Rise with Grace
by Joni Kamiya, Hawaii Farmer's Daughter, August 13, 2023
Our communities across Hawaii have been rallying together to get supplies, food, water, and clothes to Maui. Many individuals have took it upon themselves to organize drives to help the survivors of the worst wildfire in the US. It is absolutely heartbreaking to hear of the stories of those who perished and families in anguish trying to find loved ones. The sun shines here but many live under the darkness of uncertainty right now.
Meanwhile, there are tourists who are still trying to go there instead of leaving our people to heal and pick up the pieces of what is left. If you have a trip planned to Maui, please make arrangements to travel elsewhere so resources can be rationed for the locals there.
We have to now rebuild the historic town of Lahaina and lives are forever changed. While Maui is still searching for the unaccounted, across our islands, many more communities are at risk for fires given the dry spells as we are in hurricane season. We all have to be vigilant in protecting each other with the actions we take like no throwing cigarette butts out of windows and keeping any source for fire risk at a minimum. Hawaii has lost so much and we have an obligation to each other to prevent another tragedy.
A wildlife expert has just shared his advice on what needs to be done to address this issue. Clay Trauernict of UH has been speaking about the factors that we now must take to mitigate risk.
“Land that was once used for agriculture is now more commonly utilized for residential communities which elevates chances for wildfires. What happens is tropical grasses or shrubs from across the world that thrive in fires take over. Non-native grasses like guinea grass and haole koa significantly increase fire potential.”
We need to establish expert advice into practice now and not put outside invasive voices into directing policies and politicians need to heed that advice into action. My heart aches for the pain for the loss of lives that are still adding up and we cannot let poor decisions turn into another tragedy.
As more information comes to light, those in the community must listen to the experts like wildfire experts who study the issue. We cannot afford to listen to the likes of Vandana Shiva, Babes Against Biotech, and the Center for Food Safety to guide policies for the communities. They come and go but do not give back when tragedy hits. It’s the locals who are getting the help in to others.
Invasive species are hazards to our state as we have seen with albizia trees after Hurricane Iselle and the ill-guided advice to not control them. We have to recognize risks and manage it before disaster happens or face the consequences. The same goes for the mosquito control project on Kauai to save the remaining native honeycreepers. The save anti-everything activists have attempted to stall this effort in the court system and not utilize scientific evidence. They are not helping but hindering a recognized problem at hand and have no solution to save those birds.
The people of Hawaii have to rise in grace through this disaster and collaborate to heal. We can’t be shattered and split by opinions and savvy social media posts with catchy slogans but focused on working as one to build a better and more resilient community to be stronger. The future of our communities can be sustainable by following that path.
Let’s more forward together with gentleness and grace for a better future and learn lessons to not repeat history.
I decided to get back to controlling this horrible 10 foot tall Guinea grass that started in my backyard. It just spreads so quickly over the fauna in the rainy months. Time to get rid of it despite the complaints from neighbors who were against my spraying of it.
Aug 12, 2023: Maui Fires