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Forums target climate change

LIHUE — The National Tropical Botanical Garden is holding another series of forums on climate change, starting in February, entitled “Climate Crisis 2020.”

The series will be held in the Kauai War Memorial Convention Hall. Scheduling for the meetings is ongoing.

So far, four meetings are scheduled. Topics and dates include: Waste Reduction on Wednesday, Feb. 19; Human Health Effects on Wednesday, April 15; Infrastructure, Coastal and Marine Impacts on Wednesday, June 17; and Food Security and Carbon Farming on Wednesday, Aug. 19.

The forums will be interactive, said organizer Margaret Clark, NTBG science and conservation specialist, who is working with a grant from County of Kauai to host the forums.

“After short presentations by a panel, people will have time to ask questions and interact with experts one to one, (like) speed dating, and there will be information tables with local organizations, refreshments,” Clark said.

The forums will follow along the lines of other climate panel talks hosted by NTBG and partners over the past few years in a public lecture series entitled “Earth Matters.”

Previous panelists in climate-change discussions have included former NTBG President Chipper Wichman, Kauai County Councilman Mason Chock, Kauai Emergency Management Agency Administrator Elton Ushio, and Kauai Forest Bird Recovery Project’s Lisa “Cali” Crampton.

The forums are an attempt to give people an understanding of climate-change impacts ongoing on Kauai, of the trajectory of climate change, the things that contribute to it, and how to make individual and community changes to combat climate change.

“There are so many groups working on so many different things on Kauai, it’s been hard to work it down to just four topics,” Clark said.

Sea levels on Kauai have risen 6.6 inches in the past century, according to researchers, and are predicted to rise up to 96 inches by the end of the century. Seasonal king tides in 2019 flooded the Hanapepe salt pans and other areas on Kauai.

Reports from all over Kauai show receding shorelines, especially in the winter months when big swells can carve out parts of a beach completely. Chip Fletcher, Honolulu Climate Change Commission vice chair, says 70% of beaches on Kauai are chronically eroding.

Up in the mountains, Kauai’s small population of rare and native forest birds are falling to avian malaria and avian pox because they don’t have an immunity to the diseases and temperatures in the mountains are warming, bringing the mosquito line further and further up Koke‘e.

The upcoming “Climate Crisis 2020” forums will address these environmental impacts as well as what climate-change impacts could do to the agriculture, economy and infrastructure on Kauai.

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Jessica Else, environment reporter, can be reached at 245-0452 or jelse@thegardenisland.com.
Source: The Garden Island

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