In August 2011, Honolulu District’s Silver Jackets initiative, the State of Hawaii‘s Coastal Zone Management Program, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration sponsored a workshop to facilitate the development of a statewide climate change policy. Sixty participants engaged in a unique futures approach to policy development. The participants represented a wide array of interests including federal, state and county agencies, academia, Native Hawaiians, environmental non-profits, community organizations, business associates, insurance companies, and youth. The workshop resulted in the development of priority guidelines for climate change adaptation being proposed by the Governor of Hawaii as an addition to the Hawaii State Planning Act in the 2012 State Legislative Session.
"Strategies for adapting to the adverse impacts of climate change require a multi-disciplinary, integrated planning approach that takes into account other stressors such as population growth, economic realities, and Peak Oil. The futures exercise, sponsored by Silver Jackets, allowed diverse stakeholders to experience these futures together, which stimulated more comprehensive strategies to address future climate change impacts," stated Mr. Jesse Souki, Director of Hawaii’s Office of Planning and co-sponsor of the workshop.
Participants were transported into the year 2060 and experienced four different scenarios based on futures archetypes of continued growth, disciplined, collapsed, and transformed societies. The participants were asked to “live” within these scenarios, accepting them as their reality and evaluating the pros and cons. Based on their experiences, they developed a “preferred future” centered on aspects of the scenarios they wished to retain or control against. This creative process encourages participants to think “outside of the box” in developing policies.
Day two applied the “appreciative inquiry” process to identify the policy and actions needed to foster the “preferred future”. Participants worked together to conduct an “environmental scan” of the trends, stakeholders, contributors, and competitors that may influence the development and implementation of the “preferred future” and climate change adaptation policy. Participants developed a climate change adaption “vision” built on shared values that formed the primary basis for the final climate change policy submitted. The workshop concluded with the identification of two priority strategic issues and associated action plans: (1) Educated Public and Political Will and (2) Integrated Planning a nd Collaboration.
Captain Jim Coon, the Maui Island representative for the Marine and Coastal Advocacy Council, stated, “This workshop was one of the most effective I have ever attended. The effort that went into creating the four different scenarios of life in 2060 paid off as we let ourselves live within the scenario. I believe that the vision that was cast was far more effective and realistic because of that effort. Finally the outcome was one that could be presented and defended to our legislators to guide them in their promulgation of climate change policy which will determine how the State of Hawaii and its people plan most effectively for climate change.”
"The two-day workshop allowed leaders to develop a shared understanding of the inevitable impacts of climate change in Hawaii along with a common foundation for the future we would like to see for Hawaii's people, systems, businesses, and resources," said Mark Fox, External Affairs Director for The Nature Conservancy's Hawaii Program.