Tanaka’s resolution passed by state House, headed to Senate committee


As most high school seniors are finishing their courses, pondering college, their futures or their friends, Konawaena High School senior Trevor Tanaka is realizing a dream that will help others.

For the last year, Tanaka has been working on a Sustainable Education Resolution that would prepare future students build sustainable islands.

It all began when Tanaka was asked at the Asian-Pacific Economic Cooperation Youth Summit in 2011 — “What Does Sustainability Mean To You?”

“We know sustainability and clean energy are essential to Hawaii because of our location. Our dependence on imports threatens our resources and our way of life,” Tanaka said. “We also know Hawaii is rich in renewable energy sources that have the potential to decrease our dependence on … imported oil. Our ability to educate ourselves about finding the right balance of growing our economy, keeping our land healthy, and preserving our natural resources and culture is essential to our survival.”

In June, Tanaka was nominated by Nancy Redfeather to serve as a youth delegate at the annual Youth Leadership Summit for Sustainable Development on Martha’s Vineyard, Mass. Tanaka made a presentation on his sustainable education resolution. Following the summit, Tanaka became a member of the Sustainable Hawaii Youth Leadership Initiative fellowship, where he worked to create strategies and trouble-shoot challenges.

In January, Tanaka made a presentation at the initiative’s Youth Leadership Forum and invited leaders from business, government, education and civic community to support his resolution. After the forum, Tanaka found a champion for his resolution in Rep. Denny Coffman.

The House gave the resolution a number, 178, the Senate followed with 192. Tanaka had to quickly get testimonials from youth and friends of the institute.

Tanaka traveled with his mentor, Redfeather, and Coffman to the Capitol as hearings were to be held at the House and the Senate.

“Coffman and the committees we spoke with embraced Tanaka and his ideas and ideals for a more sustainable world,” said Redfeather.

“Tanaka serves as a great example to classmates and Hawaii as to the power and importance of one’s voice. There is a need for sustainability curriculum in our classrooms, and I will continue to support his resolution through the legislative process,” Coffman said.

On Tuesday it was adopted by the full House. The next step is a hearing being scheduled by the Senate Committee on Ways and Means.