Fridays for Future

Climate Strike

Fridays for Future is an international movement to raise awareness and maintain attention on the climate crisis and our moral obligation to stop the causes and address the consequences, especially for the most vulnerable. 

HIPL board member Matt Geyer is organizing demonstrations. For 2023, follow him on Instagram #fridaysforfutureoahu

Weekly Focus Areas, 2022

June 17: Sign-waving in Waikiki 

This Friday at 4 pm, join us at the corner of Kalakaua and Kapahulu Avenues in Waikiki to sign wave again, this time to raise awareness of two specific issues related to our climate and essential natural resources. First, we need to keep up the pressure on the State of Hawaii and the federal Department of Defense to #shutdownRedHill. The most recent inspections have shown long-neglected needed repairs to the pipes and valves that move the fuel around, so funding and action are needed ASAP to allow the fuel to be removed safely. Second, we'll be calling on Gov. Ige to veto SB2510, a bill that would actually penalize the renewable energy progress made on various islands in Hawaii. Join us to keep up the pressure on our government to do the right thing for us and the climate!

May 27: Sign-waving in Waikiki 

This Friday at 4 pm, join us at the corner of Kalakaua and Kapahulu Avenues in Waikiki to do some sign waving in a place that will be undergoing profound changes in the decades to come.  The picture below is of king tides in 2017. The map highlights the inundation expected from sea level rise, hurricane-powered storm surges, or a moderate tsunami. Waikiki simply will not exist as we know it in the future, but you wouldn't know it from the sighs of relief that tourism numbers are back to pre-pandemic levels. If the world does not take drastic action now to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, this picture will be an everyday high tide event, and the map will not be a projection but a fact of life.

The answers to two major questions  this raises - "How do we survive without tourism?" and "How do we respond meaningfully and quickly to the climate crisis?" - are the same.  We have to transform the ways we think,  the choices we make, and our ways of life. This is, essentially, a religious transformation, because it will require us to adopt new core values and beliefs and to act faithfully and consistently on them. Technologies, policies, and markets are all important, but they must follow this transformation of what we believe and how we choose to live. But that transformation can embrace the deep cultures and traditions of Hawaii long before tourism (or pineapple and sugar) were the foundations of our economic and social well-being. In creating something new, we can and should embrace what has long been there waiting for us to rediscover and reinvigorate. In this context, new technologies, policies, and markets can support a truly just, equitable, and sustainable future for all!

May 20: Sign-making in Manoa 

This Friday at 4 pm, we are inviting you to join us in Manoa to make some new signs emphasizing the importance of responding faithfully and urgently to the climate crisis. Scientists are urging us more every day to rapidly reduce our greenhouse gas emissions in any and every way possible, setting 2030 as a goal for significant reductions to avoid the worst effects of global warming-driven changes in the climate. As an interfaith organization, HIPL agrees that we need to act quickly and meaningfully, but any and all actions must be aligned with our deeply held values and beliefs. Since it's hard to capture all that in a single easy-to-read sign, we need lots of signs to reflect the diversity and importance of our values and beliefs! To join in the sign-making party, contact Matt Geyer directly, See you there!

May 13 - : On hiatus for the summer 

Now that thte legislative session has wrapped up, we are taking a break from the weekly climate strike protests. We'll be organizing protests around special meetings or events this summer, so stay tuned!

Weekly Friday protests for peace in Ukraine and around the world will continue, so your signs and your voice can still promote a more just, equitable, and sustainable future for all.

April 29, Defund Climate Chaos!

Research and development grants. Tax preferences. Free or below-cost support services. Price caps and subsidies. Favorable rules and regulations. Below-market lease rates and royalty payments.  Military escorts and protections. These are just some of the direct and indirect ways the US and other national and state governments subsidize businesses and industries they want to thrive. In the private sector, banks loan money for projects they think can succeed, insurance companies protect them against reasonable risks, and investment firms buy their stock, hoping for a good return on investment. And, of course, we as consumers buy the products and services that meet our needs and that we believe in. 

