Sustainability Champion: Andy Huang

Cover Image: Andy in one of the digital worlds he built.

Image: Andy in the Bishop Museum Malacology Department, caring for endangered Hawaiian land snails.

1. Who are you, what do you do at Bishop Museum, and how did you get here?

Aloha kākou, Andy here! I’m that one intern in the Malacology Department who will almost sink the island back into the ocean by accident, at least once a month. I hail from a little-known city called San Francisco, and studied in a tiny college in the middle of nowhere (UCLA) where I received a B.S. in biology (more specifically, ecology and evolutionary biology). Despite that I know nothing of how the world works, and I just so happened to stumble upon the Malacology Collection through a conservation organization called Kupu. And man, how grateful I am to have found this crazy snail ‘ohana.

2. Why is sustainability important to you at Bishop Museum, in Hawaiʻi, and globally?

To put it bluntly, without sustainability, we simply won’t have a Hawai‘i or a world in the future, at least not in its current form. And without a world, we won’t have yummy food, and suffice it to say that on its own would already be pretty devastating. Couple that with collapsing ecosystems, unprepared economies, and a world on fire, it’d be game over. Additionally, from a social perspective, many people (especially folks from underserved communities) will be further left behind in this increasingly chaotic and desperate world. Nothing described here is sustainable, and everyone will suffer as a result. Despite the grim world painted in this response, there’s still hope for the future if we act NOW by creating more sustainable lifestyles.

3. What sustainability projects have you been working on at Bishop Museum?

Creating a more sustainable world requires everyone taking action. Many at the Museum and in the Sustainability Hui are making great strides, so I won’t go too in-depth about those projects; you’ll hear many updates in the coming months, so I’ll instead focus on one thing I’m doing from my own little corner of the world. As an example of social sustainability, when developing programs in Malacology, we always try to keep in mind the needs of local communities and what would inspire them to take action to help save our native snails. We emphasize the importance of involving input from as many stakeholders within the community as possible, and we try our best to incorporate that into all aspects of our work. In order for something to work sustainably in the long term, it needs to be agreed upon by everyone involved, especially those affected the most. In summary, this social aspect is one of the many important angles to tackle in the sustainability debate, and it’ll take all of us to figure out solutions to these ever-complex and multi-faceted crises.

Image: Digital image of Andy and his trained native Hawaiian attack snail.

4. What do you enjoy doing outside of work?

Outside of work, your boy enjoys a hodgepodge of hobbies. For one, I’m absolutely enjoying exploring every hidden corner of the island, whether that be with friends or alone. Mostly alone… I don’t have many friends here (other than the snails!). Oh, and Pokémon of course—they’ve yet to let me down! Anytime a new game releases (including this past week!! I’ve been pretty spoiled lately…), I get beyond pumped for a chance to relive my childhood. One last hobby I’ll note is that I’m also very fond of digital art in all forms, including photo manipulation, vector art, and animation. I work on digital art pieces in my free time as side projects, and I hope that someday it can become my full-time job! And with that, a big mahalo to everyone who’s read through my ramblings. I’m so excited for the year to come, both personally and for Bishop Museum sustainability. Hope you all have a wonderful year!

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