Shaped by island geography, ahupua`a’s are wedge-shaped areas of land running from the uplands to the sea, following the natural boundaries of the watershed. When intact and fully functional, ahupua`a’s historically contained the resources that human communities needed from fish and salt, to fertile land for farming taro or sweet potato, to koa and other trees growing in upslope areas. Along with growing human populations, development, habitat fragmentation and water quality degradation, climate change is a clear and present threat from mauka to makai, requiring solutions at both global and local levels.  

Alterations of streams, non-point source pollution, sedimentation, and storm water runoff have decreased, fragmented, or degraded freshwater habitats. Marine systems downstream are affected by changes in stream systems, especially by any increase in sediment load. Corals, in particular, are susceptible to both pollution and excessive sedimentation. Anchialine ponds are threatened by the filling and trampling of the ponds, and the photosynthetic organisms (algae) that form the base of their food chain are easily disturbed.


Historical examples

-Appeal an EPA toxic emissions permit for H-Power garbage incinerator
-Successfully sue to stop heptachlor pesticide use on pineapple fields after pesticides found in motherʻs milk; establish the Hawaiʻi Heptachlor Research and Education Foundation



-Sponsor the Subhankar Banerjee Hawaiʻi Tour, the Arctic Film Festival, and cultural presentations by Gwich’in and Inupiaq women working to protect the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge from oil drilling

-Host “Race to Save the Planet” global warming events with Leilani Munter, race car driver

-Support the successful passage of state laws to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and require solar water heaters for all new single family dwellings

-Launch campaign to raise awareness of the impacts of invasive strawberry guava



-Join the National Wildlife Federation and 43 other NWF affiliates to advocate against federal funding cuts to programs regulating water pollution, air pollution, sewage treatment and disposal, and greenhouse gas emissions

-Partner with the Endangered Species Coalition to produce It’s Getting Hot Out There, a report relating to Climate Change

-Send Native Hawaiian law student delegate to the First Stewards Symposium in Washington, D.C. for indigenous representatives to discuss and address issues of climate change and the climate change impacts being experienced by indigenous communities throughout the U.S.