Failure of Bill on Sustainable Living

The Hawai’i Sustainable Community Alliance has put a lot of effort over the past few years into drafting, introducing, and lobbying for a bill to “enable innovators and sustainable pioneers to practice and test ways of living that are ecological and sustainable” in Hawaii.

The bill passed through 6 committee hearings, and normally would have proceeded automatically to a final hearing. Senator Malama Solomon, who generally seems opposed to sustainability and supportive of destructive practices like industrial agriculture and geothermal, used her position as Chairperson of the Senate Conference Committee to deny the bill a hearing.

This, of course, is an all too typical expression of how systems of power operate. If you don’t play by their rules, they imprison you. If you play by their rules, you generally have no chance of winning, because they wrote the rules to keep themselves in power. And if you play by their rules and start to win, they change the rules.

If we, as advocates of sustainable living and social justice, are serious about winning, we need to find ways out of this triple bind. The Deep Green Resistance strategy of Decisive Ecological Warfare is an excellent start, though we’ll have to figure out how to effectively apply it the particular situation in and needs of Hawaii.

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