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Fellows Spotlight
'Care for ‘Āina Now' Coalition Supports Increased Investment in Natural Resources
April 10, 2024
Contributed by: Jack Kittinger and Kawika Riley
Aerial photo of the island of Kaua‘i

Photo courtesy Care for ʻĀina Now

There’s much more to Hawai‘i’s natural resources than meets the eye. The mesmerizing, picturesque beauty of the islands’ natural resources belie the fact that they serve as critical infrastructure to support the state’s resilience.

Two Omidyar Fellows, Kawika Riley and Jack Kittinger, are part of the leadership committee for Care for ‘Āina Now coalition, which is composed of more than 45 organizations, small businesses, and community groups statewide calling for more investment in natural resource management and conservation.

“The health of our ʻāina is inextricably connected to our health and economic well-being, yet we continue to underinvest in natural resource protection, restoration, and management,” Kawika says.

“There is an estimated need for over $360 million dollars every year for natural resource management,” Jack adds. “We’ve taken our land and ocean for granted for too long, but this legislative session, we are hoping to close this funding gap.” The consequence of chronic underinvestment is at our doorsteps, with fires, floods, and bleached coral reefs serving as symptoms of degradation.

The Maui wildfires were a wake-up call for all of us. Delays in funding and the effects of climate change put all of us at greater risk. We can take control of our future by managing our natural resources to prevent or mitigate the damaging effects of extreme weather conditions.

“We can bounce back if our ‘āina is given the chance to heal and flourish,” Kawika says. “That’s why we’re closely monitoring bills and asking our elected officials to pass legislation that would significantly fund natural resource management.”

To join the coalition’s efforts, organizations can email aloha@careforainanow for a sign-on letter to show their support. Updates on the coalition’s progress and how to support their efforts are available through the coalition’s newsletter, social media, and website.

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