“I will” Commitments for a Sustainable Future

Aug 12, 2013 by Breanna Rose


Over 20,000 people across the islands & beyond the shores of Hawaiʻi have chosen to “kanu” or “plant” seeds of change with the words “I will.”

The words “I will” are powerful because:

they mean we are acting today for a future we envision for tomorrow.

they are rooted in kūleana-- both a responsibility & a privilege.

when combined, they become a collective “we will,” and what we have planted begins to prosper.

A recent event at the Hawaiʻi Conservation Conference called Building Partnerships for a Sustainable Future: Bright Spots in Hawaiʻi Leadership saw the value of using pledges to transform ideas into action, and asked Kanu to lead the process of making pledges for change.

William Aila, Chair of the Department of Land & Natural Resources, opened the event with a moving keynote on the power of laulima: what we can accomplish by working together. His keynote set the stage for the rest of the afternoon, which focused on bringing diverse people together around a common vision: a sustainable, resilient Hawaiʻi.

There were nine interactive round-table discussions that featured inspiring examples of successful partnerships that are working to advance sustainability in Hawaiʻi. These were referred to as “bright spots” because they are shining examples that light the way and empower others to follow. Round table discussion included: ahupuaʻa management, food self-reliance, clean energy, sustainable tourism, waste, green funding, environmental education, climate change, and green/blue jobs

Kanu helped ground ideas from these discussions through the use of “I will” pledges. Kanu staff, Board Members, & volunteers asked people to make pledges that were inspired by the bright spots & discussions, asking people to focus on what we could do together.

William Aila made the first “I will” commitment of the afternoon. His personal pledges were followed by over 80 more pledges from others leaders & community members. Below you can read the commitments that many people were inspired to make at this event. Each individual “I will” is now part of a bigger, collective voice of what “we will” do for our future, starting now.

What will you kanu today?


1. I will fill a position for a Hawaiʻi Statewide Sustainability Coordinator - William Aila, Chair, Department of Land & Natural Resources (paraphrased from keynote)

2. I will empty water from every plastic bottle I see in the trash or on the street to return it to the aquifer. Water is a precious resource, and I will make sure it does not sit wasted in a plastic bottle in a landfill - William Aila, Chair, Department of Land & Natural Resources (paraphrased from keynote)

Commitments in Food Self-Reliance:
1. I will be a resource for home gardeners to increase food production in their backyards, and make knowledgeable decisions on plants choices, soil management, & use of resources – UH Master Gardener Program
2. I will connect with Permablitz Hawaiʻi about starting a group on the Big Island – Ardena, University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo
3. I will learn how to garden & construct a vegetable garden in my yard within the next year to help with food self-reliance in Hawaii – Mike Mitchell, US Fish & Wildlife Service
4. I will grow as much produce as my malaʻai can, and sustain & install a water catchment –Matt Saunter
5. I will minimize my food waste (especially uneaten leftovers) by buying only what we need, planning meals, & eating out less often – Cherilyn Inouye, Kanu Hawaiʻi
6. I will buy more local produce – Jason B
7. I will continue to purchase all of our family produce locally
8. I will replace one meal a day with 100% locally grown ingredients
9. I will do my best to buy less imported produce and promote Hawaiiʻs food sustainability
10. I will spread the “word” of environmental sustainability and organic growing: Eat local & organic!
11. I will work to help make new farming viable & environmentally friendly
12. I will do what I can to develop a realistic viable model of food forest agro-forestry so that we can combine growing food with conservation & restoration
13. I will buy Kula apples!

Commitments in Education:
1. I will search for distance education options for college students on small islands with limited college programs – Kate Friday, United Sates Department of Agriculture Forest Service
2. We will serve the school garden community by serving as mentors & connecting Master Gardener volunteers to school gardens in their local communities – University of Hawai’i Master Garden Program
3. I will bring climate change to the forefront of my education programs- Kūhea Paracaelles
4. I will reach out to new schools & universities to offer professional development that build teacherʻs confidence and capacity to use the environment as an integrated place for learning across disciplines – Michelle Jones, Education & Outreach Department of Land & Natural Resources and Chair, Hawaii Environmental Education Alliance
5. I will continue to sponsor internships annually to help educate the next generation of conservationists – Michelle Mansuba, Army Natural Resources
6. I will connect with three schools in Koʻolaupoko – Kristina Jenkins, The Nature Conservancy
7. I will explore the idea of a “pilot” to find a way of connecting schools with conservation. I think that an adopt-a school (or adopt a tree hugger?) program to get conservation members connected as resources of liaisons with their local schools may get more traction & action – Christy Martin, Coordinating Group on Alien Pest Species
8. We will work at our organization to educate about horticulture techniques & methods so that people will have some tools to be more sustainable and create a more sustainable environment – Chris Wong, Institute for Pacific Islands Forestry
9. I will educate myself more, so that I may be the best possible vessel I can be to educate our future generations
10. I will continue to pursuer the idea that Hawaiʻi needs to make teaching Hawaiian Natural History a priority in the curriculum
11. I will use the environmental education I am getting to give back to my community as hopefully a vegetarian one day
12. I will help the school garden project in my own town

Commitments in Ahupuaʻa Management:
1. I will reach out to the Lodging Association through Hawaii Tourism Authority to identify ways that HTA & Hawaii Invasive Species Council (HISC) can support each other -- Jackie Kozak Thiel, Communications Coordinator, Hawaii Invasive Species Council
2. I will seek and be receptive to opportunities for NOAA (my organization) to support activities that promote shared learning and joint problem solving on the way to sustainability – Eileen Shea, Pacific Islands Regional Coordinator, NOAA
3. I will volunteer for various organizations, at least once per month, to help restore Hawaiʻi’s landscape – Misty Dodd, Hawaiʻi Agricultural Research Center
4. I will find out what ahupuaʻa I live in & do my best to help it thrive – Adam Sullivan
5. I will commit to a work restoration project for our youth in rural Hawaiʻi: The ‘Aina Momona
6. I will try my best to inspire & cultivate the next generation of land stewards
7. I will achieve more community buy-in to support conservation & spread environmental conservation
8. I will aloha ʻāina and mālama ʻāina

