Letter: New Coalition Opposes those who “Blunt Progress.”

Dear Editor:

The purpose of the Big Island Community Coalition is to work towards reduced electrical energy costs on the Island of Hawaii – where we pay up to four times the national average for our power.  We are particularly sensitive to electric power rates as very high rates serve essentially as a regressive tax on our population while greatly reducing the probability of generating jobs in any sector that is dependent on electricity.

There are occasions when events are so alarming that groups such as ours feel compelled to move beyond our primary task.  This is such a time.

We have observed with increasing alarm as our community has taken steps that inexorably blunt the forward movement of our economy and even move us backwards.  These include:

1.     Anti-Geothermal activists encouraged County government to ban nighttime drilling, effectively stopping expansion of a major source of renewable and inexpensive electric power beyond already-existing permits.  This action was taken despite the existing plant meeting all applicable noise standards.  It appears that government officials took this action without first going to the site to verify that the noise was disruptive.  Once they did go to the site, some years later, government found that the noise was less than other environmental sounds (i.e., coqui frogs) and essentially no more than typical background noise.

2.     Anti-GMO activists lobbied to stop any new GMO products from being grown on the island – despite the fact that the vast majority of scientific, peer-reviewed studies found such products to be as safe, and in some cases more nutritious, as their non-GMO counterparts.  Legislation even prohibited GMO flowers – not consumed by anyone – from being grown on the island.  Thus family farmers lost the most effective new tools needed to reduce pesticide and herbicide usage while increasing productivity needed to keep their farms competitive.

3.     Now we have anti-Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) activists taking steps to stop construction of the most advanced telescope in the world.  If successful in stopping TMT, despite its sponsors following every legal requirement over a seven-year period, we will lose our world leading advantage in understanding the universe.

All of these actions share similar characteristics:

·      The arguments used to justify such actions are consistently anti-scientific.

·      “Anti” groups often obscure the lack of scientific evidence to support their position by using emotional pleas intended to incite fear.

·      The only “win” for many of these groups is to completely stop, thereby making them completely unwilling to consider any facts that refute their position or to make any reasonable compromise.

·      Long-term consequences are significant both culturally and economically.

Cultures that survive and thrive embrace new technologies carefully, thoughtfully and steadily.  Cultures and economies that thrive are innovative beccause they generate ideas and solutions, solve problems and take calculated but careful risks.

Cultures that fall backwards are those that fear advancement, fear change and cling to a mythicized view of yesteryear.  The net result is loss of their brightest and most hard working youth.  Those youth that remain find fewer and fewer jobs – those jobs having greatly diminished economic value and lower wages.  The downward spiral becomes inexorable.

As we look to tomorrow, we need to ask ourselves whether we wish to give our children the exciting and invigorating job market typified by Silicon Valley or a job market that is much closer to the poorer regions of third world countries.  It is up to us to point one way or another.  Driving TMT out will be one more major step to cultural and economic poverty.


Big Island Community Coalition

Richard Ha, President,

David DeLuz Jr., Rockne Freitas, Michelle Galimba, Wallace Ishibashi, Noe Kalipi, H.R “Monty” Richards, William Walter

11 replies
  1. keaukahaboi
    keaukahaboi says:

    I am torn, and I try not to get pulled into the emotional vortex of these issues. the images of very young children at the front lines of the mauna confrontation made me feel embarrassed and gave a very passive-aggressive feel to the mamamakakaua lines up the access road. the rocks in the roadway continued to reinforce the passive-aggressiveness of the standoff. when I was taught kapu aloha as a ceremonial protocol over 20 years ago, I came to know it was never ever about passive-aggressiveness. it is about holding only very high thoughts (clipping short and very quickly the bad words, thoughts, intentions), speaking only words of aloha, and doing acts of aloha only. it is actually very difficult to sustain over any extended period of time…for if the kapu is broken, consequences are usually black and white…and if you are able to withstand the consequences, the more vulnerable around you may have to suffer them for you. I love my culture, my teachers, my kupuna, my keiki o ka aina, kuu aina aloha. but this standoff must bend and flex to a compromise…especially when the tmt is one that is doing it so much more right than many other things happening on the mauna (earlier telescopes, pohakuloa’s military presence, for examples). The most sad for me lately is how the children are being taught WHAT to think, not HOW to think…

  2. still being hopeful
    still being hopeful says:

    Why not call the so called Anti-Geothermal activists Pro-Solar advocates, call the so called Anti-GMO activists Pro-Natural and Organic Food advocates and call the so called Anti-TMT activists Pro-Conversation advocates?

