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article spread including headshot of Matt Gonser and community volunteers

Q & A with Matthew Gonser

by Cindy Knapman and Kanesa SeraphinMatthew Gonser, former extension faculty with the University of Hawaiʻi Sea Grant College Program, was recently appointed as the chief resilience officer and executive director of the City and County of Honolulu Office of Climate Change, Sustainability and Resiliency. He took the time to share his thoughts and vision for the office, and how it is fostering connectivity and collaboration to turn community visions into action. Can you tell me about the City and County of Honolulu Office of Climate Change, Sustainability and Resiliency, and how it came about? The office was created by the
lead article spread with aerial image of the KIUC soalr farm.

Harnessing the Elements by 2045

by Natasha VizcarraHawai‘i Senator Glenn Wakai was in a Zoom meeting in late January when he noted a kink in the islands’ renewable energy plans. The state’s only coal-fired power station was shutting down in September 2022. However, solar power projects replacing the plant’s 180-megawatt generation were delayed six months to a year. The Hawaiian Electric Company (HECO) somehow needed to source enough renewable energy to feed the grid. The whole process would include time-consuming requests for proposals, sorting bids, picking winning contractors, requesting permits, procurement, building, and testing. And they had to do it in less than two years,

RMI Homeowner’s Handbook to Prepare for Natural Hazards

Introduction When a natural hazard occurs - whether it be a tropical cyclone, tsunami, extratropical storm, king tide, flood, sea-level rise, erosion, or drought - the results can be devastating for your land, your home, your family, and your possessions. Financial losses can be particularly high in the two administrative centers of the northern and southern Marshall Islands - Majuro and Ebeye, Kwajalein - which have seen explosive growth in both population and land area since the mid-1940s. This has been especially true in Majuro, where a number of lagoonal openings along Majuro Atoll were connected by the US Navy
Lead spread fro Ka Pili Kai article Reimagining Education in a Post-COVID World. Group is gahtered around a long fishnet on a grassy area near the shoreline. The fish net is being pulled taut on the outer side, which forms a semi circle.

Reimagining Education in a Post-COVID World

by Lonny LippsettWhen COVID-19 shut off the lights in schools throughout Hawai‘i, it starkly illuminated long-ignored cracks and constraints in its educational system. The crisis-mode quick fix—using modern technology to create virtual online schooling—spotlighted age-old problems and exposed new ones. Not everyone had access to the internet, and a lot of households couldn’t afford service, highlighting a “digital divide.” Many teachers hadn’t received training in online instruction. And students, boxed in to their screens and homes, felt isolated and unmotivated. “The pandemic has indeed made very visible the many warts that have grown upon the skin and the soul of
Lead spread for Ka Pili Kai article Protecting Public Health. Includes composit image of student in full PPE and COVID virus renderings, image of UH medical school building exterior and close up shot of gloved hands in a lab with a syringe-like device. and test tubes.

Protecting Public Health

by Sara LaJeunesseIn 2019, Hawai‘i was ranked by U.S. News & World Report as the top state in the nation for health care. Yet, it’s no secret that problems with access to care, affordability of care, and disparities in care remain to be addressed. Now, with COVID-19 spreading throughout the state, the disease is further highlighting some of Hawai‘i’s health care deficiencies. “With COVID-19, everything is happening so quickly,” said Dr. Jane Chung-Do, associate professor of public health studies. “Public health practitioners, who normally focus on prevention, are spending all of their time reacting to the pandemic. The resulting problems
Lead spread for Ka Pili Kai article Hawaiʻi’s Vulnerable Food Supply. Historic black and white image of Oahu pineapple fields, photo of small scale farm and banana trees, close up image of hands processing fresh produce, and close up of eggplant, beets, ochra.

