O l a

Oahu Resilience Strategy

Executive Summary

A thousand years ago, voyaging canoes arrived on our island and fostered a culture where no person or group should gain too much at the expense of our ‘āina or people.

Since then, each wave of immigrants has brought their own cultural gifts to add. On a small island our shared value of community—where each individual gives a little so that the group ultimately benefits together—has always defined who we are. This core value provides a strong foundation for O‘ahu to survive, adapt, and thrive in a challenging future—but only if we empower our values with action.

Recently, the gap between rich and poor has grown, the scale of tourism has reached into neighborhoods and secluded areas, and natural disasters have pushed communities to the brink. Forty-five percent of O‘ahu residents live in a household where someone is contemplating leaving, and 78 percent of residents believe that climate change is going to impact them personally. Our modern voyaging canoe Hōkūle‘a left O‘ahu to circle the globe with a call to restore our central value of mālama ‘āina: stating unequivocally that our ability to continue to thrive on island Earth together is rooted in local communities turning towards a truly sustainable future.

With this O‘ahu Resilience Strategy, the City and County of Honolulu picks up the torch from the Mālama Honua sail. The 44 actions within directly address the challenge of long-term affordability and the impacts of a climate crisis that is already driving islanders from their homes. Implementing this Strategy will make us economically more self-sufficient and safer as island people.

This Strategy was not the work product of one; it is a gut-check from thousands of residents who want to see action to protect the island they love. The good news is that with leadership and upfront investment, a higher quality of life will result for all O‘ahu residents. A healthy community pulls together in times of challenge, and we look forward to working alongside individuals, non-profits, businesses, and neighborhood organizations to steer O‘ahu’s course back to a thriving and equitable future.

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Remaining rooted

Our place-based culture has the highest quality of life—and highest cost of living—in the nation. The City will invest in long-term solutions that increase self-sufficiency, reduce out-of pocket expenses, and assure our community stay intact.

Bouncing Forward

The threats from hurricanes, flooding, and extreme weather are on the rise. The City will work with individuals, neighborhoods, and institutions to be prepared to absorb these blows and rebound in ways that put our entire community on stronger footing for each successive event.

Climate security

Community is the essential element of resilience. The City must foster connectivity and collaboration to ensure that when we are presented with economic and environmental challenges, we will come together stronger and tighter as one island ‘ohana that cares for all.

Community Cohesion

The climate crisis is the biggest challenge humanity has ever faced, and as an island society we are facing the impacts first. The City must transition to a 100 percent clean energy economy as rapidly as possible and begin changing policies and our infrastructure to protect lives and property that are increasingly in harm’s way.

How did we develop the Resilience Strategy?