Youth Plaintiffs

Navahine youth voices were heard and met with direct action! Their bravery, perseverance and hope secured a climate victory for young people and all people in Hawai‘i, and around the world.

Youth Plaintiff

Kaʻōnohi P.

Age: 17
Hometown: Puna, Hawai‘i

Kaʻōnohi is an avid diver and enjoys spearfishing for kole, and menpachi, among other species to eat and share with his ‘ohana (family) and friends. He also enjoys viewing marine life such as fish, reef sharks, and other species that thrive around coral reefs along the coast of his home island. Extreme precipitation events caused by climate change have washed large amounts of sediment into the ocean, make it unsafe for Kaʻōnohi to dive because of limited visibility, impeding his ability to access Hawai‘i’s coastal waters for subsistence, recreational, and aesthetic purposes.

Additionally, ocean acidification, warming ocean temperatures and sea level rise are causing multiple issues like reducing fish populations, destroying the coral reefs that Kaʻōnohi has grown up using and enjoying, eroding sea cliffs in his neighborhood and blocking critical transportation corridors.

As sea levels rise and inundate and destroy important cultural sites in Hawai‘i, including at Kawa, Kaʻū where Kaʻōnohi gathers paʻakai (salt), Kaʻōnohi deeply feels the loss of connection to his culture, traditions, and ability to continue telling the stories of his ancestors through the discovery of the practices and structures they left behind.