Hawaiʻi’s Vulnerable Food Supply

by Lurline Wailana McGregorThe COVID-19 pandemic didn’t close down Honolulu harbor or wreak havoc on the environment, but it was a somber reminder of how our lifestyles and economy are dependent on the outside world for everything, from food supply chains to tourists. A fear of shortages caused buyers to panic as they emptied grocery shelves and hoarded supplies. Restaurant closures initially left many local farmers unable to sell their produce and forced fishermen to leave their boats tied to the docks. In an island state that is striving to become less dependent on imported food, why does it take
lead spread for Ka Pili Kai article A Reset for Hawai‘i’s Ecosystems. Photos of green Hawaiian fern, trees with large roots, diver conducting survey abouve coral bed, closeup of blenny, and school of silver fish

A Reset for Hawai‘i’s Ecosystems

by Jake BuehlerQuiet. For the first time in generations, the schools of ulua, pāpio, and ‘o‘io glinting across the outer edge of Hanauma Bay’s crater experienced relative silence. The perpetual din of thousands of thunderous splashes and shrill voices reverberating from the shoreline fell away, and the inner bay became perplexingly inviting. The humans had retreated overnight, a measure taken to slow the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, leaving a world newly open to ocean wildlife. But while nature has reaped benefits from COVID-19 shutdowns across the islands, humans are left to reflect on the impact of our usual presence,
Lead spread for Ka Pili Kai article Reexamining Island Mobility. Images of two pairs of bike riders in bike lanes along a main honolulu street.

Reexamining Island Mobility

by Josh McDanielNot all disruptions from the coronavirus pandemic have been negative. Honolulu often sits at the top of the rankings for the worst traffic in the country, ahead of cities notorious for roadway congestion such as Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Boston. But in April 2020, during the height of the early pandemic lockdown, Hawaiʻi saw a 47 percent drop in gasoline sales compared to previous years. For a few weeks, Oʻahu’s normally clogged roads and freeways were eerily empty, and even once restrictions began easing, traffic still did not return to pre-pandemic levels. Oakley Davis, an emergency room
Spread for Ka Pili Kai aricle Mālama during COVID-19. Collage of photos and text highlighting the career ofCeleste Connors.

Mālama During COVID-19

by Amanda MillinFor Celeste Connors, living with aloha extended far beyond the shores of Hawaiʻi. The former American diplomat worked overseas for 20 years and served as the White House director for Climate Change and Environment. But she is from Kailua, and it is her connection to host culture values of aloha, mālama, kuleana, and ʻohana that have driven her. “I was involved in negotiations at the highest levels of government,” says Connors. “I realize now that my actions were informed by host culture values having grown up in Hawaiʻi, which I wouldn’t have connected to unless I came home
Title page for Ka Pili Kai article Rebooting Hawaii's Visitor Industry. Two swimmers entering the ocean on a sunny day.

Rebooting Hawai‘i’s Visitor Industry

by Shannon WianeckiDuring the last week of March 2020, the fallow sugarcane fields next to the Kahului Airport on Maui began to fill with cars. Hundreds, then thousands of nearly new Camaros, Jeep Wranglers, and SUVs appeared, parked bumper to bumper alongside the road. By the time Governor Ige issued a stay-at-home order in response to the emerging COVID-19 pandemic, the island’s entire rental car fleet—around 22,000 vehicles—had been put out to pasture. The global health crisis effectively pulled the emergency brake on Hawai‘i’s tourism industry. Across the state, car rental agencies, resorts, restaurants, and tour operations shut their doors,
Report cover for 'Guidance for Using the Sea Level Rise Exposure Area in Local Planning and Permitting Decisions: A supplement to the Hawaii Sea Level Rise Vulnerability and Adaptation Report'. Contains an aerial image of coastal erosion on Oahu's North Shore

Guidance for Using the Sea Level Rise Exposure Area in Local Planning and Permitting Decisions

This document is a supplement to the Hawaiʻi Sea Level Rise Vulnerability and Adaptation Report (“Report”; Hawaiʻi Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation Commission, 2017) and the Hawaiʻi Sea Level Rise Viewer (“Viewer”) (both available at The primary purpose of this document is to assist state and county planners, natural resource and infrastructure managers, and others with understanding and using the Sea Level Rise Exposure Area (SLR-XA) from the Report and Viewer in day to day planning and permitting decisions, particularly at the project or property-level scale (Figure 1). This guidance was developed in response to requests from county planning