That model of official government, strategic business, and everyday consumer support for fossil fuel companies, products, and services must come to an end. It may be a hard financial and economic choice, but it is the morally responsible choice we have to make. 

There is no doubt about it: the ways governments, businesses, and citizens spend their time and effort, as well as their money, are choices. Even the laws, rules, and regulations that constrain our options are themselves choices made to promote certain ends. Many of our choices on a daily basis help us survive and achieve the short- and long-term goals in life we all have. But the choices we make, big and small, are moral ones, not just practical or utilitarian. And that means we have to think about them and make the right ones, not just the least expensive or most profitable ones in a rigged marketplace and economy.

Defund climate chaos! is a movement and a rallying cry in the climate activist community, epitomized by our friends at 350Hawaii who regularly demonstrate at the Fridays for Future climate strikes. Specifically, it calls for an end to government subsidies of all kinds for fossil fuel companies and for banks, insurance companies, and investment firms to stop funding and supporting them. This is related to the divestment movement that seeks to have institutions of all kinds – university endowments, government employee retirement funds, charitable foundations, even churches – take their money out of investments in fossil fuel and related climate-wrecking companies. While many large mutual fund companies have “socially” or “environmentally responsible” fund options, why should ANY of their funds be socially or environmentally irresponsible? Likewise, if banks and insurance companies profess to help our communities and provide long-term benefits for society, why would they continue to fund the companies literally fueling the climate crisis?

We have our own role to play, but as individual consumers, our options and power are limited. As citizens, though, our voices are strong and can be heard if we work together and promote a consistent and morally responsible message to governments, businesses, and public-minded institutions. Releasing strategic oil reserves to reduce the price of gasoline by 10 cents a gallon might win a few votes, but it won’t truly help those most in need when climate catastrophes hit. Instead, let’s subsidize, fund, invest in, and insure the emerging and proven solutions to the climate crisis and make a true long-term difference for one and for all.

Join us at Fridays for Future this week to raise your voice and make your choice to Defund Climate Chaos! 

April 22 (Earth Day!):
Climate Justice from Global to Local

Climate change is a global issue with local impacts. Likewise, issues of justice for people and the environment are interconnected from local to global scales. Environmental justice and racism are well-documented and understood. One common example is that lower-income communities, often with high proportions of minorities or indigenous people, have literally been the dumping grounds for municipal and industrial waste. The Waimanalo Gulch landfill stands as testament to that here on Oahu.

So for this week’s Fridays for Future (Earth Day edition!), our focus is climate justice. We need to be fully aware not only of the interconnected local to global nature of the climate crisis but also of the unjustifiable inequalities that are being exacerbated and magnified by the impacts of climate change. Below are just a few examples that come to mind.

This Earth Day, let us connect these issues together and commit ourselves to the fundamental transformations that a just, equitable, and sustainable future require. Our model can be the religious beliefs and visions of a better future that many of us hold dear and profess. Our faith calls us to a transformation of our values, priorities, decisions, and actions that lead to new ways of living and interacting with each other and all of Creation. Earth Day is and always has been about radical changes, not simply stopping one thing or substituting another. So join us this Earth Day at the capitol for Fridays for Future to call for a climate transformation that benefits us all but especially the least among us!

April 15: The Power of the Sun to Brighten Our Days and Energize Our Lives

It is almost cliché now to promote the use of the sun to power our future, but that in itself speaks to the rapid development and deployment of low-cost photovoltaic panels along with improvements in battery storage. When HIPL first formed in 2007, PV was just starting to take off in Hawaii, and churches were being approached by solar companies to install PV panels on their rooftops for “free” while buying back the electricity they produced at a discount over the rate the electric company charged them. Now, solar with battery back-up is standard, electric vehicles are being envisioned as mobile energy storage devices, and the next big thing is community-based renewable energy projects and smart grids to enable our transition to a 100% renewable energy future. 

