LIHUE — Warming oceans, shifting wind patterns and shrinking Arctic ice sheets are just some of the evidence scientists point to when describing climate change.
“It’s not something that we’re expecting 100 years from now,” said Laurel Brier of Apollo Kauai, a grassroots organization that promotes the use of alternative energy. “We’re seeing the effects of climate change, such as rising sea levels, right now. We see it with our loss of trade winds. We notice it with our weather conditions. It’s happening now.”
It’s time to take action, according to Brier, which is why Apollo Kauai is hosting a panel discussion — not only to educate Kauai residents about climate change, but also to give them a springboard to do something about it.
“This is meant to be a kick-off to get people to take action,” Brier said. “It’s a drop in the pool but that’s what it’s going to be like everywhere. We all have to join together in this. We really think Kauai could be a model for addressing climate change.”
The event is set for July 29 from 6 to 8 p.m. on at the Niumalu Canoe Club Hale on the harbor side of Kalapaki Beach.
Stephen Taylor, who teaches physical science at Kauai Community College, will speak about the science of climate change.
“It’s a virtual certainty that the climate is changing and humans are causing it,” Taylor said. “In the scientific community there is as much consensus as you can possibly have. I’m going to focus on the big picture, like why are sea levels rising.”
Ruby Pap, a Kauai-based coastal land use agent with the University of Hawaii’s Sea Grant program, will be speaking about the impacts of climate change on Kauai’s coastal hazards.
Pap worked on a 2014 Sea Grant study about climate change and coastal hazards funded by Kauai County.
“The study took all the existing data sets out there and put it in a form that county planners can use,” Pap said. “The main goal was to compile the information and provide recommendations for policies.”
Also billed to join the panel discussion are Ben Sullivan, energy coordinator for Kauai County’s Office of Economic Development, and Jan TenBruggencate, chairman of Kauai Island Utility Cooperative’s Board of Directors.