Biden’s Investing in America Agenda announces $20 Million to bolster climate resilience for Native Hawaiian community
Twenty million dollars in funding has been made available through President Biden’s Investing in America agenda to strengthen climate resilience in the Native Hawaiian community.
The funding, announced by the Department of the Interior, comes alongside the release of the Fifth National Climate Assessment, a congressionally mandated report assessing the science of climate change in the United States, its impacts, and options for reducing present and future risk.
The funding will support the Department’s Office of Native Hawaiian Relations’ new Kapapahuliau Climate Resilience Program, which will provide Native Hawaiian organizations with resources to cope with impacts of climate change, including the repair and recovery of structures and cultural sites; improvement of climate resilience measures; and maintenance of the integrity and identity of the Native Hawaiian people while enhancing the capacity of the Native Hawaiian community for climate adaptation.
“Through the Kapapahuliau Climate Resilience Program, the federal government is directly funding Native Hawaiian-led climate solutions for the first time ever,” said US Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI). “This $20 million down payment – part of the Inflation Reduction Act’s historic investment in climate action – recognizes the critical role of the Native Hawaiian Community in charting a path towards a sustainable, climate resilient future in Hawai‘i and beyond.”
In Hawaiʻi, sea level rise and ocean acidification have resulted in coastal flooding, erosion, and coral bleaching, causing negative impacts to nearshore fisheries, coastal communities, and traditional Native Hawaiian practices like cultivation and fishpond maintenance. Increased temperatures have also led to loss of native bird species as well as extreme weather events that have caused fires and extensive flood damage to homes, businesses, roads and agricultural lands.
“Native Hawaiians are seeing climate change affect their communities, nearshore fisheries, traditional foods, resources, and cultural practices,” said Stanton Enomoto, Senior Program Director of the Office of Native Hawaiian Relations. “The program puts critical financial assistance into the hands of the Native Hawaiian Organizations whose practice of Aloha ʻĀina reflects how the Hawaiian Islands and its environment are essential to the Native Hawaiian Community identity.”