It’s sad to read articles like the one printed in Civil Beat today — and reposted in The Garden Island — about the nene being “kicked off” Kauai.
It’s sad because the article, and the subsequent question posed to spark discussion — “What do you think about the decision to spend $7.2 million to ship endangered birds from Kauai to Maui and the Big Island?” — work so effectively to turn people against endangered species by making it all about money.
To the average person, $7.2 million sounds like a lot of money, and it is. But given Civil Beat’s emphasis on telling the bigger story, it would have been nice to see the article put that figure in some sort of context, like how much is currently being spent on bird control at state airports, the cost of bird-related aircraft crashes, or even the cost of implementing our fear-based Homeland Security programs at the Lihue Airport.
Because this is supposedly all about protecting us humans, right?
And it missed the big question: where is the money coming from?
What’s really sad, though, is that the article fails to get into how this, like all endangered species “problems,” is caused at root by humans: our needs, our wants, our values, our fears, our priorities and in this case, one person’s bad decision to establish a nene population at Kauai Lagoons.
Instead, it just serves to make people blame the birds, rather than the federal aviation officials who are pushing this project to forestall the relatively remote possibility of a nene air strike.
Dumping on the nene, turning this into yet another "us against them" scenario, as the media did with the Newell's, is so much easier than examining our own behavior, or own shortcomings as a species.
So I did get a laugh from one totally unconscious comment left on The Garden Island article:
Any organism that is so pitiful that it can't adapt to new problems to save its life deserves to die and make way for those that can.
Ya know, buddy, you're right, and that's exactly where the human organism is headed.
It was also sad to see The Garden Island article — or more accurately, press release reprint — about how Grove Farm land will be used to grow crops to help provide fuel for a bioenergy plant on Oahu.
Aside from the obvious question of why Grove Farm couldn’t have reached a similar agreement with KIUC, so that the use of our water and ag land would benefit our island and our goals of energy self-sufficiency, how in the world can it be considered “green” to burn fossil fuels to ship biomass to another island so its power plants can avoid burning fossil fuels?
There’s a certain insanity in some of these “green energy” proposals that seem to have a lot more to do with the color of money than environmentally sound proposals.