WAIKIKI (HawaiiNewsNow) - Hundreds of climate change supporters marched through Waikiki's busy streets Sunday to raise awareness of the irreversible effects the excess use of fossil fuels has had on our planet.
Marchers chanted, "What do we want?
"When do we want it?"
The march came just one day before 190 world leaders met at the 2015 Paris Climate Change Conference.
Similar events were planned in Washington D.C., Los Angeles and dozens of world capitols this past weekend.
"We're here to send a very strong message to the world leaders in Paris," said Brodie Lockard, founder of 350Hawaii.org. "It's way past time for the strongest agreement possible to keep fossil fuels in the ground and to fund a just transition to a renewable energy economy."
Event organizers say 2015 has been the hottest year on record and has been a source of conflict for many parts of the world suffering through drought, displacement and other compounding factors.
"Here in Hawaii we're already seeing our beaches erode, we're seeing our fresh water supply diminish and that means millions of dollars and added costs for taxpayers to try and keep our natural resources in place that are at the centerpiece of our culture and our economy," said State Representative Chris Lee, Chair of the Energy and Environmental Protection Committee.
World leaders are meeting in Paris through December 11 and for the first time in over 20 years of UN negations will aim to achieve a legally binding and universal agreement on climate with the goal of keeping global warming below two degrees.
The meeting of the world leaders demonstrates how climate change has become a global movement that transcends borders and cultural differences. A message echoed by Gary Hoozer, member of the Kauai County Council and Hawaii Alliance for Progressive Action who flew to Honolulu from the Garden Isle to attend the march.
"Climate change and climate justice is the defining issue of our generation and the entire planet is in peril," Hoozer said.
Countries participating in the conference in Paris agree that to remedy the issue countries must check their emission limits and revise them every five years. As part of their participation world leaders presented their targets but together the Intended Nationally Determined Contributions will only cut half the emissions required to meet the global goal.
Lee says the people of Hawaii can engage in the issue of climate change by limiting their reliance on fossil fuels and by protecting Hawaii's natural resources.
"We only hope that we can get people engaged to prevent the impacts of climate change as they snowball in the coming decade," Lee said. "This is something critical here more than anywhere else because we're an island nation and we have to be able to adapt."