Presentations and participation at the Justice Innovations Summit 2024, University of Hawaii

Hawaii summit panel members_RegNet

by Felicity Tepper

Aloha! From the 16th to 18th February, 2024, Miranda Forsyth and Felicity Tepper from RegNet, Meredith Rossner from CASS, and Deborah Hollingworth, a senior EPA Victoria regulator and our ARC partner for the RegNet project Preventing and Addressing Environmental Harm Through Restorative Justice, attended the Justice Innovations Summit in Hawaii, at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. The conference was themed around innovative forms of justice with a special focus on restorative justice and Indigenous justice. Throughout the event, Miranda, Felicity and Deborah discussed our research on environmental restorative justice and what our findings might mean for restorative regulation in environmental and other regulatory spaces. Deborah and Miranda discussed how Indigenous justice and regulation can be brought to the fore in preventing environmental and cultural harm in the restorative regulatory context. Felicity also spoke about giving voice to multispecies/more-than-human justice within restorative justice, inspired by our project with Gema Varona on restorative justice and animals at the University of the Basque Country.

On Day One, Miranda and Deborah facilitated a workshop on Protecting the Environment with Restorative and Other Justice Innovations. Our workshop included people from the USA (including Hawaii), Brazil, Europe and New Zealand. All participants had the opportunity to share their research and experience, get feedback, and share thoughts about ways to use restorative justice for protecting the environment, Indigenous culture and local communities. Deborah, Miranda and Felicity presented and discussed our ERJ research work and got some great feedback and thoughts from participants. In turn, we learned a lot from the varied perspectives of the other presenters and participants (including judges, practitioners, Indigenous people and community members) about their restorative approaches to regulating and protecting the environment. We finished the workshop outdoors, sitting together on a circle of lava stepping stones set amongst the grass to connect us intimately with Hawaii’s environment. Here, Felicity presented a reflection on bringing in the more-than-human through environmental restorative justice, then we concluded by promising to stay in touch and keep collaborating.

On Day Two, Miranda facilitated a Plenary Roundtable on Environmental Protection, Lessons Learned and Indigenous and Western Approaches. The Roundtable was intended for the all the Summit’s audience to learn about what is happening in the field of environmental restorative justice. We had 8 panellists, including Deborah and Felicity, Maya Soetero-Ng, Adreanne Ormond, Ivo Aertsen, Gema Varona, Joao Salm, and Raquel Domingues do Amaral. Miranda asked a series of thoughtful and perceptive questions to draw out everyone’s knowledge and key insights on the panel and each panellist provided a range of fascinating and inspiring short talks. Deborah spoke about our research project and Felicity spoke about the more-than-human in environmental restorative justice. Miranda deftly summarised the panel session by weaving together all the threads from what everyone contributed. She neatly encapsulated all our ideas and clarified that although we each spoke to different aspects of the socio-ecological issues informing environmental restorative justice, that everything is ultimately interconnected. Our roundtable finished with a sense that what each panellist shared must be considered as a whole, to enable us to capture the entire picture of what we can do to heal and prevent harm to our planet, communities, and other species. We then all walked to the Summit dinner together, a magical occasion of home-cooked Native Hawaiian specialties eaten as we sat with our many new friends, listening to beautiful Indigenous songs and stories sung and narrated by Jonathan Kay Kamakawiwoʻole Osorio, the Dean of the Hawaiʻinuiākea School of Hawaiian Knowledge. Felicity ate more coconut pudding than was proper but since there was plenty, nobody seemed to mind!

On Day Three, Meredith facilitated and presented in a workshop on Language, Metaphor & Emotions in Restorative Justice, with 2 other presenters Grazia Mannozzi and Claudio Fontana. This workshop was not only well received and involved much participant interaction, but it was talked about with great enthusiasm and joy by participants for the rest of the Summit.

The Summit brought us into interaction with many interesting, innovative approaches to justice that have sparked new ideas for us to continue thinking about. Mahalo to Lorenn Walker and her team for organising the whole event and to the participants for a great experience. Feel free to connect with any of us if you’re interested in finding out more!