Dr. Kamanamaikalani Beamer and Ka Huli Ao Post-JD Fellow U‘i Tanigawa-Lum were panelists for the program’s Maoli Thursday event. The panelists discussed wai and waiwai: restorative environmental justice and the future of fresh water. They weighed in on how restorative environmental justice can inspire and inform community-oriented law and policy solutions to our most pressing water issues in Hawai‘i.
Dr. Beamer began the presentation by educating the audience on the biological and cultural importance of water in Hawai‘i. As a professor at both the Hawai‘inuiākea School of Hawaiian Knowledge and Richardson School of Law, Dr. Beamer shared the historical context that is important to keep in mind when discussing water rights issues in Hawai‘i. When analyzing restorative environmental justice Dr. Beamer stated that it is important to frame the issues in the proper context in order to see the whole story.
After Dr. Beamer concluded his presentation Mrs. Tanigawa-Lum added her own expertise. As one of Ka Huli Ao’s Post-JD Fellows, she has co-taught several semesters of the Environmental Law Clinic at Richardson with a focus on water issues in Wai‘oli, Kaua‘i. Mrs. Tanigawa-Lum showed that the clinic’s work is an example of the law school’s commitment to restorative environmental justice. She highlighted the enormous amount of work it took to serve justice for the Wai‘oli Valley Taro Hui. She added that an advanced restorative environmental justice framework should include expansive views of cultural and resource management, and allow for adaptive and co-management with traditional models of resource management. Furthermore, a restorative environmental justice framework would empower the community and build pilina among its members.
After Dr. Beamer and Mrs. Tanigawa-Lum concluded their presentations the panelists took questions from the audience to further understand current water issues in Hawai‘i. The Environmental Law Program would like to thank Dr. Beamer and Mrs. Tanigawa-Lum for their knowledge and insights as well as Ka Huli Ao for hosting the event. Maoli Thursdays will continue during the spring 2022 semester at its usual date and time: 12pm on the first Thursday of the month. For more information on Maoli Thursdays please see Ka Huli Ao’s website.