By Nina Wu
What will Hawaii's energy future look like in 50 years? Will we have reached our goal of reaching 100 percent renewable energy by 2045? Are we on the right track?
Lawmakers are calling on students in grades 4 through 12 to share their ideas on how to make Hawaii a renewable energy leader in the second annual Hawaii: Next 50 Contest. Students are invited to create an essay, poster or video in response to the question: Over the next 50 years, what can I do to help Hawaii reach its 100 percent renewable energy goal?
The contest, inspired by former Gov. George Ariyoshi's book, "Hawaii: The Past Fifty Years, The Next Fifty Years," prompts the next generation to think about what social, cultural, and economic roads we can take to keep Hawaii moving forward into the next century. Students are asked to read Ariyoshi's book (free copies available upon request) and then respond to the question in either essay form or visual arts form.
The deadline for all entries is 11:59 p.m. on Jan. 31, 2016. Winners will be announced in March 2016.
Last year, students were asked: What needs to happen in the next 50 years for Hawaii to be the best place to work and live? They responded with artwork, like the one by Kaydee Rapozo below, depicting renewable energies. One student, Dallas Kuba from Manoa Elementary School, wrote an essay about homelessness.
There were more than 450 entries from keiki across the state, according to Rep. Mark Nakashima, who spearheaded the revival of the contest.
"We were amazed to see the innovative range of their ideas," he said. "This year we wanted to take that same enthusiasm and focus it on one of our state's most pressing issues: the necessity of renewable energy to end our dependency on oil."
Ariyoshi said: "It's imperative that young people know they don't have to wait to graduate or become an adult to join the conversation in shaping our state. The book was my vision of a progressive Hawaii and it's exciting to see what concepts the up-and-coming generation develops if we just ask."
Judging criteria include whether the entry clearly provides an answer to the question, creativity and articulation.
Winners will be honored during a floor presentation at the Hawaii State Capitol and be invited to attend a luncheon with legislators. They will also receive a monetary prize and be published online.