Konawaena Student is Driving Force Behind Sustainability Resolution

Two years ago an essay contest on sustainability caught the attention of Trevor Tanaka, currently a senior at Konawaena High School on Hawaii Island. He realized that he did not know a lot about sustainability and, more importantly, while private schools incorporated sustainable education into their courses, it was woefully absent from the public school curriculum.

Trevor Tanaka

Trevor Tanaka

Trevor’s journey to do something about this began at the Hawaii State Student Council’s Secondary Student Conference in the fall of 2011 where he presented a resolution requiring public schools throughout the State to incorporate sustainable education into their science curriculum.  At the conference, the resolution garnered the support of 85% of the student delegation.  He was then nominated by Nancy Redfeather from The Kohala Center to join the Sustainable Hawaii Youth Leadership Initiative (SHYLI) and presented his resolution at the 2012 Youth Leadership Summit for Sustainable Development in Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, last July and at the SHYLI Youth Leadership Forum in Kamuela in January 2013.

In addition to drafting HCR 178 and its companion SCR192, Tanaka solicited officials like Mayor Billy Kenoi and other Big Island community leaders to submit testimony.  Earlier this week Trevor came to Honolulu to testify on his resolution before the House Committee on Education. HCR178 passed the House committee and will go to the full House for a vote before being sent to the Senate for its consideration.

“When I meet someone like Trevor I know that the future of Hawaii is in good hands,” said  Rep. Denny Coffman (District 5: Na’alehu, Ocean View, Capt. Cook, Kealakekua, Kailua-Kona) who introduced the resolution on Trevor’s behalf.

“Trevor discovered a gap in his school curriculum and decided to take the initiative and do something about it.  We could all learn a thing or two from this exceptional young man,” Coffman added.

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