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Kauai Community College co-sponsors global climate change conference

Kauaʻi Community College
Cammie Matsumoto, (808) 245-8280
Director, Community Relations & Special Projects, Kauai Community College
Posted: Nov 19, 2009

LĪHUʻE, Kauaʻi, Hawaiʻi – Surfrider Foundation – Kaua‘i, University of Hawai‘i Sea Grant College Program and Kaua‘i Community College are co-sponsoring a one-day conference, "Global Climate Change: Impacts on Kaua‘i," to be held Saturday, November 21, at the Kaua‘i Community College Performing Arts Theatre, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
The conference will bring together Hawai‘i experts who have focused their life work on preserving and protecting our land, sea and quality of life. They will provide scientific information in layman’s terms on how the various effects of climate change are likely to impact Kauaʻi’s future.
The event is designed to inform every citizen of Kaua‘i, including interested members of the public; representatives of Kaua‘i’s major industries including tourism, health care, energy, and the military; government officials and employees; farmers; community and environmental groups; and students at all levels.
“Kaua‘i Community College is delighted to co-sponsor ‘Global Climate Change: Impacts on Kaua‘i.’ As the higher education institution on the island, the college embraces our role as a resource for information and a gathering place for important, community conversations. Looking at the predicted local impacts of global climate change will help Kaua‘i residents plan for the future we have already created, while at the same time stirring us to act to create the future we can still influence,” says Dr. Helen A Cox, chancellor of Kaua‘i Community College.
Dr. Carl Berg, senior scientist with Surfrider Foundation-Kaua‘i stated, “Surfrider Foundation strives to protect the oceans, beaches and marine life around our islands. It is important that Kaua‘i’s people recognize the changes that are happening to our oceans and reefs as a result of global climate change. We need to adapt to these local changes and make collective steps to mitigate climate change. It is our responsibility for our children and future generations.”
“Understanding the potential impacts of climate change is arguably one of the most important issues currently facing coastal communities," said Jim O’Connell, University of Hawaiʻi Sea Grant College Program coastal processes extension agent on Kauaʻi. “All natural processes and marine organisms function within a larger, more complex inter-active system. To varying degrees, climate change is anticipated to affect every physical and biological system – which means every individual will be affected by climate change in some way.”
This important recognition is one of the reasons why the University of Hawai‘i Sea Grant College Program recently established a multi-disciplinary Center of Excellence in Island Climate Adaption and Policy. The center offers expertise in the areas of law, policy, planning and science to mitigate and adapt to climate change while embracing the wisdom of local, traditional cultures.
“This ‘Global Climate Change Impacts on Kaua‘i' conference is precisely what we need to begin to comprehend the possible impacts to our Island. It’s the only way we will be able to begin to know what we could possibly do to live sustainably with climate change. If we ignore the potential impacts of climate change, the repercussions will take us by surprise," said O’Connell.
Discussion topics and speakers at the conference, in addition to Berg and O'Connell, include:
  • "Climate Overview: Rainfall/Drought" with Dr. Thomas Giambelluca, Department of Geography, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa;
  • "Water: Stream Flow and Groundwater" by Dr. Gordon Tribble, U.S. Geological Survey - Pacific Islands;
  • "Sea Level Rise: Coastal Problems" with Dr. Chip Fletcher, Department of Geology & Geophysics, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa; and
  • "Ocean Changes: Coral Reefs" by Dr. Paul Jokiel, Hawai‘i Institute of Marine Biology, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa.
For more information about the conference or to pre-register, contact Berg at (808) 639-2968 or

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