Loko Iʻa Needs Assessment

This report is the first comprehensive compilation of the research ideas and needs within the community of fishpond managers, landowners, and stewardship organizations to inform adaptation of fishpond practices toward their resilience, adaptation, and sustainability in the face of a changing climate. It reflects the needs, interests, visions, and ideas of the Hui Mālama Loko Iʻa as documented in their collective and cumulative conversations in 2019. The report was synthesized by a collaborative of Kuaʻāina Ulu ʻAuamo, the University of Hawaiʻi Sea Grant College Program, and the Pacific Islands Climate Adaptation Science Center. Download the pdf

Tilapia Market Report: American Samoa, 2019

 Introduction From December 2018 to April 2019, 15 retail grocery stores, one fish market, and nine restaurants in American Samoa were surveyed by Hawai‘i Sea Grant Extension Agent Kelley Anderson Tagarino and American Samoa Community College student interns Raijeli Toanivere, Fuamai A. Tago, and Xu Yi Pan to determine: 1) the origin and volume of frozen tilapia imported by local wholesalers in American Samoa; 2) how often tilapia was purchased by local retailers and restaurants; 3) the size of a typical order; and 4) the imported price, the wholesale price, and the retail price of the frozen tilapia sold in

Retaining a Healthy Indoor Environment in On-Demand Mixed-Mode Classrooms

Retaining a Healthy Indoor Environment in On-Demand Mixed-Mode ClassroomsA study to measure energy performance and CO2 concentrations was conducted in two Hawai‘i classrooms to determine the impact of user decision-making on adequacy of fresh air. Using CO2 as a marker for indoor air quality and fresh air exchange, significantly different CO2 concentrations were observed in the two identical classrooms. In the Hawai‘i mixed-mode classrooms, ventilation and CO2 levels were dependent upon: user awareness of how fresh air was introduced; user training; availability of operable windows; and outside fresh air supply from the air-conditioning unit. This research has been a collaboration between The University
Cover of Guidance for Addressing SLR in Community Planing in Hi document. Includes three images of beach inundation/erosion.

Guidance for Addressing Sea Level Rise in Community Planning in Hawaiʻi

Through a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Regional Coastal Resilience Grant, the Hawaiʻi Sea Grant College Program together with the State of Hawaiʻi Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR), Office of Planning, and Tetra Tech, Inc., developed statewide guidance documents and tools to improve community resilience to coastal hazards and sea level rise effects, building on the work of the State of Hawaiʻi Sea Level Rise Vulnerability and Adaptation Report. This Guidance for Addressing Sea Level Rise in Community Planning in Hawaiʻi is intended to assist county planners to build upon and improve existing efforts to address sea
Cover of Sea Level Rise and Coastal Land Use in Hawaii. A collage of 5 hawaii coastal images.

Sea-Level Rise and Coastal Land Use in Hawai‘i

Rising sea levels along Hawai‘i’s shorelines call for state and local governments to take action by means of a wide range of coastal land use policy tools designed to help Hawai‘i successfully adapt to climate change. Hawai‘i is expected to experience sea-level rise of one foot by 2050 and three feet by the end of the century. Sea-level rise of this magnitude poses significant economic, social, and environmental challenges requiring leadership and bold action by state and local governments, which are uniquely positioned to implement land use policy tools to shape Hawai‘i’s efforts to successfully adapt to rising sea levels
Entire article layout featuring images of various maps, webplatform and community preparedness group photo

Selected Tools for Awareness and Preparation

by Rachel LentzOften, coping with natural hazard preparation involves being aware of key information pertinent to that event. But sometimes that information may be hard to find or understand. Here are four resources that should prove useful to your own personal awareness and preparation as well as the preparation of your community. NOAA NWS National and Central Pacific Hurricane Center During the Central North Pacific hurricane season from June 1st to November 30th, the National Weather Service’s National and Central Pacific Hurricane Centers website presents a variety of resources for the Central and Eastern Pacific regions, as well as the
Title layout including sattelite pacific hurrican image, Hilo flooding, and community planning group around a table

