U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz

U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz

Hawai‘i is a national leader in clean energy initiatives and has become a global model for sustainability. To strengthen this foundation, the University of Hawai‘i announced it will be hosting next month the event “Developing a New Social Contract for Public Investment in a Green Future: a Conference on Hawai‘i’s Future.”

The April 15 event will be possible through a partnership between U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz, UH Manoa Chancellor Tom Apple and the UH Sea Grant College Program, according to UH.

Kaua‘i’s Mina Morita, Chair of the state Public Utilities Commission, will join several world-renowned experts — including former Vice President Al Gore — at the day-long event to be held at the UH Manoa campus.

“As a national leader in clean energy development and sustainability, Hawai’i is the perfect place to hold this important summit of local experts and global leaders like Vice President Gore,” Schatz said in a UH press release. “By teaming together we can tap into new resources and move forward with solutions that are good for our state, the nation and the world.”

Mina Morita, Chair of the state Public Utilities Commission.

Mina Morita, Chair of the state Public Utilities Commission.

Several experts will address key underlying issues of sustainability, and engage directly with high school and college students who are poised to lead these efforts in the future.

“We look forward to the positive outcomes this conference will generate with the collaboration of stellar and progressive minds,” Apple said in the release. “In no other place is the concept of sustainability more important than being located at least 2,500 miles from the nearest major land mass.”

In the morning of the April 15 event, keynote speaker U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer, Chair of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, will join Morita, Smart Growth America President Geoffrey Anderson, Ulupono Initiative co-founder Kyle Datta, Coca Cola Vice President of Environment & Water Resources Jeff Seabright, and Polynesian Voyaging Society President Nainoa Thompson, among others.

They will be partnering with state and local experts and Hawai‘i’s youth to examine risks and propose solutions to energy and water resource security, and the complexities of climate change.

Al Gore

Al Gore

That evening, former U.S. Vice President Al Gore will present a free public lecture at the UH Manoa’s Stan Sheriff Center at 7 p.m. Tickets for the Al Gore lecture are available at the Stan Sheriff Center Ticket Office or the UH Mānoa Campus Center Ticket, Information & ID Office.

On the following day, April 16, Schatz, Chair of the U.S. Senate Water and Power Subcommittee, will be holding a field hearing of the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources at the East-West Center at UH Manoa. The hearing will focus on meeting sustainability goals in Hawai‘i and the Pacific.

Professor Gordon Grau, UH Sea Grant director, said we are within reach of a future in which we create economic and social opportunities for all, advance an enriching quality of life, preserve cultural inheritance, and promote stewardship of our natural resources for future generations.

“We are very fortunate to be partnering with Senator Schatz, who for many years worked at UH Sea Grant and has championed sustainability issues in Hawai‘i long before most people understood its importance,” Grau said. “Through this conference we have an opportunity to bring the best and brightest minds together to focus on Hawai‘i and start to build our sustainable future.”

The April 15 event will be held at UH Manoa’s East-West Center, at 1601 East-West Road, Honolulu, from 7:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

At 7 p.m., Gore’s lecture starts at Stan Sheriff. Though the event is free, tickets are required, and can be obtained at the Stan Sheriff Center Ticket Office or the UH Manoa Campus Center Ticket, Information & ID Office.