It’s worth stepping back, though, to reflect on how the sun powers our lives and how we can be more intentional in using it to not just energize the renewable energy revolution but to help achieve many of the goals we have for a just, equitable, and sustainable future. The conditions for life on Earth are literally powered by the sun: the just-right temperatures for liquid water and biological activity; the energy captured by green plants to capture carbon dioxide and turn it into the very stuff of life; the winds that blow across the land, carrying the water from the seas to fall on a thirsty ground; the wavelengths of light that allow us to see the beauty and diversity of Creation all around us; and the inspiring and artistic beauty of the sunrise and sunset each day. These are just some of the blessings of the sun. In many of the world’s creation stories, the emergence of the sun and the revelation of light in a universe of darkness often come first, emphasizing the sun’s foundational role in co-creating and sustaining all of life. Our lives revolved around the seasons of the year long before we realized the Earth revolved around the Sun.

And so as we call for the adoption of new and different ways to energize our lives and power our societies, let us embrace the many ways we can use the gifts of the sun. Even though we are a species that spends a lot of time indoors, letting in the natural light of the sun is both healthier for our bodies’ natural rhythms, it is an inexpensive way to light our homes. The energy embedded in that light can be reflected and concentrated to heat solar cookers outdoors, solar water heaters on our rooftops, and even split water atoms to generate hydrogen as a transportation fuel.  The warming power of the sun’s rays can be captured in well-designed buildings to reduce heating costs in the winter while employing trees or other greenery to absorb that energy and use it to green our environment and replenish the oxygen we breathe. Especially for low-income households, rural communities, and places less well-connected to reliable infrastructure, these low-cost, “low-tech” designs and approaches are even more important and beneficial. 

With all these existing ways to use the sun, it should be only as a last resort that we capture the sun’s rays to generate electricity to, well, light or heat our homes and water, cook our food, or charge batteries to get us around. The more we rely directly on the sun to light our way and power our lives, the more connected we are to all of Creation, the more meaningful those stories of Creation are to us, and the more appreciative we are of the natural gifts we have been given. 

April 08, Protecting The Waters of Life

Clean water is an essential resource for all life as we know it. While it may not cost much to purchase water at a store or from a municipal water supplier, its value and importance to us cannot be overstated. When the availability of water is threatened or in short supply, that’s when we feel it and express how valuable water is for all of us.

The widespread use of fossil fuels has contaminated, degraded, or used up our precious waters for decades. It is a wonder that we have found it acceptable to live with this threat to and destruction of the waters we need to survive for the convenience of energy supplies. But perhaps that uneasy acceptance is finally coming to an end. The military’s Red Hill fuel storage depot has not stopped spilling fuel and contaminating or threatening our drinking water supplies, and we have finally collectively stood up and said “Enough!”. But we’re not the first ones to do this. Our proud and brave Native American brethren stood up to the prospect of a major oil pipeline at Standing Rock, which spurred others to speak up elsewhere and oppose this continued violation of our right to a healthy and livable environment.

It is in that spirit that we call upon everyone to stand up and speak out against the growing effects of climate change on the waters of life around the world. While rising temperatures are in themselves a major concern, the effects of climate change on droughts, floods, “rain bombs”, and drastically altered seasonal rainfall patterns is of equal concern. From our needs for drinking water to the needs of plants for water in the soil to the erosive effects of heavy downpours and floods on the land itself, either too little or too much water can be destructive for life. Oceans are being acidified, compounding the stress of extreme temperatures on coral reefs and other shell-building organisms. Coastal storm surges are destroying beaches and shorelines, compounding the effects of sea level rise. Glaciers are receding and disappearing, and the polar ice caps are breaking up and melting away. These losses amplify global warming itself and exacerbate changes to water cycles.

In traditional Hawaiian agriculture and governance, wai (Hawaiian for “water”) was associated with wealth (waiwai) and abundance. Lo`i kalo, wetland taro fields, are synonymous with traditional Hawaiian culture and ways of life. The ingenious and complex engineered systems they developed to divert and use but also conserve water is well-known. Water was central to the governance of land and other natural resources and formed the basis of important laws & regulations.   

