Energy & Ag Issues

Richard Ha’Richard Has focus is on finding alternatives to rising energy costs, which are seriously impacting – and will continue to impact – Hawaii’s Big Island.

The world’s population is using two to three times as much oil as it finds, and the price of oil keeps rising. Prices just keep going up, and our quality of life will continue to go down. This is across the board – we’re not just talking about the cost of gasoline, but the price of anything made or transported with any petroleum-related process, including food. (It takes 10 calories of petroleum energy to produce one calorie of food.)

This is true without a shadow of a doubt, but many people don’t yet seem to realize how serious it is. 

Already, more Hawaiians live outside Hawai‘i than live in the islands. Many leave because they can no longer afford to provide the kind of life they want for their children here in the islands.

Richard focuses on three areas that will improve our quality of life in Hawai‘i. On the Big Island, we are lucky to have alternatives.

  1. One is geothermal energy. We are over a geothermal hotspot that will be available to us for 500,000 to a million years. Utilizing it for our electricity means cheaper prices that will remain stable.
  2. Biotechnology, a.k.a. GMOs, is a way of genetically modifying food to protect against dangerous viruses such as the blight that almost destroyed the Big Island’s papaya industry. GMOs also could have protected against the potato blight, which killed approximately a million Irish people in the mid-19th century and caused a million more to leave Ireland. Science has advanced to the point it can help us solve such agricultural crises. This means food security.
  3. The Thirty Meter Telescope is already bringing millions of dollars and other opportunities to Big Island students and creating a workforce pipeline to prepare our island students for STEM jobs. The telescope will bring a major economic influx to the island. Its science will bring scientific recognition to the Big Island from around the world.

You can read much more about these topics at Richard Ha’s blog.