Kanu Hawaii is a movement of everyday people, launched in 2006, working to protect and promote the things that make Hawaii special – a connection to the ‘aina, a culture of aloha, and local self reliance. We strive toward change rooted in kuleana (responsibility) – a commitment to “be the change” even as we encourage change in others. To date, tens of thousands have joined the movement, committing to change in their own lives and standing together in campaigns focused on compassion, energy, food, waste, and civic engagement

Starting with forty; starting with ourselves.

But like all things, we grew from humble beginnings. Kanu Hawaii was founded by a group of forty who worried about Hawaii’s future and believed deeply in its potential as a source of lessons for the world. We were troubled by the degradation of natural resources, our growing economic insecurity, and the fading of tolerance and aloha — a loss of the very things that make life in Hawaii special.

At the close of that gathering we made commitments to each other, pledging specific steps to help Hawaii achieve its promise. We held each other accountable, measured our impact whenever possible, and searched for ways to work together.

Our charge: Be the change.

That gathering birthed Kanu Hawaii’s vision of islanders leading the way toward environmentally sustainable, compassionate, and economically resilient communities.

And our commitments defined Kanu’s method: We would embody a new kind of activism rooted in kuleana (responsibility and privilege) — an activism that says we are willing to “be the change,” even as we work to change people and institutions around us.


From forty in Hawaii to thousands around the world.

Though Hawaii remains our focus, Kanu’s work has inspired thousands beyond our shores. Several national organizations have applied aspects of Kanu’s movement-building model to their own work, including the Points of Light Institute, HandsOn Network, Live REAL, Jack Johnson’s All at Once community, the Charter for Compassion (operated by and the Fetzer Institute), American Express, and the 9/11 Commission.

Kanu’s work has also been cited in a number of local and national media pieces, and was featured in Guy Kawasaki’s recent book, Enchantment.

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