Year after year, our state Legislature ignores three issues that will greatly affect our future.

The first is food. The world population is growing exponentially.  In 1940, we had two billion people on earth. In 1980, we had four billion. In 2020 we are near 8 billion. The world population is exploding.

Meanwhile, 22 of the world’s largest 37 aquifers are going dry with no way to save them. The Ogallala Aquifer which underlies the entire U.S. central bread basket, running from North Dakota to Texas, will be dry in 40 years. No water for crops, or to drink. The aquifer under California’s San Joaquin Valley will be gone sooner.

This is all happening as the burgeoning world population requires more food. The United Nations warns that by 2050, we will need two bites of food for every one produced today. But they also predict that more than 370 million will be starving, more than all the people living in the U.S. today.

No one is paying attention. Hawaii imports 90% of our food. There will be none to import. We need to be completely food self-sufficient by 2050 or face mass starvation.

View of the Capitol looking down South Beretania Street. Capitol Tilt Shift lens.
The Hawaii State Capitol, where lawmakers should prioritize an agenda that takes the long view, says the author. Cory Lum/Civil Beat

We need our Legislature to open up lands and water, to push farming and ranching education, to create co-ops for new food producers, to give incentives to increase suppliers and create food processors.

We need the news media to wake up, and the education system to focus students on this need. It is truly do or die.

Lost Trade Winds

The second great need is hurricane shelters. Warming seas are making hurricanes stronger and broader. More are aiming our way. Trade winds have always protected us by shearing them off as they came north.

But over the last 50 years, we have lost nearly two days of trade winds a year. We will soon have trades less than half of the year. We are vulnerable. And totally unprepared.

In recorded history, Oahu has never been hit by a hurricane, so we have built homes accordingly. A category 4 or 5 will flatten hundreds of thousands of houses, and kill hundreds of thousands of our people. Hurricane Lane, a Cat 5, was headed directly toward Oahu just last year. It won’t be long before we are hit head-on.

The most dangerous place to ride out a hurricane is in our houses. But there is nowhere else to go.

The Hawaii Emergency Management Agency believes 420,000 people will need shelter. We have only 50 shelters in the state. Even worse, only three of the 50 shelters are rated to withstand more than a Category 1 hurricane. None are on Oahu.

Cat 3 and 4 hurricanes today are considered “average.” But when a 3, 4, or 5 hits, we die.

Our government is hiding this from us. The Legislature must act during this session to fund upgrading windows and roofs of public brick or cement buildings so they can receive our people and save lives.

The third great need is to begin to sincerely address the emerging Hawaiian Nation. We see the outpouring of people of all races at Mauna Kea, at Kahuku, and at Sherwoods amid flags of the Kingdom flying upside down and flags of the independence movement. This movement won’t go away. It will only grow.

The most dangerous place to ride out a hurricane is in our houses.

It’s time for our government to give the positive response so long-promised. A first step could be legislative approval of Senate Concurrent Resolution 189, which aims to end all discriminatory practice against Hawaiian Nationals.

These are the Hawaiian and non-Hawaiian descendants of people who lived in the Kingdom, and others now knowing true history and compelled by conscience to declare themselves citizens of the Hawaiian Nation.

Hawaiian Nationals are denied driver’s licenses, insurance, state jobs, the right to vote and hold office, and so much more.

These, our brothers and sisters, deserve equality in their land. And we need their voices, even in government.

Read more about these and other needs at

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