Your Views for January 12

No koalas here

The proposal by Mr. Mike Mentnech (Tribune-Herald, Your Views, Jan. 5) to create a koala reserve on the Hamakua Coast is a decidedly bad idea!


First, the history of alien species in Hawaii should be a lesson learned long ago: feral pigs, feral cats, mongoose, fire ants, feral goats, etc. No matter how cute koalas may seem, turning an alien species loose in Hawaiian forests is asking for trouble.

Second, Australia is far better prepared and capable of protecting koalas than Hawaii. Australia has a first-rate public education system and university research infrastructure; Hawaii’s public education system is among the worst in the country.

Australia already has a robust koala conservation program which has successfully reintroduced koalas to South Australia and several offshore islands.

Third — and, unfortunately, a hard truth — Australia experiences large-scale wildfires on a regular basis, and has for centuries. In fact, many Australian species have adapted to depend on wildfires for seed germination, population control and ecosystem regeneration.

Koalas are slow and sedentary; they sleep about 20 hours a day. They have always been victims of wildfires in large numbers, and their populations have recovered rapidly.

The future for koalas is in Australia. Where it belongs. With conservation specialists who understand the needs of koalas and in ecosystems that koalas are already a part of. Not in Hawaii.

Kenneth Beilstein


Mauna of resentment

It seems what Maunakea really stands for to many Hawaiians is resentment.

Resentment of past wrongs, resentment of financial inequality, resentment of a lack of power and the inability to correct what they see as a loss of Hawaiian culture.

Almost all non-native Hawaii residents would sympathize with at least some of their feelings. Almost everyone can agree on the financial inequality that exists in society, and not just for Hawaiians.

And I don’t know too many people who feel they have any power to change the direction of government. Many people feel abandoned by the government.

How all this came to be laid at the feet of the Thirty Meter Telescope, I don’t know. It seems to me that too many Hawaiians are only looking toward the past, not the future, for answers and inspiration.

I don’t see that stopping the TMT will cure any of the resentment, inequality, loss of power or culture. I think we would all be better off without the invective and threats, and we should focus on the common concerns.

The TMT did not cause any of the resentment about any of the aforementioned grievances. It’s still not even here. It’s just a large object that’s any easy target, and Maunakea already has telescopes.

Why is this one so different? Why is it so hard to focus on the root causes of the grievances and band together to change them?

I can only surmise that there is a hidden agenda on the part of the protesters. Do some of them see themselves as the new sovereignty, monarchs and ali‘i to rule us all?


Sandra Kirkpatrick


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