In September 2012, I was one of more than 40 delegates to represent Hawaiʻi at the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) World Conservation Congress (WCC). The Congress brought together more than 10,000 environmental experts, scientists, and former and incumbent heads of state from around the world to discuss how to improve nature’s resilience. Much of the discussion focused on the issues of climate change, food security, people and governance, and economic development.
While in Jeju, our delegation worked to showcase Hawai‘i’s conservation efforts. Hula, Hawaiian music, and free macadamia nuts drew Congress attendees to the Hawai‘i exhibit booths, where we networked with international representatives and shared Hawai’i’s story with the rest of the world. The Congress featured talks and poster presentations by some of Hawai‘i’s leading conservation experts as well as a stunning cultural performance by Halau Unukupukupu.
Every day of the conference was filled with opportunities to learn from world leaders and network with other environmental professionals. One of my favorite talks featured religious leaders from around the world who talked about the connection between religion and environmental stewardship. While at the conference, I connected with people from all over the world who are all facing the same kind of environmental problems we are facing here in Hawai‘i. Perhaps the best part of attending the WCC was my time spent outside of the Conference Center, mingling with the people of Jeju. Throughout the duration of the conference, locals marched outside the Conference Center, in protest of the proposed naval base to be built on the island.
This was truly an amazing experience for me, as it was my first time ever getting to travel abroad. This incredible opportunity would not have been possible without the support of the William S. Richardson School of Law Environmental Law Program and the Hawai‘i Conservation Alliance.
Check out this video made by Tina! http://vimeo.com/58417443
Student travel grants are made possible by our generous donors! If you would like to support the ELP Program, check out http://blog.hawaii.edu/elp/about/support-elp/