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New Multi-State Initiative Seeks to Protect Coastal Environment

Aaron Zhu
Wikimedia Commons

State legislators from 18 states Monday formed the Coastal Working Group which will allow them to share ocean climate policy ideas and strategies.

Although the coastal ecosystem has been facing difficulties due to climate change, the ocean can also make a positive impact on the heating planet.

Kelp can absorb carbon dioxide and reduce greenhouse gas levels, and coral reefs can prevent devastating coastal damage, just to name a few. The ocean must be protected while simultaneously used to an advantage to live a sustainable future.

Representative Nicole Lowen from Kona is chair of the state Legislature’s Energy and Environmental Protection Committee, as well as a member of the Coastal Working Group.

At the launch meeting, she said, "Of course these issues are not just important for the people of Hawaiʻi. Reefs are often referred to as the rainforests of the ocean, providing carbon sinks, banks, and biodiversity that are important globally. It’s our responsibility here, or in Hawaiʻi we would say it’s our kuleana, to be the protectors of this resource for the planet."

"We have taken steps and bills passed in this year and recent years to work towards protecting the reef. Hawaiʻi does have a 30 by 30 goal to protect 30% of our ocean resources by 2030," she explained.

The Coastal Working Group operates under the National Caucus of Environmental Legislators.

Zoe Dym was a news producer at Hawaiʻi Public Radio.
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