Protecting Mauna Kea: This Is a War

So many good-hearted people want to see change in the world, with an end to environmental devastation, social injustice, and exploitation of women; but aren’t prepared to face the full difficulty of righting these wrongs. Those in power do not enforce their policies of extraction, oppression, and domination by accident or through mutual agreement with those giving up their resources. Rather, to maintain their control, those in power use the persistent and systemic threat of force with judicious enactment of violence when the threats aren’t enough. Much of this is hidden: domestic violence usually occurs behind closed doors; we don’t widely discuss the enslavement of more humans today than crossed in the entire history of the Middle Passage; and corporations maximize their bottom line with governmental police and armies to enforce laws written by the corporations themselves.

On every front we are at war, under siege, and we have been since the beginning of agriculture and civilization. It’s scary to acknowledge this reality, as it has serious implications for how we pursue justice. If exploitation and this horrific imbalance of power are not accidents; if we can’t expect that asking nicely for what’s right will effect change; if we must expect those in power to inflict violence in retaliation for any truly effective action; then what do we do?

The answer to that question is not straight forward, and will be different for each person and each circumstance. But we must bravely face reality so that we can make grounded and informed decisions.

Will Falk writes about this reality in our islands:

Sitting outside the 10 by 20 foot makeshift tent that has served as my home for the last 34 days on Mauna Kea, I watch the tent poles shudder to the concussion of US Army howitzer cannons firing live shells at their training grounds below. When the wind blows just right, from the south, the rattle of automatic rifle fire reaches the occupation. There’s no denying it: A war rages in Hawai’i.

He discusses how this fact might affect the strategies and tactics of those fighting for Mauna Kea and for Hawaiian sovereignty, and what resisters should consider as they decide their course of action. These issues are relevant to all struggles for justice, and his essay is important reading even for those not involved in this particular battle. Please read Protecting Mauna Kea: This Is a War.

Hawai’i life endangered: will you fight for those you love?

Susanna Moore shares a heartfelt recounting of the many endemic and native species driven to, or to the brink of extinction by humans and especially by the culture of civilization:

Each year I await with dread the federal government’s catalog of endangered and threatened species in the Hawaiian Islands, where I was raised and where I live.

On its 2015 list, the Fish and Wildlife Service included the ‘ea, or hawksbill turtle, as well as the green turtle, Ridley sea turtle, leatherback turtle and loggerhead turtle. Four mammals are considered endangered: the Hawaiian hoary bat; the kohola, or humpback whale; the sperm whale; and the endemic Hawaiian monk seal. Among the 34 endangered birds are the Hawaiian goose, or nene; the Maui parrotbill; the Nihoa millerbird; the red-legged stilt; and the i’o, or Hawaiian hawk. There were once 99 species of tree snails in the Islands; of the 25 that survive, nine are endangered. Fifteen anthropods are at risk, including the sphinx moth and the oceanic damselfly.

The pressures on non-human life in the Islands have only increased with the expansion of industrialism and a consumeristic human population. Will you join us at Deep Green Resistance in fighting for those we love?

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Protecting Mauna Kea: Vocabulary for Haoles

Language is important. The words we use matter, and the ways we use them are fundamental to our communication. With this in mind, Will Falk of Deep Green Resistance wrote a primer for members of settler culture to better understand the struggles around Hawaiian sovereignty, and the occupation on Mauna Kea to stop construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope.

The terms I define in this essay — haole, racism, white supremacy and genocide — are experienced in a very real way by oppressed peoples around the world. It is not my place to explain these terms to people experiencing genocide in the most vivid ways, so I write to those privileged enough to be free from these realities. The first step to acting in true solidarity is accepting the truth and to accept the truth we must communicate with the most honest words.

[…]

One thing I’ve noticed in my attempts to work in solidarity with people of color is that many white people hate being reminded of their whiteness. When I was a public defender bemoaning statistical realities like the fact that there are more black men in prison today than were enslaved in 1850 to a roomful of white judges, prosecutors and cops, I was shouted down and told we live today in a colorblind society. When I was at the Unist’ot’en Camp pipeline blockade in so-called British Columbia and our Unist’ot’en hosts explained the need for separate indigenous and settler camps due to the reality that many indigenous peoples felt more safe expressing their opinions away from settlers, there was always a white person who tried to set up in the indigenous camp with the logic that we’re all one human family.

