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Sustainable Education Resolution: The Journey

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by Trevor Tanaka

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Sustainable Education Resolution: The 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 – didn’t understand 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 on that year, I participated in a conference called SSC (Seconday Student Conference).  At the Secondary Student conference, students formulated resolutions to improve high school issues.  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.  My resolution garnered support from over 70% of the conference delegates and was selected was 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 the Kaiser Making Waves garden day at Kahakai 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.  Last year, I attended the 2012 Youth Leadership Summit for Sustainable Development on Martha’s Vineyard.  My focus was Sustainable Education. I entered the summit trying to find a way to garner more support and bring my resolution back to life again.
  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 once again.
  9. 9.  The summit was eye-opening and it allowed me to realize how important sustainability is and why it is such a keen focus in island communities.  My entire mindset changed last year after watching a video and learning about the story of the Wampanoag language. It helped me to realize how broad the term sustainability is.  By the end of the summit, I had a changed perception and a plan to gain support from other students and teachers.
  10. 10.  At the start of my senior year of high school I had to pick a topic for my senior project. It was an easy choice – Sustainable Education.  My goal was to create and sustain an organic school garden in the agriculture 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 focus 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 to pass the resolution.  Marianne became my second mentor as she helped me spearhead the second focus of my project.
  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 an email from Representative Coffman’s secretary Napua that my resolution was going to be heard by committees in both the House of Representative 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, my job was to ask everyone I knew to submit testimony in support of my resolution. I spent my bring break garnering support for the resolution.  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.  Fortunately, with the help of Representative Coffman, I along with my mentor, Nancy Redfeather, flew to the state capitol to 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.  Both of the hearings were a success as each of the committees passed my resolution.  Each of the committees made amendments to my resolution.  The committees in the Senate created SCR 192 SD1. SD 1 stands for Senate Draft 1.  The committee in the House created HCR 178 HD 1. HD 1 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.  I received an email on April 26, 2013, stating that my resolution had passed.  The effect of the resolution is that the Board of Education’s current sustainability policy No. 6710 was amended to indentify 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 my 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.  Through this 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.

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