Promoting action to build resilient and sustainable island communities

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Tasmania looks to Hawaii...

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At first glance, you might think that the cool climate islands of Tasmania and the tropical archipelago of Hawaii are radically different. As with many islands, there is more in common between these two island states that are part of large developed economies than first meets the eye.

On 21 September 2018, Celeste Connors and Chelsea Harder of Hawaii Green Growth and Kate Brown of GLISPA virtually joined a consultation in Tasmania hosted by The Australia Institute Tasmania, Planning Matters Alliance Tasmania and GLISPA that looked at how to come together to collaborate on shaping Tasmania’s future. The consultation was keen to learn about how Hawaii had formed a public-private partnership and sustainability hub where partners are collaborating to advance statewide sustainability goals (the political commitment to the goals is known as the Aloha+ Challenge) and how these goals are tracked by an open data-impact Dashboard (

Tasmania generates over 90% of energy from renewables and the State Government has committed to being 100% self-sufficient in renewable energy by 2022. The island State, roughly the size of Ireland, supports a population of just over 500,000 people, and has more than 45% of the state’s total terrestrial area protected through reserves and one fifth a Wilderness World Heritage Area.

“Islands represent our isolation and difference. Yet equally, by the journeys between them, they represent our connectivity, the bridging of divides and the sharing of disparate beliefs,” said the Tasmanian author James Dryburgh. “Islanders have a unique understanding that all of humanity - with its near infinite complexity - lives on a tiny spherical island, floating in space, and that we must see it as such.”

“There are hurdles to overcome, but this is far outweighed by the opportunity of tapping into our creative and vibrant communities to shape our future,” said Jessica Robbins of the Global Island Partnership who resides in Tasmania. “Tasmania was first settled more than 60,000 years ago, providing a long history of living in balance with nature. Like Hawaii, Tasmania can look to its past to shape a sustainable future.”

This island at the edge of the world could be the leading edge in sustainability. 

For more information, please see the Event Spotlight: Shaping Tassie's Future

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