So, the question becomes: Why do white people hate being reminded of their whiteness?

Although uncomfortable, it is crucial that those of us in positions of privilege examine the oppressions from which we benefit. Falk’s essay is an excellent start for understanding the colonial situation in Hawai’i, or the basics of white supremacy anywhere in the world. Please read Protecting Mauna Kea: Vocabulary for Haoles.

Action alert: stop county spraying of pesticides

From GMO Free Hawai’i:

Action Alert

On Tuesday August 4th, Hawai`i County Council Member Margaret Wille will introduce Bill 71, for the county to stop spraying herbicides on county property, including roads, parks, etc that the county maintains.

Please send testimony now to counciltestimony@hawaiicounty.gov ― even a quick email as simple as “I support Bill 71” ― to be received by Monday at 2:30 PM. Ask your friends, ohana, & visitors to send testimony too.

It’s probably most valuable to submit testimony, but you can also sign a petition

If you want to email individual councilors, their addresses are:

dru.kanuha@hawaiicounty.gov
margaret.wille@hawaiicounty.gov
karen.eoff@hawaiicounty.gov
maile.david@hawaiicounty.gov
greggor.ilagan@hawaiicounty.gov
valerie.poindexter@hawaiicounty.gov
aaron.chung@hawaiicounty.gov
daniel.paleka@hawaiicounty.gov
dennis.onishi@hawaiicounty.gov

You can also submit testimony in person at the Hilo Council Chambers (25 Aupuni Street) or via videoconference:

  • Waimea Council Office
  • Video Conferencing Site in the old Bank of Hawai’i Building in Kapa’au
  • Kona Council Chambers – West Hawai‘i Civic Center
  • Pahoa Neighborhood Facility
  • the Hawaiian Ocean View Estates Community Center

Background info from Margaret Wille

Bill 71 prohibits toxic herbicides on all County owned or maintained property.

At the Council’s May 2015 hearings for our County 2015 -2016 budget, the line items of greatest concern were that “Roundup” spray line items in the several department budgets, including those of Parks & Recreation and Public Works. At that time I promised to draft a bill to address the community’s concerns.

As drafted this bill would prohibit the use of toxic herbicides, such as those containing glyphosate (Monsanto’s “Roundup”), on County owned and maintained parks, roadways, waterways, and other county spaces.

The World Health Organization and other health organizations have recently brought forth more evidence concerning the negative effects of glyphosate on human health and to the environment. In my opinion it would be irresponsible to continue to ignore the cries of so many to find alternative means to deal with weeds that are less harmful to our people. To instead simply do another study or to only undertake some pilot project would be doing next to nothing. The proposed bill has an effective date of July 1, 2016 to allow time for the County to transition to alternative means of weed control.

Help stop this from continuing

Why the Mountain

Why any mountain?

Appalachian mountains, destroyed
by mountaintop removal
streams buried under rubble
of valley fills…
… who are we, humankind
to remodel the flesh of this earth –
– cutthroat surgeons
sinfully rich reshaping
mounds and curves…

Tainting soil and groundwater
toxic metals
selenium sulphate magnesium
degrading water quality of
streams and rivers
left over pollutants
disposed of
‘slurry injections’ into the earth
poisoning groundwater
animals plants people…

Coal mining on Walden’s ridge
mercury spewing
into the atmosphere
smell the coal burning
concentrating, millions of times higher
than in untainted water
once released, irretrievable
mercury compounds never disappear….
.. not so our mountains;

Ancient mountain forests
home to hundreds… thousands
birds and animals, insects and plants
threatened to extinction
ancient guardians
ripped and torn
open-cut-mining stripping the land
every plant and tree decimated
all creatures driven out
or worse
driven to extinction…
who are they, we….
to tamper with the integrity
of ecosystems
unleashing, instead
volumes of contaminants and toxic particles…

I weep at humankind’s audacity
its psychotic need to claim control recreate
and reshape the flesh of this earth;
The Alps
from Nice to Vienna
struggling in the face of major threats
–pollution and habitat loss
in the name of tourism and mankind’s intrusion
such exploitation of age-old mountain
is criminal…

