The office will work towards reducing emissions, promoting renewable energy and efficiency, and fortifying infrastructure against climate change impacts.

Hawaii island has a new Office of Sustainability, Climate, Equity and Resilience now that Mayor Mitch Ross has signed Bill 48.

The Cabinet-level office will play a pivotal role in shaping and implementing the county’s response to climate change, Roth said in a news release Thursday.

It follows the drafting of the Big Island’s Integrated Climate Action Plan, which is under final review after a monthlong public comment period. 

Mayor Mitch Roth is flanked by County Council Chair Heather Kimball, left, and Council member Rebecca Villegas, right. (Courtesy: Hawaii County)

Creation of the Office of Sustainability, Climate, Equity and Resilience was championed by Hawaii County Council Chair Heather Kimball and Council member Rebecca Villegas.

It represents a collaborative effort between county leaders, community advocates and citizens to address challenges posed by a changing environment and to hopefully build a more sustainable and resilient future for the island’s children, according to Roth.

“In order to make sure that our keiki have a home where they can thrive for generations, we need to make sure that the anchors that keep them grounded here are preserved in perpetuity. Those anchors are things like our environment, culture and natural resources,” Roth said in the release.

The climate change office will collaborate with local businesses and residents to promote sustainable practices, foster eco-friendly initiatives and advance responsible environmental policies.

“Through active community engagement and partnerships, this office will strive to create a unified front in the battle against climate change and ensure a greener, healthier future for Hawaii island,” according to the mayor.

Over $619,000 was provided in the county’s fiscal year 2023-24 budget for the office.

Staffing will include an administrator who will be appointed by Roth, as well as a community outreach and communications specialist, a data analyst and visual specialist, grant manager and a policy analyst.

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