Wildfires. Coral bleaching. Rising seas. Disappearing beaches.

Climate change is a serious issue in Hawaii, but it’s also a difficult topic to report on in a way that moves beyond doom and gloom and engages readers in local solutions.

That’s why Civil Beat launched “Hawaii 2040″ earlier this year, and why we’re joining a national reporting initiative this week called Covering Climate Now.

From now through Sept. 23, Civil Beat — along with more than 250 news organizations from around the world — will be placing climate change at the center of their news coverage.

We’re kicking off that initiative today with a look at how warming seas could impact fish stocks and Hawaii’s beloved poke bowl. Later in the week, reporters will examine efforts to transition Hawaii to renewable energy, how rising global temperatures will impact energy demands, and ways that consumers and restaurants are working to reduce plastic consumption.

On Friday, we’re launching a new podcast with audio reporter Claire Caulfield to answer reader questions about the environment. The first episode of “Are We Doomed? And Other Burning Environmental Questions” will tackle how residents can help combat global warming on a local level, while future episodes will explore topics from reef-safe sunscreen to how Hawaii’s recycling system works.

The goal of Covering Climate Now is not just to provide a week of concentrated coverage, but to reframe the way journalists cover this pressing global issue. To move away from reporting on climate change primarily when a new study is released or when a natural disaster strikes, and have reporters across the country take a more holistic look at how climate change can — and already is — impacting the people and communities they cover.

In many ways, our participation in this national reporting effort is the next step in “Hawaii 2040,” our yearlong series on climate change.

Starting A New Conversation

Since launching “Hawaii 2040” in January, Civil Beat has examined the financial costs of combating climate change, delved into the carbon footprint of tourism in the islands, and tracked dozens of climate-related bills that died in the last legislative session.

We know now that sea level rise isn’t an issue that will just affect wealthy residents. That climate change is making the state’s beaches more dangerous, and that Hawaii is just as impacted by wildfires as any other state.

Moving forward, we want to continue to expand our coverage of climate change and move beyond public policy reporting. Which is where you come in.

Maureen Malanaphy stands next to her wall that protects her home from large surf.
Maureen Malanaphy, a retired public school teacher, stands next to a wall that protects her home from large surf. Cory Lum/Civil Beat

We want to get a better sense of what concerns you have about climate change. Are there solutions in other parts of the world that might work here? What does resilience look like in Kalihi? In Hilo? In Hawaii Kai?

Visit the landing page for “Hawaii 2040” to find past articles and interactive tools for examining sea level rise in your neighborhood, calculating your carbon footprint and understanding the latest scientific reports.

Send us an email with your concerns about climate change in Hawaii. Submit questions in the form below for our environmental podcast. Share your ideas — big and small — for local solutions. Let us know what changes you’d like to see in your community to prepare for a changing environment. We’re listening.

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