Commentary: scenes from the summit: generating positive energy in our most insecure energy state.

Author:Grasso, Samantha
Position::COMMENTARY - Blue Planet foundation
 
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Ua mau ke ea o ka aina i ka pono: The life of the land is perpetuated in righteousness--State Motto of Hawaii

For residents of Hawaii, who are now paying the highest average price for gasoline in the nation, discontent is spreading fast. This is one reason why the state was the ideal venue for the First Annual Blue Planet Summit, sponsored by the Blue Planet foundation. The summit took place on Oahu from April 3-5 with the mission of initiating a change in world energy culture.

Hawaii is a remote island chain in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, and relies on imported oil for 90 percent of its energy needs. This spikes the rates of oil, gas, and electricity, and makes the islands vulnerable to disruptions in supply. It also makes them the canary in the coalmine when it comes to climate change. At the same time, they have a huge capacity for the use of sustainable renewable energy, as there is a constant and inexhaustible supply of wind, solar, wave and geothermal power, as well as a year round growing season for biofuel crops.

This three day summit brought together sixty speakers versed in science, engineering, business, technology, politics, and native culture, all committed to finding ways to stabilize the earth's climate, and end fossil fuel dependence as a matter of environmental and national security.

"We are living in an era bloated with information yet starved for wisdom," said Dr. Elisabeth Lindsey of Explorer, National Geographic Society, a Hawaii native. The event included a panel on indigenous cultures with the hope of reintroducing their ancient practices of sustainability in helping shape a cleaner future.

The Blue Planet Foundation believes that energy is the most imminent crisis of our time. The speakers and panel discussions were designed to address the realities of climate change and renewable energy from multiple perspectives. One clear undertone of the event was the importance of building coalitions where people with different motivations unite to further a common goal.

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Lieutenant Governor James R. Aiona, Jr. gave the first address of the event, highlighting the state's efforts toward energy independence. In 2007, Governor Linda Lingle signed the Global Warming Solutions Act, which mandates a statewide reduction in green house gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. In January of this year, Gov. Lingle announced the Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative, a partnership with the U.S. Department of Energy aiming...

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