Thursday, December 3, 2009

My speech at TEDx Honolulu

Photo taken by Ed Morita
Grilled Cornbread, LLP

You can see the video of my speech here:

When the Ambassador of Aloha (Neenz Faleafine) and a former Miss Hawaii (Traci Toguchi )invite you to speak in Honolulu…you say ‘YES!’, regardless of the topic. That’s exactly what I did, though I’ll admit, the theme I was asked to address at TEDx Honolulu made me somewhat uncomfortable. Neenz and Traci asked me to talk about the concept of “Shift – to change position or attitude.” That is a tough subject to tackle even with people you know well, but a nearly impossible topic to speak about with complete strangers who live in paradise. What could I possibly offer my new friends that would be helpful or relevant?
I started with something I think we all have in common…hope for a bright future, not just for ourselves, but also for the next generation. Our children are counting on us to make decisions today that will have a positive impact on their future.
As the global economic downturn continues to burden communities everywhere, I strongly believe that there are opportunities for Hawaii to make a pivot – or shift – toward a state economy over which there is more local control. Hawaii’s current economy is anchored in tourism, which relies on outside forces to drive revenue. However, if tourism were complimented by attracting new, clean tech companies, this would allow the state to realize a more stable tax inflow and employment scenario for its residents. The same attributes that have made Hawaii a wonderful place for tourists – sunshine, waves and the beautiful breeze – could also make Hawaii the vortex of clean energy technology research in the form of solar, wave and wind energy. Creating an enticing business climate that will attract clean tech companies to Hawaii could provide high paying jobs, a clean environment, and economic stability that will allow the state to offer first-rate services and infrastructure to its residents. Clean energy and clean tech companies are expected to fuel the 21st century global economy, and Hawaii is perfectly poised to be at the epicenter of that movement.
The Keiki (children) of Hawaii are precious, and deserve a healthy, exciting and prosperous future. Hawaii’s natural resources already provide many of the key ingredients of the high standard of living that Hawaiian parents want to pass on to the next generation. If the parents, educators, and elected officials of the state Hawaii work together to develop a stable, growing economy that is less dependent on the tourism budgets of non-residents, then their Keiki can look forward to careers that will allow them to live well and fully enjoy living in their island paradise.
I am so grateful for the generous Aloha Spirit that I received at TEDx Honolulu. It was life changing for me, and I hope that somehow, someday I am able to return that same spirit to my new friends. Aloha and Mahalo!

You can see the video of my speech here:

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