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The Sustainable Journey


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by Trevor Tanaka

Published in: Environment
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The Sustainable Journey

  1. 1. By: Trevor Tanaka
  2. 2.  APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation) Essay Contest  Essay Question – Why is sustainability important to you, Hawaii, and APEC?  I struggled to write the essay because I found I really did not know enough about sustainability.  Unfortunately, I did not win the essay contest, but it sparked a new journey that would be far more important.
  3. 3.  Later that year, I participated in a conference called SSC (Seconday Student Conference).  At the Secondary Student conference, students formulated resolutions to address and improve issues facing Hawaii’s high school students.  SSC was held first with meetings on each of the islands. Selected students then met on Oahu for a three day long conference at the State Capitol.
  4. 4.  I crafted a resolution incorporating sustainability/sustainable education into the public high school science curriculum.  The resolution garnered support from over 70% of the conference delegates and was selected as one of the top 10 resolutions.
  5. 5.  After the completion of SSC, members of the DOE questioned Resolution 25 and said that “it was already being done.”  The progress of the resolution stopped for approximately 4 months until I participated in a community service garden day project at a local elementary school.  At this project, I met Nancy Redfeather, Director of the Hawaii Island School Garden Network.
  6. 6.  I talked with Nancy about my project and she nominated me to be a SHYLI (Sustainable Hawaii Youth Leadership Initiative) delegate.  Soon after, I met Marianne Larned.  Meeting and speaking with Marianne instantly rekindled the spark that was slowly dying because of the negative feedback I was receiving from members of the DOE and BOE.
  7. 7.  In July 2012, I attended the Youth Leadership Summit for Sustainable Development on Martha’s Vineyard.  My focus was Sustainable Education. In addition to getting much needed support and encouragement for my ideas and resolution, I met inspiring individuals and experienced important self- growth.
  8. 8.  Josue, Marianne, Marsha, and Nane helped me to think outside of the box and find new ways to attract the attention of the Legislature.
  9. 9.  The summit was eye- opening and reinforced how important sustainability is, especially to island communities.  I was especially moved after watching a video and learning about the story of the Wampanoag language.  I left the summit motivated and confident, and with a renewed sense of empowerment.
  10. 10.  For my Senior Project, I decided to continue my sustainable education efforts.  My first goal was to create and sustain an organic school garden in the agricultural area of my high school.  My mentor for this project was Nancy Redfeather. I also received help and support from our agriculture teacher, Maverick Kawamoto.
  11. 11.  The second, and much more challenging, goal of my Senior Project would be working on passing my resolution.  At the start of the process I had a few ideas, but one promising phone call changed it all.  This phone call was from Representative Denny Coffman who had heard about my resolution and was interested in working with me.  With the help of Rep. Coffman, Marianne and Nancy Redfeather, I forged ahead with one of the most challenging things I had ever undertaken.
  12. 12.  After meeting Representative Coffman, our first plan of action was to submit my resolution to the LRB (Legislative Reference Bureau).  The LRB is a non-partisan group that helped to fix the wording of my resolution and to make sure that my goals were clearly stated.  I worked with the LRB where my resolution was revised three times. Although I had to compromise with some language, the end product was acceptable to me.
  13. 13.  The next step was to get a hearing in both the House and Senate Education Committees.  Representative Coffman brought up the resolution and multiple senators and representatives signed onto the resolution. These members included Senator Solomon, Senator Green, Representative Takumi, and Representative Evans.  Without Representative Coffman’s help, there is no way I would have been able to proceed any further past this point.
  14. 14.  From this point forward, my resolution would now be known as HCR 178 and SCR 192.  HCR 178 stands for House Concurrent Resolution 178.  SCR 192 stands for Senate Concurrent Resolution 192.  For now, the wording of each was exactly the same as each of the concurrent resolutions as I had to wait to hear if they would receive a legislative hearing in either the House of Representatives or the Senate.
  15. 15.  On March 21, 2013, I received notification that my resolution was scheduled to be heard by committees in both the House of Representatives and the Senate.  The Senate Committee on Education and the Senate Committee on Water and Land would be hearing SCR 192 at 1:15 p.m.  The House Committee on Education would be hearing HCR 178 at 2:00 p.m.
  16. 16.  After getting the hearing notices, I had a very short time frame to obtain support for the resolution. I spent the Spring Break of my senior year in high school preparing for the upcoming hearings.  When submitting testimony, the legislature gives an approximate 24-48 hour window to submit online testimony. Physical testimony is also allowed at each of the hearings. Marianne’s and Nancy’s assistance was critical at this juncture.  With the help of Representative Coffman, Nancy and I flew to Oahu (where the State Capitol is located) so I could personally testify at the hearings.
  17. 17.  March 25, 2013  During the afternoon I participated in both hearings, where I testified in support of my resolution.
  18. 18.  The resolution was passed by both committees.  Each of the committees made amendments to the resolution.  The Senate Committee created SCR 192 SD1. SD1 stands for Senate Draft 1.  The House Committee created HCR 178 HD1. HD1 stands for House Draft 1.  The Senate Concurrent Resolution was heard by the Senate Committee on Ways and Means.
  19. 19.  The final step of the resolution was to have both HCR 178 HD1 and SCR 192 SD1 go through a process called conference.  During conference, the drafts are combined so that the Senate and the House of Representatives agree on one version. This version become HCR 178 HD 1 SD1.  HCR 178 HD 1 SD 1 was sent down to both the Senate Floor and the House Floor to receive a final vote by all of the Senators and Representatives.  On April 26, 2013 I received notification that the resolution had passed.  The effect of the resolution is that the Board of Education’s Sustainability Policy No. 6710 was amended to identify ways to incorporate sustainability education and environmental stewardship at the classroom level.
  20. 20.  Meanwhile, throughout the resolution process, I had cleared and tilled the slot of land I was given and started to create the garden.  With Nancy Redfeather’s help, I created two long beds which contained lettuce, kale, broccoli, purple cabbage, eggplant, carrots, and peas.
  21. 21.  January 19, 2013  Each of the five SHYLI delegates presented their projects and their process since arriving home from Martha’s Vineyard.
  22. 22.  Throughout the process I realized how important it is to be sustainable.  It also became relative that getting others involved is even more important.  Without the help of others, neither the resolution nor the garden project would have been a success.
  23. 23. Preparing our students to be good environmental citizens is some of the most important work any of us can do. It is for our children, and our children’s children, and generations yet to come. – Education Secretary Arne Duncan
  24. 24.  This “power or ability to lead” others becomes very important as some people lead with good objectives while others lead with the opposite in mind.  It is important when leading to not stray far from your moral/ethical compass  “It’s not about me, it’s about we.”  A true leader has the ability make everyone around them better.  True leaders understand the capacity to turn visions into reality. The task of leadership is not to put greatness into people, but to elicit it, for greatness is already there. - John Buchanon The power or ability to lead other people