Leaving Punaluʻu Beach in October of 2018, a hawksbill hatchling seeks its future in the Pacific Ocean.
See volunteer opportunities below for this Spring into Winter for watching over hawksbill turtle nests and hatchlings.Photo by Peter Bosted
UHERO'S ECONOMIC FORECAST FOR HAWAI'I shows the economy is recovering but could stumble with fallout from the Russian invasion of Ukraine, interest rate hikes, and COVID-19 surprises. Dating the forecast March 6, University of Hawai'i Economic Research Organization, under the leadership of Executive Director Carl S. Bonham, Ph.D., issued its predictions and analysis:
The Omicron wave of the COVID-19 pandemic dealt a blow to global growth. The rapid retreat of this wave and likely evolution to endemic status are good news. Still, lingering struggles with the virus, the weight of fiscal retrenchment, and ongoing supply and price pressures have moderated the outlook for 2022. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine—and the resulting international sanctions—add new uncertainty to the US and global outlook.
The pandemic has had unusual effects in labor markets, including record rates of business formation and a surge in worker absences. Job recovery in Hawai'i, which had proceeded at a healthy clip, paused after the Delta wave hit. Employment gains will resume this year, although a reduced labor force and lagging tourism will delay a full recovery.
Hawai'i home prices surged 18% last year, roughly in line with the US overall. Higher prices and rising mortgage rates will further erode housing affordability in the Islands. Initiatives to address affordability are ongoing at the state and local levels.
Our outlook for Hawai'i is relatively upbeat. The anticipated retreat of COVID-19 will clear the way for a more complete visitor industry recovery. After a weak start to the year, arrivals will surpass last summer’s peak by the second quarter and reach 90% of their pre-pandemic level by the year’s end. Visitor numbers will reach 9.5 million in 2023.
The easing of COVID-related restrictions, and of public concern about infection risk, will also support recovery. The state’s payroll base will see increasing gains as the year progresses and expand by 4.5% for the year as a whole. By 2023, job growth will have absorbed most of the slack in the labor market, driving the unemployment rate down to 3.3%.
Income growth in Hawai'i, which has been supported by extensive federal stimulus, will take a hit this year as the direct support to families ends. Real personal income will drop 4.7% this year. Gains in employment and wages will enable the beginning of income recovery as the year progresses.
The path ahead appears clearer, but there remain big risks. Despite gains, COVID-19 still has the capacity to be very disruptive. Federal Reserve interest rate hikes could cause more slowing than desired. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine could cause higher energy costs and slower global growth, which would impact Hawai'i tourism and local inflation. See the complete report at https://uhero.hawaii.edu/wp-content/uploads/2022/02/22Q1_Forecast.pdf.
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THE HAWKSBILL PROJECT is looking for volunteers to watch over the nesting sites of endangered honu'ea - hawksbill sea turtles - this year. Most of the sites for the project on this island are in Kaʻū. The periods when volunteers are needed to camp and protect the turtles and their eggs are from May to August and August to December.
|Volunteers from the Hawksbill Recovery Project carefully excavate a nest as|
they search for tiny hatchlings that were unable to dig their way to the surface.
Photo by Annie Bosted
The volunteers will be interns with the Hawai'i Island Hawksbill Project. They will measure and tag nesting females, locate unobserved nests, ensure that hatchlings reach the ocean, conduct nest excavations, participate in non-native predator control to protect the nests, eggs and hatchlings from mongoises, feral cats and rats. The will also be responsible for accurately ach intern must be at least 18 years of age, with U.S. drivers license, and be certified in first aid and CPR. Interns must be fit enough to hike up to 12 miles per day over rugged lava terrain with a backpack 30 pounds or heavier.
See more on hawksbills and the project at https://www.facebook.com/hawaiislandhawksbillproject/ and at Hawai'i Wildlife Fund's website at www.wildhawaii.org.
|Hatchlings are corralled in a tub as they wait for the nest|
excavation to be completed. They are released as a group, as
there is safety in numbers. The majority of hatchlings congregate
on the side of the tub closest to the ocean. Photo by Annie Bosted
By extrapolating from estimates obtained for land snails and slugs, Cowie and co-authors estimated that since the year 1500, Earth could already have lost between 7.5% and 13% of the two million known species—a staggering 150,000 to 260,000 species.
|The exodus. Dogged determination and strong instincts motivate the|
hatchlings to get off the beach and into the water. Photo by Annie Bosted
“Including invertebrates was key to confirming that we are indeed witnessing the onset of the Sixth Mass Extinction in Earth’s history,” said Cowie.
To fight the crisis, various conservation initiatives have been successful for certain charismatic animals. But these initiatives cannot target all species, and they cannot reverse the overall trend of species extinction. The authors believe it is essential to continue such efforts, to continue to cultivate a wonder for nature, and crucially to document biodiversity before it disappears.
“Despite the rhetoric about the gravity of the crisis, and although remedial solutions exist and are brought to the attention of decision-makers, it is clear that political will is lacking,” said Cowie. “Denying the crisis, accepting it without reacting, or even encouraging it constitutes an abrogation of humanity’s common responsibility and paves the way for Earth to continue on its sad trajectory towards the Sixth Mass Extinction.”
The research is an example of UH Mānoa’s goal of Excellence in Research: Advancing the Research and Creative Work Enterprise (https://manoa.hawaii.edu/wp/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/manoa-2025-strategic-plan.pdf#page=25), one of four goals identified in the U.H. 2015–25 Strategic Plan (https://manoa.hawaii.edu/wp/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/manoa-2025-strategic-plan.pd), updated in December 2020.
|Shells from recently extinct land snails from French Polynesia. Photo by O.Gargominy, A.Sartori|
|See March edition of The Kaʻū Calendar newspaper at |