Richard Ha writes:
I’ve talked about energy and I’ve talked about agriculture, but everybody who makes decisions about agriculture and energy operates in a vacuum. If it’s energy, they only talk about energy. If it’s agriculture, they only talk about agriculture.
To make it work, we need to get the two together.
The recently announced energy agreement is a first step in the right direction – for energy purposes. Now we need to add an agricultural component to it, which they cannot do because they’re all about energy. We need the legislature to marry the two together.
Everybody agrees about renewable energy. What we need to do now is give farmers really strong incentives to put in renewable energy projects, because that will help them be energy secure and then we won’t have to beg people to “Please Buy Local.” Local farmers will be able to set their prices lower, and people will buy local farmers’ goods based on their merits. We won’t have to go through all the gnashing of teeth and wringing of hands to get people to “buy local.”
We need to pay farmers to do small energy projects; encourage them to do renewable energy. Maybe we give them ten percent more than we give others? The benefit is that you get energy plus food. That’s what it will take to be sustainable.
You can’t just be sustainable in energy and not in food.
Giving farmers extra incentives to use renewable energy methods achieves two things – it helps them save/make money and produce more food per person, while also achieving the goal of bringing more renewables on line. We know that “If the farmer makes money, the farmer will farm.”
The world has changed and we need to adapt to a new reality. The challenge for Hawai‘i is figuring out how to become food and fuel secure with the least amount of pain.
This crash course explains what is going on in our changing world in a very simple, commonsense way. Its explanations are among the easiest to understand that I’ve seen.
Because of our abundant natural resources here in Hawai‘i, we have the opportunity to have a relatively better lifestyle than that of the U.S. mainland. Net Energy Return On Energy Invested (NEROEI), minus the energy used to produce food, gives us our lifestyle. Therefore, in order to maximize our lifestyle, we need to focus our attention on both renewable energy as well as food production.
It is prudent for us to prepare for the worse and hope for the best.
If we join agriculture policy to energy policy we will have both food and energy locally produced, and that is the essence of sustainability.
Not “no can,” “CAN!”