The threats from fossil fuels and climate change to our life-giving waters are also a desecration of the sacredness of water for religions and people of faith. Water is integral to the stories, beliefs, rituals, and sacraments of most of the world’s major religions. Water is a symbol of birth or rebirth and transformation. We sprinkle ourselves with it or immerse ourselves in it to cleanse the body and the soul. We share it as a gift of hospitality and a recognition of our responsibility to meet the needs of others, especially travelers and strangers. Let us no longer suffer the degradation and desecration of that which is critical to our survival and ways of life, and to what is sacred and special to us as people of faith. Let us protect the waters of life, abundance, and spiritual transformation!

April 01, 2022: Move with Aloha

Transportation is a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions, so how we get around greatly influences our carbon footprint (see the graphic from the US EPA). Like everywhere else in America, daily travel in Hawaii is dominated by the personal automobile, so it is no surprise this represents more than half of the total emissions for the transportation sector. And while we welcome the future of electric and alternative-fuel vehicles, this week’s Fridays for Future focus area is a call to “move with aloha” and consider more deeply the ways we get around and how that connects with what is important to us.

As we emerge from the social isolation of the COVID19 pandemic, it is a delight to be able to reconnect with each other in person in casual gatherings, at churches and community centers, and important events. It is also a blessing to be able to reconnect with the special places in our communities and the natural world all around us. How we move and get around can be a part of that. Walking or cycling to where we need to go is not just good exercise; it gives us time and opportunities to observe the people and places around us, to connect and appreciate what we have, and to experience what is missing and that we need to prioritize to improve and sustain our communities and ways of life. Riding a bus frees us from the stress of navigating busy streets and le’s us connect socially with our fellow passengers, whether they be family and friends or people we’ve never met. We can take time to enjoy the scenery, and if it’s not something pleasant to look at, think about why that is and what we should do to change that. Contrast this with how we spend our time and attention driving around in a car, what we think is important to support that, and what that means for the beauty, livability, and sustainability of our community, the aina, and our climate.

There are many stories from the world’s religions of the spiritual insights and transformations that took place along the various journeys that founders, saints and converts have taken. These almost always took place while walking from place to place. Sometimes traveling alone was key, giving time and space to commune with the divine. Other times, it was social encounters and connections along the way that revealed deep truths or illustrated the strength of someone’s faith or the power of belief. Being open to these spiritual revelations is critical, and that’s easier to do when we slow down and are not completely focused on getting from Point A to Point B. 

Transportation is one of the focus areas of Honolulu’s Climate Action Plan. Complete Streets is a priority for our city and is supported by the Office of Climate Change, Sustainability, and Resilience. The Hawaii 2045 Transportation Plan supports "multi-modal transportation" and 100% clean energy, but we can and should do more to move away from a car-centered transportation future and reliance on flying tourists to Hawaii as the basis of our economy. For the health of our bodies and spirits, our communities, and our climate, we urge you to move with aloha!

March 25, 2022:
Food that Nourishes Body and Soul

This week, our focus is on food. It is, of course, is one of the basic necessities for all life on Earth. Most plants are blessed with the ability to make their own food through photosynthesis, but they still have to take up water and nutrients from their surroundings. The rest of us have to find, hunt and capture, cultivate or buy and then consume our food. Food security - the price, quality, nutrition, availability, and reliability - of not just foods themselves but the food system as a whole is critical to our livelihood and sustainability.

Given this essential need and the importance of food security, the moral and spiritual dimensions of food are not surprising. Most of the world’s religions integrate food in their beliefs and covenants, history and stories, rituals and traditions, ceremonies and celebrations. But this is tied not simply to food as a vehicle for religious expression; it reflects the complex interrelationships we have with the natural world.  We depend upon the flourishing of Creation for our own survival and well-being; food is a tangible output of that and thus of the fulfillment of our responsibility to be faithful stewards of Creation. 

The Hawaiian word ‘āina is translated as “land” but is more properly understood as “that which feeds”. This represents, among other things, the recognition that caring for the land is caring for that which feeds us in so many ways beyond just providing basic necessities. Kalo, the primary food staple of Hawaiians, is regarded as the elder sibling of the ancestor of humanity, Haloa. This sacred and essential relationship to food and how we gather and cultivate it is a lesson for us all. The ability to share food with family, friends, and neighbors in fellowship and celebration or remembrance of life’s important events is a part of cultures around the world, including here in Hawaii, of course.

