Last Saturday (Aug. 3), as a white man, I went to Maunakea City.
A small private company, Maunakea Adventures, donated their bus and gas to transport folks from Mo‘oheau, the airport, then to Pu‘u Huluhulu. Our driver donated his time. The bus was free.
Upon arrival, I was greeted by a cordial man. The info tent, thoughtfully placed next to the off-loading zone, informed me where the port-a-potties, kupuna tent and the food tent was. Amazed I was to witness such overt graciousness.
Small ziggurats of bottled of water were plentiful; a recycling, trash, composting area was environmentally sensitive. Volunteers did not want to desecrate the sacred land by dumping brown water in it. It was hauled away.
Strangers emerged from the crowd to ask if I needed help throughout the day. Hand-cleaning stations, first aid tents and “drug stores” were obvious. Sun and lip protection, even probiotic capsules, were freely offered.
Any article of clothing, any bedding, was freely offered. Evidently sheets, pillows and blankets were donated by a motel in Waimea.
From the kupuna tent I watched the Kamehameha Schools choir perform. Chanting, hula, and conch shells sounding was next. Every movement, all music, each announcement was executed with beauty, integrity and reverence.
Fresh coconut water and trays of food were delivered to my chair. I could not attend any of the many classes offered, though lots did.
The gathering was not so much about “don’t build it” as it was about cooperation, kindness, generosity and respect and love for the land and each other. Isn’t that how we all want to live?
The anti-Thirty Meter Telescope protesters must have really brainstormed hard to come up with the most absurd falsehood they could think of in their posts on social media stating that TMT and other Maunakea observatories will pollute Hawaii Island ground water.
The observatories are the least likely buildings in the Hawaiian Islands to pollute ground water because they are the farthest above ground water, and all waste fluids from them are trucked down the mountain.
What the protesters haven’t told us is what they are doing with waste from their own pu‘uhonua. Are all 1,000 or more people lining up for porta-potties? What about grey water from cooking and washing? What about food waste? What about regular rubbish?
Protesters from the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe of North Dakota, who are advising the TMT protesters, played the groundwater card, too. But when their camp was broken up, the state of North Dakota trucked out 48 million pounds of garbage and human excrement. The estimated cost of removal was $1 million (from Wikipedia).
The protests on Maunakea started July 15. So we’re nearly a month into the unlawful occupation of state land.
It’s been hard to explain to my grandchildren why this is allowed to continue. I’ve told them about the concept of “civil disobedience,” but that usually ends in arrests. Not so in this case. No arrests, other than the first day.
I’ve never been so disappointed in state government. Gov. David Ige’s shameful decision to shrug off all responsibility and leadership is one for the ages.