Hawaii has set some records that it shouldn’t be proud of, like being the most oil-dependent state and having the highest number of threatened and endangered species in the country.
But it’s working to address these and many other environmental challenges. The state became the nation’s first to establish a 100 percent renewable energy mandate, for instance.
The inaugural State of the Environment Report, called He Lono Moku, takes a look at where Hawaii is today, how it got there and what needs to be done going forward in certain areas, ranging from using less water to growing more food.
Behind two Ohia blossoms, Waianuenue Falls drops 80 feet, in Wailuku River State Park, on the Big Island.
Nate Yuen, HawaiianForest.com
For example, the average resident and non-agricultural business in the state consumes 144 gallons of water per day, which is almost twice the national average of 88 gallons per day, according to the report. Marine Corps Base Hawaii is the top user at 53 million gallons per month, followed by the Honolulu Airport, Chevron, Hilton and University of Hawaii.
The 16-page report, which came out Wednesday, is expected to be the starting point for an annual look at where Hawaii stands when it comes to the environment.
It comes just two weeks ahead of one of the world’s biggest environmental conferences, which Hawaii (and in turn the U.S.) is hosting for the first time. The quadrennial International Union for Conservation of Nature’s World Conservation Congress is meeting Sept. 1-10 in Honolulu.
“Hosting the WCC in Hawaii brings the world’s attention to our islands and is a wonderful opportunity for sharing and learning,” said Brant Chillingworth, senior program officer at Hau‘oli Mau Loa Foundation and chair of the Environmental Funders Group’s State of the Environment Report Working Group.
“Our world is out of balance and faces daunting environmental challenges from climate change to endangered species,” he said in a statement. “We can’t keep passing on these growing challenges to the ‘next generation’ for them to figure out.”
Sixteen philanthropic organizations and individuals comprise the Environmental Funders Group, including the Hawaii Community Foundation, which convened and coordinated the group.
Read the full report below.