I might never visit the lush beauty
of Hawai’i nor breath in the spiritual vibrations
of Mauna Kea Mountain…
I might never feel the potent sacredness
of those ancient lands
but I weep to think of future times
when my children’s children should do so
and are confronted with
such a phallic symbol
as a thirty meter telescope atop Mauna Kea…
I ask… why the mountain-
why any mountain?
please… protect them
raise your voices
defend Mauna Kea
of humankind’s psychotic need
to claim control recreate
and reshape the flesh of earth;

by Sharon Lee Goodhand, © July 22 2015
supporter of Deep Green Resistance

Wai‘anae Film Series – Friday in Oahu

From KAHEA: The Hawaiian-Environmental Alliance:

Wai‘anae Film Series
E Ho‘i i ke Ea: Hawaiian Independence for National and Global Justice

Friday, July 25

Kamehameha Schools
Community Learning Center
at Nānākuli 89-101 Farrington Hwy.
(Note: We have a new location!)

5:00pm – Pupus and dinner
5:30pm (sharp!) – Introductions and films
6:30pm – Guest speakers
7:15pm – Small group discussions
8:00pm – Large group reportback

Featured Films: Hawai‘i: A Voice for Sovereignty; The End of Poverty; Life and Debt

Featured Guest Speakers: Jon Osorio from Kamakakūokalani Center for Hawaiian Studies at UH Mānoa and MANA and Ilima Long from MANA

THIS EVENT IS FREE AND OPEN TO THE PUBLIC

Please RSVP to waianaefilmseries@gmail.com or 454-4713 so that we can provide food for everyone

Cosponsors: Senator Maile Shimabukuro, AiKea, DMZ Hawai‘i/Aloha ‘āina, Hawai‘i Peace and Justice, UH Mānoa Hawai‘inuiākea, KAHEA: The Hawaiian-Environmental Alliance, MANA: movement for aloha no ka ‘āina, and the Wai‘anae Environmental Justice Working Group. Planning Committee: Pua Ford, Lucy Gay, Summer Miles, Ileana Ruelas, Pake Salmon, Laurel Mei Turbin. Food provided by Maimun.

Protecting Mauna Kea: Pule Plus Action

Will Falk reports with clarity on what is needed in the struggle to protect Mauna Kea from the Thirty Meter Telescope project. It is critical for defenders to connect with the land and the mountain they love through prayer, but also crucial to translate that love into effective action. The environmental movement has been losing on all fronts for 40 years: not because of any lack of love for the world, but because we aren’t taking this war seriously and are not developing and implementing strategic plans.

Falk shares his perspective as a member, on the ground, of a developing resistance campaign. Different people have different ideas for how to proceed, often based in well-meaning and tradition-rooted ideals of kapu aloha, love and respect. Defenders of the land, holding to these ideals, must recognize that the state and its minions will not behave with the same respect. A successful campaign strategy must take this into account.

I think I’ve demonstrated that the TMT project is enabled by a problematic worldview and should not be allowed to proceed. After Governor David Ige’s announcement last week that he would support and enforce the TMT’s construction, the Mauna Kea protectors want the world to know we never expected the State to help us. We must stop the TMT project and we must do it ourselves. The question becomes: “How do we do it?”

The occupation on Mauna Kea is an expression that the protection of Mauna Kea is the people’s responsibility. We cannot trust the government to stop the TMT. We cannot trust the police. We cannot trust the courts. We have to do it ourselves. In other words, nothing has changed since the occupation began over two months ago. In many ways, the occupation on Mauna Kea reflects all of our environmental and social justice movements around the world.

Read the rest of Falk’s analysis at Protecting Mauna Kea: Pule Plus Action. And for a big picture scenario of what successful resistance might look like, read the Deep Green Resistance strategy of Decisive Ecological Warfare.

Doctors Stephanie Seneff and Judy Carman present “Our Right to Health”

This newsletter is republished from GMO Free Hawai’i (GMOFHI):

Our Right to Health

GMOFHI is pleased to announce “Our Right to Health”, a speaking tour of two scientists to our islands, Dr. Stephanie Seneff and Dr. Judy Carman. They will discuss the results of health and safety studies concerning Glyphosate and GMO foods, respectively. This is a great opportunity to become more fully informed about the safety issues and to hear in detail some of the problems associated with these products, so commonplace in our lives and communities.

Dr. Stephanie Seneff, for 30 years, has been a researcher and scientist in the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence laboratory at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology links the research with the alarming rise in today’s diseases. Dr Senneff will be connecting the dots between the rise in the use of glyphosate, the active ingredient in the commonly used herbicide “Roundup,” and the link to the increase in obesity, allergies, autism, alzheimer’s (and more).