Facing the Storm

by Mara Johnson-GrohSince the day it was born out of the Pacific, 65 million years ago, Hawaiʻi has been sculpted by storms, volcanic eruptions, hurricanes, earthquakes, landslides, and tsunamis. In the 21st century Hawai‘i is facing an increasing frequency of disasters as climate change exacerbates weather patterns and raises the sea level. Over the past few decades, the sea level has already risen by several inches and even if carbon emissions remain the same, conservative estimates suggest a further 3.2 feet of rise by later this century. A 2017 report, the Hawaiʻi Sea Level Rise Vulnerability and Adaptation Report, found
Title layout including black and white photo of people running from 1946 tsunami surge in Hilo

“Like the Whole Ocean Was Coming at You”

by Josh McDanielThe science of tsunamis has expanded in leaps in recent decades. From advances in detection and alert systems to coastal inundation modeling and mapping, we now know more about the seismic forces that trigger tsunamis and can forecast how tsunamis will flood distant coastlines hours before the waves arrive. However, successful preparation for a tsunami still occurs at the community level, preparing infrastructure for the unique destructive forces that occur and educating people on how to react and get to safety. While there have been several tragic tsunamis in the recent past across the globe, we are learning

Going Beyond Code

To support Hawai'i's 100% renewable energy goal by 2045, Hawai'i Sea Grant faculty, their colleagues, and seven student researchers just published a paper to show how house design and construction practices can be modified to meet the newly adopted, more restrictive energy codes and renewable energy goals. The research was conducted through a collaboration between The University of Hawai'i's: Hawai'i Natural Energy Institute's energy efficiency program, School of Architecture's Environmental Research and Design Lab and  Sea Grant College Program. The paper is accessible for free online: A brochure explaining the take-aways of the research can be found here:  2020 Residential
Title page layout - meeting and presentation photos food suppy photo

Community Means Resilience

by Natasha VizcarraDays before Hurricane Iniki slammed into the island of Kauaʻi in 1992, condominium and apartment managers went door-to-door to make sure their residents were preparing for the storm. Hours before the storm struck, motorists honked their horns in places where warning sirens could not be heard. Iniki soon churned over Hawaiʻi with winds of up to 145 miles per hour and gusts of up to 225. By the time it dissipated, six people were dead, thousands of homes were in shambles, and most of Kauaʻi was without power. Iniki was the costliest hurricane to strike Hawaiʻi, causing $3.1
Title page layout - USGS scientist observing glowing fissure 8 in the evening


by Sara LaJeunesseOn April 30, 2018, the Puʻu ʻŌʻō cone of the Kīlauea volcano collapsed, triggering an eruption that would last for four months. Over that time, as lava drained for miles underground, long fissures ripped through the Earth’s surface, spewing lava at up to 26,000 gallons per second. Earthquakes—up to 6.9 in magnitude—rocked the ground, and dangerous levels of sulfur dioxide gas filled the air. By the end of the eruption, 716 homes were destroyed, and some 3,000 residents were displaced. The lava caused an estimated $236.5 million in damages to public infrastructure, $27.9 million in farm losses, and
Title page layout - cascading storm waters in front of Haena home

The Storm, the Flood, and the Future

by Jake BuehlerThe afternoon before the flooding, you would have been hard-pressed to find any reason to suspect it was coming. It was an idyllic, mid-April day in Hanalei, Kauaʻi, after all: 79 degrees, a mix of sun and clouds, and with a steady, beach-cooling wind out of the northeast. Over the next 48 hours, though, a truly staggering quantity of water would pummel the northern reaches of the island. The subsequent flooding—the result of meteorological quirks converging with maximal potency—precipitated destruction. Yet, the disaster and recovery has precipitated something else in turn: a response from community that lends a
Title page layout-empty shelves in grocery store

How Food Secure Are We if Natural Disaster Strikes?

