MSC March 2021 Newsletter

Here are some updates from the UHM Sustainability Council community.  Thanks for all the great work that you are doing!

(1) UH Office of Sustainability Annual Report to Board of Regents (Matt Lynch)

Matt Lynch shares the transcript of his presentation to the Board of Regents in February:

Editor’s note: So much insight in here about student perceptions regarding sustainability and how UH could/should pivot to address these issues going forward. Well worth your time to read! If you have thoughts on how to help the Office of Sustainability move forward, please contact Matt at

(2) Society of Humanitarian and Sustainability Engineering (Margaret Nakayama)

The Society of Humanitarian and Sustainability Engineering is a recently established RIO at UHM that aims to bring together a group of individuals passionate about sustainability and help communities through engineering knowledge.

SHSE stands to empower students to tackle sustainability and human welfare challenges within their local, national, and global communities. Consisting of engineers and students from all disciplines, SHSE supports disaster relief activities, sustainable development, public health, and sustainability education. SHSE facilitates sustainable aims to unite those passionate about sustainability and help communities by developing relationships to create an extensive network of proactive individuals.

For more details, please contact Margaret (

(3) Aloha+ Challenge 2020 Benchmark Report (Hawaii Green Growth)

Together with network partners across government, business and civil society, the Hawai’i Green Growth Local2030 Hub released the Aloha+ Challenge 2020 Benchmark Report, presenting Hawaiʻi’s first Voluntary Local Review (VLR) of progress on the UN Sustainable Development Goals at the statewide level. This report is the first statewide VLR of the SDGs in the nation, and provides 2020 baseline data to inform decision-making for a green economic recovery.

The full report features baseline data trends across the six Aloha+ Challenge Goals, a sustainability deep-dive of all four Hawaiʻi counties, community bright spots & grassroots action, COVID-19 response & green growth recovery, equity, social justice, & peace spotlight, Hawaiʻi’s VLR methodology & scalability model, and the HGG Network 2030 Sailplan:

(4) Benefits of virtual conferences (Victoria Anderson, Chelsea Counsell)

Victoria shares her experience with moving from a f2f conference meetings toward a “digital conference” modality:

“ICLDC is the pre-eminent conference worldwide for language documentation and conservation. In the past, we capped the number of attendees at 500. This year, the conference was moved completely online, expanded to accommodate a wide range of timezones, and was attended by approximately 1,000 people! It went off flawlessly. It created more accessibility, not just in terms of doubling the numbers, but making it possible to pre-attend more talks than one could in previous conferences, and making it possible to attend a satellite event in Hilo on Hawaiian language revitalization. I had never been able to attend the Hilo event until now. Just think of the carbon footprint that we avoided creating: 1000 people NOT traveling round trip to this conference!”

Chelsea wrote up a perspective called “Shifting away from the business-as-usual approach to research conferences”:

And here’s another white paper on digital conferencing and issues of equity and sustainability from the linguistics community:

To discuss this further, please contact Victoria ( or Chelsea (

(5) Manoa watershed project (Henrietta Dulai)

Henrietta shares that each year in her class, she teaches students about the Manoa watershed and specifically, about past and current land-use and its effects on the stream:  “We examine Manoa stream, its banks stream bed and man made structures. We learn about the importance of riparian vegetation and natural as opposed to cemented stream bed and stream banks. We then do water quality measurements and analyze the water along the stream for waste water tracers – we regularly find pharmaceuticals such as ibuprofen and caffeine in the water suggesting the leakage of cesspools into groundwater and the stream. This year we had to do a virtual field trip focusing on a few selected sites and used data collected by previous classes.”

For more details, please contact Henrietta (

(6) Environmental Film Festival (Joseph Gurr)

The Environmental Film Festival in the Nation’s Capital ( is all virtual this year, and runs from March 18-28. This year’s selection of short and feature-length films covers environmental topics like conservation, sustainability, activism, climate justice, and much more. The all access pass is $45, but you can get a 50% off discount using code DCEFFEDU. There are dozens of films being shown so this is a great deal even if you just see a few.

For more details, contact Joseph Gurr (

(7) The Ministry for the Future (Kim Stanley Robinson)

FInally, since it’s Spring Break and I know you all want something to read while it’s raining, I recently finished and highly recommend “The Ministry for the Future”, by Kim Stanley Robinson. Krista Hiser wrote up a great reflection which is available here:

For more details, check your local library!

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