Background for the teacher
The island state of Hawai’i makes a tremendous learning laboratory for sustainable economicdevelopment. The state has abundant renewable potential: ample sunshine, consistent tradewinds, geothermal activity, and a tropical climate that allows for year-round agriculture. Yetdespite these resources, the state’s policies over the last 50 years have left it as a metaphoricalcanary in a coal mine for globalized economies. The state imports 90% of its food. It burnsimported diesel fuel for 90% of its electricity, and its number one export, according to GovernorNeil Abercrombie, is cash spent on foreign oil. Due to geographic constrictions and policiesthat have discouraged recycling and composting, landﬁll space is extremely limited, so the stateburns most of its trash, generating dioxins and other carcinogenic pollution. And perhaps mosttroubling, the state’s economy is almost entirely dependent on tourism and military spending,both of which are dependent on cheap oil. The service economy that results also leaves theaverage Hawai’ian citizen completely out of range of home ownership as many service industry jobs simply don’t pay a living wage.Hawai’i has committed to one of the most aggressive sustainability journeys of any geopoliticalentity. By 2050, the state aims to derive 70% of its power from clean, renewable sources.Signiﬁcant resources are being put forth to develop an agricultural renaissance. And statewide,single-use plastics are under attack from citizens, consumer groups, businesses, andmunicipalities. The goals of all the sustainability efforts in the state are to create a cleaneconomy that provides living wage jobs, local manufacturing, energy independence, and someresilience to global economic trends.GBO Hawai’i, the sustainability board game, encompasses all of this activity in a fun, engagingformat that allows students to understand economic development and sustainability, as well asits various stakeholders, their motivations, and their desired outcomes. Players in the game areinvestors looking to make money, to help the state offset imports of oil, displace imported,processed and/or genetically modiﬁed foods, to reduce waste, and to create greencollar jobs that provide living wage opportunities for entrepreneurs and workers in Hawai’i.This concept, wherein business is conducted for more than just ﬁnancial return, is often referredto as “Triple Bottom Line”, where businesses positively affect people, planet, and proﬁt. This isone of the fundamental concepts of sustainability, and part of why sustainability has becomesuch a popular buzzword.
We strongly recommend you play the game yourself ﬁrst, as the ﬁrst time with any game canbe confusing. You should know the game in order to introduce it to your students. There areinstructional videos on our website (www.GBOHawaii.com), as well as the writteninstructions and FAQ page, but should you have any questions you can’t ﬁnd answers to, orsimply want to ask questions about the game before introducing it to your class, don’t hesitateto reach out to us.
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