Commitments for Workforce Resilience & Green Jobs:
1. I will work with Leeward Community College to start developing a Terrestrial Natural Resource Management training program – Dan Sailer, Oahu Army Environment Program
2. I will find more creative solutions to promote sustainable workforce development – Kawelakai, Re-Use Hawaii
3. I will continue to seek out opportunities to assist students in their academic careers & to bridge the gap between academics and the workforce – Naomi Nihipali, Kapiolani Community College STEM Center
4. I will work on strategy to get business buy-in to promote blue/green jobs creation
5. I will engage my interns across sectors
6. I will organize a career day for my students that includes conservation & sustainability careers
7. I will educate & learn as much as I can about careers to make sure people I know have a better chance for a better future
8. I will take the advice about getting work while being a full time student & use it to get the work experience I greatly need
9. I will research local internships, non-profits, & college programs in natural resource management

Commitments for Clean Energy:
1. I will commit to establishing and coordinating with developers and coordinators of sustainable energy forms in Hawaii – Diane Sether, Energy Coordinator, United States Fish & Wildlife Service
2. I will bike commute – Sarah Courbis, Department of Land & Natural Resource
3. I will be more aware of different types of energy “suckers” in my house
4. I will commit to “navy” showers for 2 months
5. I will be as energy efficient as possible:
a. I will use my car only as needed
b. I will in stall power meters at my home
6. I will work on turning my computer off while away
7. I will commit to doing what I can to push clean energy to the next level, using education, innovation, & creativity
8. I will remind my kids to turn off the DVR as much as I remind them to shut the fridge
9. I will unplug my computer from the charger at night

Commitments for Sustainable Tourism:
1. I will continue to advocate for certification for eco-tour and other tour operators in order to provide our visitors and local communities with good, authentic tours that educated about our precious natural and cultural resources –Annette Kaohelaulii, Hawaiʻi Ecotourism Association
2. I will work with Hawaiʻi Green Growth to involve more hospitality businesses – Piia Aarma, President, Pineapple Tweed Marketing & Public Relations
3. I will help educate visitors about Hawaiʻi’s natural resources and offer tools to reduce their footprint – Karen Shisido, Board Member, Kanu Hawaiʻi
4. I will work with Hawai’i Green Growth (HGG) business & tourism partners to expand HGG’s network and work to advance sustainable business/tourism in Hawai’i – Breanna Rose, Hawai’i Green Growth & Kanu Hawai’i
5. I will produce sustainable value for Hawaii’s economy – Jhana Young
6. We will forge innovative partnerships across the travel/hospitality sector
7. We will encourage opportunities for voluntourism/volunteering

Commitments for Green Funding:
1. I will stand up for “environmental bills” even when big money special interest are on the other side of the table - Representative Kaniela Ing, Hawai’i State House of Representatives
2. I will transfer all of my stocks & mutual funds to socially responsible companies by the end of September – Nicole Brodie, Kanu Hawai’i
3. I will talk to our State representatives to support funding for watershed initiatives

Commitments in Waste:
1. I will contact NOAA about chartering a barge to go get the plastic marine debris at the North West Hawaiian islands in order to recycle it -- Kahi Pacarro, Executive Director, Sustainable Coastlines Hawai’i
2. I will engage Whole Foods to actively search for alternatives to plastic utensils – Nicole Chatterson, Kupu Hawai’i
3. I will help integrate a Hawai’i waste target into Hawai’i Green Growth - Breanna Rose, Hawai’i Green Growth & Kanu Hawai’i
4. I will pick up trash every time I go to the beach – Naomi W, Division of Forestry & Wildlife in the Department of Land & Natural Resources
5. I will compost – Ivan, Kanu Hawai’i
6. I will find my local recycling locations
7. I will continue to spend several hours every weekend looking for a place to recycle (they disappear when I find them! Where do they go??)
8. I will walk the beach once a week to pick up ocean waste

Commitments in Climate Change:
1. I will bring climate change content into all of our field trips at the Hawaii Nature Center – Jennie Peterson, Hawai’i Nature Center
2. I will join my colleagues in bringing forward the topic of climate change into the public arena – Kūhea Paracuelles
3. I will incorporate climate change in invasive species planning – Emily, Hawai’i Invasive Species Council
4. I will learn more about the impacts of climate change in Micronesia

Commitments to Advance Overall Sustainability:
1. I will work with Kanu & Hawai’i Green Growth to help incorporate equity as a key piece across the different sectors of sustainability – Breanna Rose, Hawaiʻi Green Growth & Kanu Hawaiʻi
2. I will continue to educate and encourage understanding for change…as long and as much effort as it takes – Mary Tait, Hawai’i Convention Center
3. I will drive less, never buy bottled water, talk to others about plastic pollution, & educate my family on the benefits of organic farming – Lindsey, Sustainable Coastlines Hawaiʻi
4. I will strive actively to bring joy & resilience to the earth and those around me – Jenta Russell
5. I will not use single-use plastic, drive less, eat local/organic, take navy showers & love it, and SPREAD the WORD! – Shannon
6. I will continue to seek the nexus points to bridge the sectors


Would you kokua and log in? All features are turned on when logged in. Mahalo!