by Lurline Wailana McGregorOn June first every year, the Central Pacific hurricane season officially begins. In anticipation of the heightened threat that it brings to the Hawaiian Islands, government preparedness offices take the opportunity to remind all residents to have an emergency kit that includes at least fourteen days of food, water, medication, and other essential supplies. In the past, the likelihood of a hurricane making a direct hit on the Hawaiian Islands was rare, but climate change and the northward shift of hurricanes towards the islands have increased the chance of landfall. Other natural disasters can befall our islands,

The Three ‘Io Brothers and the Big Bad Hurricane

by Keri Kodama There lived three ‘Io brothers on the island of Hawai‘i. They had just left their nests and were on their way to make their living in the world. Each had bought his own house on the mountainside. One day, on their way home, they came to a big cluster of animals gathered around a single panicked rat. “A monster is coming! A monster is coming!” the rat cried, waving his arms around madly. The ‘Io brothers looked at each other. The third brother, who was the smartest and most responsible of the three said, “What are you
opening spread for "the joy of limu" article, Ka Pili Kai Hooilo 2019

The Joy of Limu

by Miwa TamanahaLimu is food, first and foremost, for fish, forming part of the foundation of a complex trophic web that spans from plankton to people. Limu is also food for people, probably most commonly brought to mind as an essential ingredient in our lunchtime poke bowls. Limu has extensive uses in all manner of foods, both Hawaiian and the many other ethnic types represented in our communities, and at events from baby parties to New Year celebrations. Pickled, salted, dried, raw, chopped, fried, boiled, no matter the form, limu for eating is a gift shared among friends and family
opening spread for "limu traditions" article, Ka Pili Kai Hooilo 2019

Limu Traditions

by Lurline Wailana McGregor“When I was growing up, if you went to a lūʻau, you would know who prepared the food and what area it came from by just knowing the taste of the limu and the kinds of limu that were utilized. Basically, you could tell where the families came from by the raw stuff they made,” says Malia Akutagawa, who was raised on the east end of Molokaʻi. Now 48 years old and an assistant professor of law and Hawaiian Studies with both the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa’s William S. Richardson School of Law and the Kamakakūokalani
Ppening spread for "A Community Approach: removing invasive algae to restore native ecosystems" article, Ka Pili Kai Hooilo 2019

Removing Invasive Algae to Restore Native Ecosystems

by Paula MoehlenkampWhile the diversity and beauty of plants on land are easily seen by us, we may often overlook their aquatic counterparts hidden beneath the sea. Algae, photosynthetic plants ranging from microscopic phytoplankton to larger seaweeds, live in fresh and seawater and fulfill a variety of important functions, including the production of oxygen and the provision of habitat and food. Although limu, various species of seaweed native to Hawai‘i, are an integral part of the environment, the rapid spread of invasive algae over recent decades has raised concern for the future health of limu and their ecosystems. Originally, multiple
opening spread for "first lady of limu" article, Ka Pili Kai Hooilo 2019

First Lady of Limu

by Dr. Celia Smith, Bill Thomas, Kawika Winter, and Mazie K. Hirono, U.S. SenatorI first met Dr. Isabella Abbott as she emerged from nearly 30 years at Hopkins Marine Station of Stanford University, as its first woman, and first minority, full professor in the Department of Biology. The year was 1976, and Dr. Abbott was already a force of nature. As a visiting professor at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa’s Botany Department, and later as the G. P. Wilder Professor, the Botany Department’s endowed chair, Dr. Abbott had returned to her alma mater to teach the stories of her
opening spread for "growing a network of limu practitioners" article, Ka Pili Kai Hooilo 2019

Growing a Network of Limu Practitioners

by Josh McDanielUncle Wally Ito is passionate about limu, or seaweed. He says limu has always been an integral part of Hawaiian culture, with uses in food, medicine, and religious ceremonies. In a traditional Hawaiian diet, limu was the third component of a nutritionally balanced diet along with fish and poi, providing an important source of minerals and vitamins. Limu, such as wawae‘iole (Codium edule), manauea (Gracilaria coronopifolia), ele‘ele (Ulva prolifera), kohu (Asparagopsis taxiformis), and līpoa (Dictyopteris plagiogramma), are still a common ingredient in many Hawaiian dishes, adding flavor and spice to poke and stews. “At one time there were

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