Yesterday, I spent half a day with two dozen corporate and conservation leaders to figure out how we can work together to promote the intersection of economic and environmental sustainability in Hawai‘i. Many thanks to Hawaiian Airlines’ Ann Botticelli and the Hawai‘i Tourism Authority’s Mike McCartney for their leadership to get this conversation started. As former Starwood Resorts executive Keith Vieira said, “You can’t manage what you don’t measure.” We were all motivated by our desire to improve the health of Hawai‘i’s marine ecosystems and to make sure we have metrics that push us.
We looked at a variety of measures to track progress:
- the Ocean Health Index, designed by Conservation International as an open-source tool;
- the Aloha+ Challenge with six sustainability goals for our state by 2030;
- the Promise to the Pae‘aina o Hawai‘i, a set of 20 commitments to improve Hawaii’s marine environments before the Hokule’a and Hikianalia sail back home in 2018; and
- the Hawai‘i Conservation Alliance‘s Watershed Snapshot Metrics.
Stay tuned for more work in this unprecedented partnership between tourism industry leaders and ocean experts as we work to measure the health of Hawai‘i’s oceans and to spur ourselves toward effective action to measurably improve our marine environments and the mauka waterways that flow into them. What’s clear is that we need to work together, for if our environment improves, our economy will also strengthen. Our grandchildren deserve our best efforts, with results to show for it.