Dr. Judy Carman holds a PhD in Medicine, nutritional biochemistry and metabolic regulation; Dr. Carman conducted research on some of the first long-term, independent, animal feeding studies to investigate the safety of GMO crops in regards to human health. She will be talking about the safety of GM crops, including the research she has conducted with some of the first animal studies.

Please join us at one of these upcoming dates, for Pupus and an opportunity to meet our speakers:

EAST HAWAI’I ISLAND – Contact: Chandell 808-896-1686

Sat. July 25th – Waimea, 1:30 to 5 PM
Tutu’s House, 64-1032 Mamalahoa Highway, Kamuela

Sun. July 26th – Honoka’a, 6 to 9 PM
North Hawai’i Educational Research Center (NHERC)
45-539 Plumeria Street, Honoka’a

WEST HAWAI’I ISLAND – Contact: Sharon (808) 938-4807

Mon. July 27th – Kona, 6 to 9 PM
County of Hawai’i Civic Center
74-5044 Ane Keohokalole Highway,
Bldg B (above the harbor)

Road-side Herbicide Spraying

During a recent legislative annual budget hearing, the County of Hawaii Council heard a full day of community testimony on the subject of de-funding the county’s road-side herbicide program, and replacing it with safer alternatives. Many ideas were presented, and the director of public works, as well as many council members showed support for trying a different approach. If you have any ideas that you would like to share with the county, please contact Public Works Director Warren Lee’s office at (808) 961-8321 and politely present concerns and ideas for solutions (we realize having our children walk through road sides sprayed with Roundup is an emotional issue). There are many different climates on Hawai’i Island to content with, so providing road-side weed control solutions is bound to require varied approaches.

Here is a short list of solutions. Please email GMO Free Hawai’i with other ideas to continue to add to this list.

  • Vinegar
  • Steam
  • Physical removal- such as around specific areas like waterways, as well as part of a long term replacement program with other types of plants besides “weeds”. Large stretches of the Hilo/Volcano hwy, for example, were once maintained in such a way, along with a mowing program in the shorter term. Once weeds have been removed the roadside can be planted with native plants, especially those that attract pollinators.
  • Animal, via portable pens
  • Flaming
  • C-Cide Concentrate (Testing in Kapoho by Hawaii’s Coalition for Alternatives to Pesticides)

If you haven’t signed and shared the petition to stop the county’s road-side herbicide spraying, please do!

Protecting Mauna Kea: Notes From the Summit

Will Falk writes the next entry in his “Protecting Mauna Kea” series after journeying to the sacred mountain’s peak. He contrasts the natural beauty and living community of the mountain to the impositions of industrial artifacts ― multiple telescopes in place already, with the buildings and roads necessary to support them.

Falk addresses the facile claim that the Thirty Meter Telescope is a project for the higher good of humanity, so it doesn’t matter if a sacred place, its inhabitants, and a human culture holding it in reverence are all further damaged:

In response to the “love for the stars” argument, keep in mind that the Ku Klux Klan advertises itself as a “love group not a hate group.” Either we have to trust people like the KKK, or we realize that we cannot trust everyone’s rhetoric. Another way to look at this is to understand that often what is called “love” in this dominant culture is really a poisoned version of what love truly is. Those responsible for the TMT project might love the stars, but that love is poisoned by the destruction their project will create. What is love if it causes you to violate boundaries established by aboriginal peoples? What is love if it causes you to clear an 8 acre space, digging two stories on a formerly pristine mountain top? What is love if it causes you to dangerously perch hazardous chemical waste above the largest freshwater aquifer on Hawai’i Island?

For those committed to standing on the side of life, and in solidarity with indigenous struggles against ongoing genocide, the fight against the TMT demands support and a deeper look, beyond the rosy picture painted by worshippers of science.

Read Falk’s entire essay at Deep Green Resistance News Service: “Notes From the Summit”

Updates and Stories from Switzerland and Mauna Kea

What: Hawai`i Community Meeting in Hilo, organized by Hawai’i Alliance for Progressive Action

Where:
UH Hilo
Science & Technology Building
Room STB 108

RSVP: Email angelah@hapahi.org

Details: Hear about HAPA actions in Syngenta’s home country from Gary Hooser, and Updates on the Mauna Kea actions from Uncle Walter Ritte, Jr. Plus: State Senator Russell Ruderman.

Free T-shirts to the first 15 people!