Science has now shown us that the ways we produce, transport, store, process, and serve food all have major impacts on the flourishing of the natural world, including the climate. Thus, our response to the climate crisis must include how and what we grow and consume. These decisions are not just practical: they are deeply moral and spiritual. For many cultures and religions, they speak to our identity, our history, our relationships, and our cherished ways of life. Many of the recommended strategies and practices to “reduce the carbon footprint” of our food systems call us to reconnect to the sources of our food, to those who grow and provide it, and to our own religious and spiritual traditions that have made food an essential part of that which does more than feed our bodies, it nourishes our souls. 

Join us this Friday, March 25, at the state Capitol to share this message and join the many around the world calling for a more just, equitable, and sustainable future for all!

Update: food, energy, and the war in Ukraine

The Russian invasion of Ukraine and the disruption of Ukrainian agricultural industries and exports threatens food prices globally and food security in middle- and low-income countries in Asia and Africa. Ukraine is a major producer and exporter of corn, wheat, and vegetable oils. Internal disruption of production and supplies, of course, is a major concern for the food security of Ukrainians themselves.

Protestors are gathering every Friday at 4 pm at the state capitol, as well, to protest the Russian invasion, calling for a boycott of Russian oil and natural gas (#nowarinukraine). We have joined them in solidarity to call for an end to this aggression and the suffering of the Ukrainian people. See Matt Geyer's Instagram page for photos of our joint protest:

The connections of this war to the climate crisis  are many. Like Ukraine, Russia is a major producer and exporter of grain crops. They also are a fossil fuel-exporting country, and many European countries depend upon Russian supplies of food and fuel.  This limits their ability to apply sanctions against Russia and increases their struggles and anxieties well beyond trying to receive and care for Ukrainian refugees while worrying about the fighting spilling over into their countries. Like greenhouse gas emissions, the causes and consequences of this conflict are ultimately global and, likewise, our responses need to be coordinated globally. Transitioning to renewable energy and reviving sustainable community food systems will not stop the possibility of such conflicts, but it will empower countries and peoples to respond morally and faithfully to oppose them, to seek just ends to conflicts, to restore right relations, and, most importantly, to live together in ways that reduce the perceived needs and motivations for or self-interested advantages of such conflicts. Fridays for Future is about more than our atmospheric climate; it is about the climate of humanity and our ability to live together in peace, justice, and prosperity!

March 18, 2022: The Gifts of Natural, Renewable Energy

This week our focus is on recognizing and embracing the gifts of renewable energy. Climate-altering emissions are most associated with energy, food, and transportation. With oil and gas prices rising, there are calls to increase production of fossil fuels domestically and internationally! This is not the answer. If we look deeply into our own religious and cultural traditions, we can see that this anxiety is a result of our own greed and hubris. 

Instead, we should open our eyes and our hearts to the gifts of energy that are all around us. The warming power of the sun makes the very possibility of life on Earth a reality. The winds that blow over the oceans have carried sailors and explorers, including Polynesian voyagers, to Hawaii and around the world. Waves, tides and ocean currents bring nutrients up from the deep, carry ocean life around the globe, and shape the beautiful beaches, vibrant coral reefs and undulating shorelines of our islands. Streams and rivers channel life-giving water. And volcanoes rise above the sea floor and explode into the sky, creating the very islands we call home. 

Native Hawaiians and many other cultures remain connected to these natural sources of energy. Most of the world’s religious traditions respect and honor these awe-inspiring forces. Many religions and cultures view these as gifts of Creation for the flourishing of humanity. Let us receive and use these gifts in ways that honor our obligations to each other, the Earth, and the Givers of these renewable and awe-inspiring sources of energy.  

Join us this Friday, March 18, at the state Capitol to share this message and join the many around the world calling for a more just, equitable, and sustainable future for all!