4 Principles for Environmental Justice: Lessons from Hawai’i

Today, the Wai‘anae coast is home to one of the largest concentrations of Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders in the world. 

4 Principles for Environmental Justice: Lessons from Hawai’i

By Trisha Kehaulani Watson-Sproat

This article is the sixth and final in a series of articles published by NPQ, in partnership with First Nations Development Institute (First Nations), that lift up Native American voices to highlight issues concerning environmental justice in Indian Country and identify ways that philanthropy might more effectively support this work.

Repeatedly, Hawaiians and other indigenous Pacific Islanders have been placed in the position of being asked to tolerate the intolerable—namely, the systemic placement of toxic land uses in their ancestral lands and in their backyards. 

What will it take to change this?

We cannot undo the injustices of the past. We must do something about injustices today. Certainly, the acts of resistance being displayed on Maunakea or at Standing Rock reflect modern movements by Native peoples to respond to ongoing injustices. The crises we face are global and complex, so it may feel particularly daunting to identity ways in which to take small but powerful steps to become part of the solution.

Yet, steps are identifiable, and, moreover, they are needed. Here are four critical steps philanthropic leaders can take to walk the long road to justice with Indigenous peoples in Hawai‘i and elsewhere to bring health to their communities and support their futures.