelo, and thus re-discovering our connections – our pilina – through that process. We find that pilina circles are an important first-step in our TRHT work and excited to share space with you.”

Dr. Kaiwipuni Lipe (UHM TRHT Campus Center Director & Pilina Circle lead)

Seats are limited for the circles so we encourage you to reserve your spot now. We will send out the private zoom link after registration closes.

Makanahaʻaheoanākūpuna (Makana) Reilly

Makanahaʻaheoanākūpuna (Makana) Reilly – Mother of two keiki ‘ōlelo Hawaiʻi, ʻōlapa for Hālau Nā Pualei o Likolehua, and founder of Pūlama Nōmilu, a non-profit that and cares for the Nōmilu fishpond on Kauaʻi, Makana is no stranger to advocacy and protection of the rights of Native Hawaiians and the lands which we call home. Born and raised in a multigenerational, traditional home in the beautiful Mānoa Valley, on the island of Oʻahu, Makana was raised by a legacy of strong Native Hawaiian female educators. Her formal education includes a Master of Arts in ʻŌlelo Hawai`i with a focus on Familial Land Management Options, a Bachelor in Fine Arts from the University of Miami, graduate of Kamehameha Schools Kapālama, and most importantly, a proud graduate of Pūnana Leo O Honolulu.

Kaiwipunikauikawēkiu (Punihei) Lipe

Dr. Kaiwipunikauikawēkiu (Punihei) Lipe Dr. Kaiwipunikauikawēkiu Punihei Lipe is a Native Hawaiian mother, daughter, ‘ōlapa, and educator. In 2017 she was hired into the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa (UHM) President’s Office as the inaugural Native Hawaiian Affairs Program Officer where she implements findings from her award-winning research to advance UHM’s goal of becoming a Native Hawaiian place of learning. She is also the director of UHM’s Truth, Racial Healing, and Transformation Campus Center as well as an Obama Leader with the Obama Foundation’s Asia-Pacific Leaders Program. She holds a BA in Hawaiian Studies, an MS in Counseling Psychology, and a PhD in Education Administration.

Matthew K Lynch

Matthew K Lynch was born & raised on Kaneohe Bay on Oʻahu, as well as Port Phillip Bay in Melbourne, Australia. He serves as the Director of Sustainability Initiatives for the ten campuses of the University of Hawai’i System. Matt also serves as a Design Team Member for UH Mānoa’s Center for Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation, and as a Teaching Faculty member for Harvard University’s Executive Education for Sustainability Leadership program.

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Last modified: April 25, 2022
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