Getting involved with the Oahu Resilience Plan
By: Kevin Okimoto
7 November 2019
In May 2019 the Office of Climate Change, Sustainability and Resiliency (OCCSR) released a document titled the Oahu Resilience Strategy. A 160 page read that outlines 44 action plans detailing common problems in Oahu. Each action describes a policy or program that the city will work on with a description saying why the Action is needed. The Action also includes benefits, partners working on the action, timeframes, ways to measure progress, and an example of a local or global idea that will help to further the Action.
“This is an all hands on deck kind of effort,” says Molly Pierce, Communications and Outreach Manager of the Office of Climate Change, Sustainability and Resiliency. Pierce says that it’s a matter of immediate hurt vs. long term benefits. OCCSR currently has nine permanent staff positions and each of them are involved in one of the 45 city, state, or federal departments in charge of, or working on an Action. Working in the Mayor’s office gives an added level of push to make sure there is proper follow-through on an action says Pierce.
Pierce affirms that each of these Actions are not only implementable, but are doable within the timeframe. “I can’t think of a single one in there that’s a pie in the sky idea,” said Pierce. An interactive map is available on the OCCSR’s website that shows every organization on Oahu that do Climate Change and Sustainability education.
Actions include issues such as high utility costs. Oahu has the highest urban residential electricity price in the nation at 28.22 Cents/kWH, compared to 12.87 Cents/kWh as the national average. “The average Hawai‘i households’ electricity bill is the highest in the nation at $149.33 a month, which is extraordinary considering that our average monthly consumption is the lowest in the nation,”according to the Oahu Resilience plan. Other Actions, such as Action 11 “Protect Lives and Property by Updating Building Codes,” work to quickly update building codes that are still operating on 2006 building codes.
In Oahu 79% accept that climate change is happening, less than 50% talk about it, and 59% said that they hear about climate change in the media at least once a month or less according to the Yale Climate Opinion Map.
Pierce emphasizes that if there is an action that you are interested in, give them a call or an email. “People engage a step too late. When a plan comes up, comment on it and tell people what you think. Don’t wait and come back. Engage with us, engage in the process. We can’t do it alone, you can’t do it alone, the state can’t.”