    Despite Geothermal energy our prices are the highest in the nation, why follow that route any longer since it has not helped bring prices down instead of going solar and reducing our usage in general?

    There is plenty of evidence against GMO, just the amount of pesticides used to grow them is alarming in itself. Worst of all, once GMO seeds have spread all over this planet and changed the DNA of everything we eat there is no going back.

    And what’s wrong with truly conserving conservation land? Why not take some obsolete telescopes down and build TMT on their footprints before breaking new ground for another one?

    Yes, as we look to tomorrow, we need to ask ourselves what kind of planet do we want to leave to our children and the generations after that?
    One that we slayed in the name of progress and development and one that was preserved for future generations with consideration?

    Yes, we need to imua, to move forward. But with looking on future effects so that we know which way to go.

    The slopes of Mauna Kea need to be reforested to prevent irreversible climate change: http://www.civilbeat.com/2015/06/want-to-save-the-planet-have-fewer-kids/ … plant a million trees in Hawai’i” or all of this Anti or Pro quarrel will be moot soon enough.

  3. steve danner
    steve danner says:

    Some GMO food crops are designed for use with Roundup, and so encourage the use of more of it.

  4. Jen
    Jen says:

    Dear Richard,

    I agree with you that “Cultures that survive and thrive embrace new technologies carefully, thoughtfully and steadily. Cultures and economies that thrive are innovative beccause they generate ideas and solutions, solve problems and take calculated but careful risks.”

    The problem with your generation and generations past (the older generations) is that you have too eagerly embraced technologies and “economies” that have created environmental destruction and exhausted resources. What you fail to see is that it is the younger generations who are looking at your failures and realizing that we need to change the way we look at and interact with the world. Why should we continue to release unproven corporate technologies into the world that could create even more problems for us in the future? We are living in a time of climate change, crony capitalism, corrupt government and a lot of people (mostly the YOUNGER generations) are not so gullible anymore. We are learning from your past mistakes and want to change the status quo. How can the “economy” (a made up human invention?) be more important than preserving the resources for future generations? You can cherry pick your “scientific” facts all you want, but there are always scientific facts that support the views that you opppose.

    I really feel sorry for you and your generation that just doesn’t get it. Most people want to preserve the beautiful islands of Hawaii and not turn it into Silicon Valley. No thanks!

  5. hangloose
    hangloose says:

    What needs to be done is start shutting down schools and throw STEM into the cesspool. They obviously aren’t working, time to start saving the tax dollars for redistribution. Start closing down hospitals. Take the money saved and provide free food, free cars, free housing, free cars, free beachwear. Next, burn the macademia nut trees, they are invasive and caused many native birds to die out. After that, start tearing down all the power plants, all they do is spew poison and they can’t even do that at economical rates. Following that, start tearing down these evil corporate trojan horses like Safeway, Walmart, Home Depot, Lowes, KTA. All they do is bring in more poisonous materials from the mainland, and it has been proven, everybody that goes into these places are coming out with genetic mutations, often making once good kind people into psychotics. Provide free meth and bath salts for all that want it, everybody that has plentiful quantities mixed with alcohol have the true spirit of aloha. This is a proven fact. There will be much more work after this, the roads need to be torn out, they are covered with poisonous asphalt, and who knows how many spirits of the native plants lie under these dark gray coffins, and the unnatural smoothness makes people soft. This all has to happen with aloha, of course, that is a given wherever the will of the true people must overturn the corruption of the locals running the evil, incompetent local government.

  6. Sara Steiner
    Sara Steiner says:

    Geothermal is not renewable. The resource cools down and you have to drill another well. Just like oil.

    Electric lines are not feasible anymore either, except for maybe in a subdivision, few block radius or from neighbor to neighbor ; )

    Personally, I like telescopes and looking into the universe, and I know the ancient Hawaiians did too, but today besides being sacred, Mauna Kea symbolizes all that is left for the Hawaiians and other citizens of the Hawaiian Kingdom at the time of the overthrow.

    From the ocean to the mountain, there is nothing left for the children… I support the TMT protesters as I do all indigenous cultures throughout the world holding on to their last little bits.

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