'You can make a difference': Hawaii climate strike youth leader standing up against West O'ahu power plant
Some West Oahu residents are saying "no more coal".
A power plant in the area is asking the state for more emission limits and it's also raising eyebrows with environmental groups.
KITV4 sat down with Hawaii' Climate Strike youth leader Dyson Chee for a Q & A.
Q: You were at the climate strike last week, how does this issue relate to the strike?
A: Two of our State demands for the climate strike is 1) to bring down the 100% renewable energy goal to 2030, instead of the current 2045 goal, and 2) to ban fossil fuels and tree based biofuels by 2030. Coal fits perfectly into both of these, since cutting our dependence on coal by 2022 will help to feed into achieving a 2030 renewable energy goal, and obviously coal is a fossil fuel.
Q: Usually we hear adults advocating for the environment, what motivates you to speak up?
A: For me, it's really the knowledge of what climate change can do to the things I love. My entire childhood was practically spent at the beach, and knowing that the very beaches that I snorkeled, body-boarded, and spearfished at might not exist in my lifetime is really sobering. You, your friends, family, loved ones, me, my friends, family, and loved ones are all going to face whatever the climate crisis has in store for us. It's the things that I cherish and love that drives me to speak up about our climate crisis and take action.
Q: Any other messages you'd like viewers to know about?
A: No matter who you are, you have a power, and with that power you can make a difference. I used to think that because I was a kid I couldn't do anything about climate change, but I learned that that wasn't the case. Because I am a kid, I don't have a lesser voice–I have a different voice. So for everyone listening to this, I want to you take action to beat our climate crisis. Thursday at 6:30pm, at Momilani Elementary, there is going to be a hearing about the AES coal plant, and I want everyone who is listening to this to come to that hearing. This hearing will be a chance for us to say no mo' coal. Even if you aren't comfortable with talking, you supporting presence there will speak volumes. If you want your voice heard, this is your chance!
KITV4 reached out to the plant's owner, AES Hawai'i. It says it's committed to a safer and greener energy future.
A statement from the plant was also released this morning:
"The partnership agreement reached between HECO and the AES Hawai'i plant helps to meet the goals envisioned to reduce overall greenhouse gas emissions in Hawai'i as required by state law."