Think about the dreams you have for your life, island, and world. These are big questions!

How often have you asked a young person what is their dream for their life, and expect a real answer? Youth are rarely ever asked. These kinds of questions really make us think! If you ask us again in five years our dreams may be different. The point of a dream, though, is that you have one you are willing to work towards.

As a founding member of the Sustainable Hawaii Youth Leadership Initiative, we made a video sharing our dreams. On December 14, we premiered it at an event with our island’s leaders at the West Hawaii Civic Center.

My dream is to become a writer and author. My dream for my island is to become self-sustaining.

My friend Sarah wants to be a therapist. Her dream for the world is to end racism, sexism, share the aloha spirit and for everyone to get along. Other young people want to be environmental scientists, dentist, doctors, businessmen, landscape designers, artists, sound technicians and teachers. During the making of the video, Sarah, I and others shared our dreams and also helped be assistants with lighting. That was fun.

At the event, I really enjoyed sharing my dreams with a reporter from the West Hawaii Today and the publisher of Ke Ola Magazine. I was excited when I was invited to write an essay about my experience.

Our video shares the voices of young people, some who may otherwise be overlooked. Their dreams are as wide, and deep as the oceans. These dreams are profound because they are young, and their dreams will grow, just as SHYLI will grow. You can watch the video on our website:

The dream of SHYLI is to invite young people to envision and create a sustainable island and world. It is a youth-led organization co-founded by 17-year old Wainani Traub. She served as Hawaii’s first youth delegate to a Youth Leadership Summit for Sustainable Development on Martha’s Vineyard with island youth from around the world. She represented all of us by speaking at the APEC Summit too.

SHYLI is very important to me. When I think of the future, I see many great things for my life. I want to learn, write, travel, meet new people, and so much more. I also see the statistics, and facts. Facts about our dwindling resources, about cutting down entire forests, the extinction of species, global warming, landfills, paving of valleys, and cutting of mountains. Our world and culture has grown incredibly, in technology, travel, and ideas. I am proud of how far we have come.

I am also scared about what we are forgetting, setting aside to come back to at some future date. Our world, land, and home must be our top priority. I’m afraid we are throwing away our world. We are destroying our land, and habitats to lay down concrete roads. This should be our top priority!
SHYLI is important, because our young people pledge to move forward to improve; to use what we can; and do so without hurting the environment around us. SHYLI is not just to teach people how to live with the world, but to show us how. We have an important vision for the future — a sustainable Hawaii, and a sustainable world.

I am so happy to be a founding member. I’ve already learned so much. In January we will learn with other island youth leaders around the world. Education is the first step to be able to take many steps in the right direction, steps towards a sustainable future.

SHYLI is being created by students who are willing to work hard to make this happen. It has only just begun, but has a long future ahead it. This organization will grow, with people, strength, and courage.

I know there are many young people on our Island who would love to be a part of SHYLI. All youth (high school and college) on the Big Island are welcome. SHYLI needs your help — from writing, to producing more videos, to working on projects with local organizations, to creating our first Sustainable Hawaii Tour using Google Earth. Everyone can share their gifts and talents – and learn as we grow.

Why join SHYLI when it takes time and effort? Join because you have a talent that you can share with SHYLI, join because you will learn and experience so much, and join because you will help and make a sustainable change on the Big Island.

Watch the video introducing SHYLI on our website: