by Joni Kamiya, Hawaii Farmer’s Daughter, June 17, 2016
If you haven’t figured it out yet, Hawaii is the hotbed of environmental activism, more aptly called the environmental industry. Yes, it’s a business that runs with a completely different model but with the kind of money involved, it’s a business and not “advocacy.”
Instead of having a corporation to operate from, environmentalists have created a new model of using a non-profit status. It’s tax exempt and also their donors get tax write offs for their donations when you have a “good” mission to advocate from. The other great part about this model is that there is no disclosure required of the non-profit to show who their donors are. It’s not a taxpayers’ right to know who is funding these business ventures and non-transparent even though they demand transparency of others.
While corporations are being criticized for being the doer of all evils and held to increasing regulation, the non-profits have free range to unleash any tactics available to get their way. There is no regulation on these non-profits and they aren’t held accountable for facts and do as they please essentially. There’s no repercussions for their actions and these groups have taken an extremist position. Like any extremist position, there is no ability to find common ground.
People who take this position can only see one way. The Hawaii environmentalists are shouting “Aloha Aina” and “Malama Aina,” and see the need to fight to protect the land. Their belief lies in the assumption that man must be removed from nature to protect it. Man is a part of the land and we derive our life from the land. If we are removed from the land, how are we to survive? We are indeed a part of the ecosystem and can’t be ignored or removed from it.
Like any extreme position, the ends justifies the means and that is what is unfolding here in Hawaii. That’s why the relevance of facts is useless in these debates, whether it be GMOs, TMT, or the Superferry for that matter. You can toss out any fact and there’s no accepting of it and it causes these activists to dig deeper into their positions. As long as you get your way, that is all that is important.
When I learned about the plight of the fishermen, it made me realize that the tactics and messaging used is universal. The activists need a bad guy and will create that narrative.
GMOs: “It’s poisoning the aina!” “It’s making people sick!” “It’s taking over our food supply!”
TMT: “It’s poisoning the aina!” “It’s desecrating the mountain!” “It’s going to be used a military weapon!”
Fishermen: “They are killing sea turtles and birds.” “They are overfishing!” “They are destroying the oceans.”
If you look closely, the repetitive arguments are pretty similar across the board between the issues and take the common thread that there must be a stop of this evil. Immediately, you’ll get a pop-up box stating that you should pay them money to help solve the problem. Give money now and they will save the world. No one ever bothers to crosscheck those facts and just simply believe because that is human nature. We like to simplify the issue in to soundbites and not look things up.
Like the GMO issue, the environmental industry is attempting to use the aina to put people out of work and harm the families of those who work in the industry.
When environmentalism is used to put people out of work, there’s a problem there. The attempt to remove the human factor from the ecology is problematic at multiple levels and unrealistic. Simply stating that if there is a loss of work to people shows the cold, callousness of these activists and the lack of empathy.
Not only do these activists desire to take incomes away from people, they willingly show how they aren’t able to walk in the shoes of others. Like extremists, they don’t care about the harm that they create with their stances. It’s completely ignore regardless of how correct it is. Where in a democratic society is it okay to deny others the basic right to work? Denying that right only spells demise.
The huge push for the closure of the Northwest Hawaiian Islands under the guise of the Papahanaumokuakea Monument isn’t any different than the ag issue. These folks love to play on people’s emotion and unsubstantiated “facts”to garner support. I caught this post on the Expand PMNM Facebook page touting a lot of “facts” supporting it.
If you look closely at it, you can see there is no source to back up these claims. On top of that, they also play a video of a nice turtle swimming around in the ocean.
It’s a great play on emotions and gets people wanting to take action. Who wouldn’t want to after reading the passage and then watching the video?
Like the anti-GMO movement playing videos of “documentaries” and using a lot of fear imagery, the expansion of the monument sounds really good after being the delivered “facts.” Let’s stop and think about this more. Are those numbers touted really true and where’s the actual data set to back it up? Do you simply watch these videos and just believe or do you question the information presented?
The facts do not support the need for the expansion of the monument. So then the support is garnered for the native rights issue where the land and oceans have to be protected for only Hawaiians. I have to think that the Federal expansion is occurring under a democracy. If that is the case, shouldn’t all the people of Hawaii have a say in this issue as it will affect them? Isn’t that a democratic thing to do?
After that’s all been said and done, the last argument being made in support of this expansion is in the name of science ironically.
“The expanse of Papahānaumokuākea is the manifestation of Hawaiian cultural values and the wonder of scientific knowledge and discovery. It is a sanctuary for our Ocean Heritage.”
If closing off the oceans is going to help preserve cultural values and advance science, why are some Hawaiians protesting the Thirty Meter Telescope of Mauna Kea? Isn’t the telescope going to help preserve the heritage and culture of studying stars and help to advance knowledge? If the oceans are being used in that way, shouldn’t the mountains also be used to celebrate the wonder of science and knowledge?
With the Office of Hawaiian Affairs supporting the expansion of the monument under these same arguments, why does it change with Mauna Kea? The cultural practitioners have access to the summit with the telescopes thanks to the roads and no longer have to walk up there as in the ancient days, which was mentioned by Keahi Warfield in his video supporting the TMT. They have access to the many parts of the sacred mountain thanks to those roads that also built the telescopes.
Hawaii is dealing with extremists that can’t work to collaborate with others. It’s their way or no way. That is creating dysfunctional communities and pitting friends against each other. We have our own political discord in our islands where the native rights are being fueled by outsiders who have no ties to the Hawaii communities because they don’t live here. Instead of encouraging community discussions and learning from each other to work on a plan based in common ground, it’s their way or no way. The native rights would sound more authentic if it wasn’t funded by outside interests.
These are just a few of the outsiders who are using the environment to take away our local ways of living and they will do anything in their power to do it as we are seeing. They have spread misinformation on everything from GMOs, the Superferry, TMT, and now the ocean monument. They have lots of money that they don’t need the ferry like the local folks do. They don’t enjoy the fresh fish we get from our local fishermen. Neither has any link to Hawaii’s agricultural heritage either. They call themselves progressive but putting people out of work and romanticizing the ancient days is anything but progress. They use native Hawaiians as their vehicle to do this while tearing communities apart is anything democratic.
Democracy means including all people in the conversations. Being rude to a high school student testifying in favor of the TMT isn’t democratic, it’s attempting to silence her stance and isn’t different from threats of crop destruction and burning of tractors. Attacking a facility up on Mauna Kea and damaging property and harming people in the name of protecting a mountain isn’t something acceptable in a democracy. Placing rocks on the road heading up to the summit in hopes of someone hitting it and getting into an accident isn’t an acceptable behavior in a law abiding society. Telling others who aren’t Hawaiian but have a stake in the access to oceans that they have no say not democratic either. Bernie Sanders, the presidential wanna be, touts communist values and yet his followers acts as dominators of the issue instead of treating their fellow man as an equal.
The saving of the earth can’t be used as way to rob people of a way of living. That isn’t what makes a democracy.