How One Hawaiian Mayor is Making His Town Better

ocean shore
Hawaii is a beautiful part of the world and like most gorgeous parts pf this planet it’s feeling the pressures of climate change. Despite the American government’s blatant rejection of science and sense in environmental policy one Hawaiian mayor, Bernard Carvalho, is bringing his community into the 21st century. Indeed, when the American government pulled out of the Paris Climate Accord the mayors of Hawaii along with the governor committed to following the accord in their state. Over at Grist they look at what Carvalho is doing in his community, hopefully other mayors will follow his lead.

At the start of his first full term in 2010, Carvalho opened his inaugural address with a vision of a better, more livable Kauai, which he branded as Holo Holo 2020. It laid out the top priorities for the community, from economic resilience to environmental sustainability, and identified 38 projects to carry out. That included installing crosswalks, photovoltaic panels, transit infrastructure, and EV charging stations.

“A lot of this came from my going out into the community. I like to go visit people,” he says. “From these meetings came these 38 projects.”

Many are well underway, and several have been completed, including an upgrade to existing bus service and the extension of a pedestrian path that now stretches along the seashore between the towns of Kealia and Wailua. (You can see the complete list of projects here.) “All of it is tied into this bigger vision of honoring the land and the water and the environment,” Carvalho says.

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