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Delving into the "Water Resilience in Hawaiʻi" Conference: A Personal Reflection

Imagine a room filled with about 200 dedicated individuals, all gathered at the Hawaiʻi Convention Center on October 28, 2022, for a crucial mission - addressing the pressing issue of water resilience in Hawaiʻi. The "Water Resilience in Hawaiʻi" conference brought together experts, policymakers, and community leaders to explore sustainable water practices in our state.

UH's Commitment to Water Resilience

Before we dive into the conference details, a nod to the University of Hawaiʻi (UH) for organizing this significant event. UH boasts impressive water research and innovation capabilities, and they're committed to finding solutions for Hawaiʻi's water challenges. Vassilis L. Syrmos, UH's vice president for research and innovation, emphasized their research strengths and state-of-the-art laboratories. Kudos to UH!

Exploring the Cultural and Historical Perspectives on Water

A standout aspect of the conference was its focus on the intersection of culture, history, and water management in Hawaiʻi. It's not just about pipes and pumps; it's about honoring the spirit of the islands. UH experts, many with strong ties to cultural organizations in Hawaiʻi, shared their wealth of "ʻike" (knowledge) and "manaʻo" (thoughts) on this matter.Kamuela Enos, the director of the UH Office of Indigenous Knowledge and Innovation, underscored that traditional practices encompass spirituality, science, technology, and everything in between. Water isn't just a resource; it's a vital element that has shaped Hawaiʻi's past and continues to influence its present.

I had the distinct privilege of delivering the morning keynote address. In my presentation, I shared my personal journey and my profound connection to water in Windward Oʻahu. This connection has profoundly influenced my career path, emphasizing the importance of connecting our research efforts to the ʻaina (land) due to the inseparable relationship between water and the environment.

Following my keynote, the conference dove into its first panel, a deep exploration of the cultural and historical significance of water in Hawaiʻi. This panel was a testament to the rich tapestry of knowledge and traditions that make Hawaiʻi a truly unique place.

The "Water Resilience in Hawaiʻi" conference was a gathering of individuals passionate about addressing the critical issue of water resilience in our state. It underscored that water isn't merely a resource but an integral part of our culture, history, and environment, deserving of our utmost care and attention. I am immensely grateful for the opportunity to participate in this event and eagerly anticipate the collaborative efforts and innovative solutions that will undoubtedly arise from these discussions, paving the way for a more resilient and sustainable future for Hawaiʻi and beyond.


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