April 21st, 2018
Governor David Ige and hundreds of students from 40 schools statewide joined Blue Planet Foundation and other community members for the Blue Line Project — a movement to raise awareness about the impacts of climate change and the urgency of clean energy solutions.
Around 10 a.m. students and community members began chalking “blue lines” to mark at 15 different locations around Hawaii. The line was based on actual data that demarcates the sea level rise exposure area as identified by the Hawaii State Climate Commission. These areas are vulnerable to coastal erosion, passive flooding, and annual high wave flooding.
“The blue line that students chalk today won’t last long. But the impression it leaves will be indelible,” said Jeff Mikulina, Executive Director of Blue Planet Foundation. “We are a force of nature. The actions we take today will literally shape our coastline tomorrow.”
The purpose of the Blue Line Project is to highlight Hawaii’s vulnerability to climate change and sea level rise. Recent studies suggest that Hawaii could see a one-meter rise in sea level in the lifetimes of today’s students, if we continue our unsustainable reliance on fossil fuels for our electricity and transportation needs.
“Today these students are taking the first important step to become a climate ready community. If everyone takes a similar step every single day for the rest of our lives, we can live, and thrive, in a safe and clean decarbonized world,” said Charles “Chip” Fletcher, Co-author of the “Hawaii Sea Level Rise Vulnerability and Adaptation Report,” which was used to select the Blue Line Project’s 15 locations.
In these areas, communities are facing permanent displacement of their homes, businesses, and treasured places like parks, schools, and community centers.
“The coast is moving and the Blue Line Project helps us think about how we as an island move with it,” said Josh Stanbro, Chief Resilience Officer and Executive Director of the city’s Office of Climate Change, Sustainability and Resiliency. “If we don’t pay attention now, we will pay in dollars and public safety later.”
Preparing for the event, Blue Planet Foundation organized more than 50 presentations at the participating schools to discuss climate change, sea level rise and renewable energy solutions.
“Students need to know how the actions of those before them, and their own actions, will effect their future,” saidGriff Jurgens, Blue Planet Foundation’s Education and Outreach Coordinator. “They need to be aware and informed about what their future could look like in hopes that they will make their voice heard. The hope is that they will start making small changes that collectively will make a huge difference.”
Blue Planet Foundation’s community outreach team spoke to nearly 3,000 students over the past month during the team’s education efforts.
“Projects like the Blue Line Project are really important because they are so focused on awareness and getting people to understand that one person can make a difference,” said Katie Christian, a 12th grader at Sacred Hearts Academy.
The Blue Line Project was sponsored by Sunrun.
“Sunrun is proud to partner with Blue Planet Foundation, students, and community members to raise climate change awareness,” said Blake Briddell Sunrun Director, Hawaii. “The Blue Line Project reminds all of Hawaii that clean energy is an important part of our sustainable future.”
“The only way we’re going to solve this is to get everyone involved,” said Nainoa Thompson, President of the Polynesian Voyaging Society. “Ultimately, what the Blue Line Project does is provide an opportunity for everyone to participate in finding the solutions for these very difficult questions in a very inspiring and hopeful way.”
Polynesian Voyaging Society was a partner organization that helped Blue Planet Foundation put on the Blue Line Project.
Other participating organizations include: Church of Crossroads, Climate Commission of the Department of Land and Natural Resources, DevLeague, Fairmont Kea Lani, Interfaith Power & Light, Hawaii Energy, Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation, Kapiolani Community College, Kanu Hawaii, Kihei Business Association, Kokua Hawaii Foundation, Local 5, Malama Maunalua, Office of Climate Change Sustainability and Resiliency, Sierra Club Hawaii, Pacific Biodiesel, Pono Home, RevoluSun, School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology, Surfrider Foundation, Sustainable Coastlines, SustAINAble Molokai, University of Hawaii Sea Grant College Program, and Waikiki Improvement Association.
“When working with these community partners on this project, it was evident we all share a similar vision that Hawaii’s future should be clean and resilient,” said Francois Rogers, Special Projects Director at Blue Planet Foundation and Blue Line Project lead. “Their involvement shows Hawaii’s businesses and leaders are committed to making sure that future comes true.”
The Blue Line Project was powered by data that was provided by PacIOOS (www.pacioos.org), which is a part of the U.S. Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS®), funded in part by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (g) Award #NA16NOS0120024. The State of Hawaii, Department of Land and Natural Resources, Office of Planning, Tetra Tech, Inc., Hawaii Sea Grant, and Pacific Islands Climate Science Center were also instrumental resources for the project.