A friend who lives on the west side of the Hanalei Bridge — flood country — recently returned from a trip to Hilo, where she was struck by the number and prominence of signs denoting the tsunami evacuation zone — signs that clearly told people where to go when an inundation occurs.
They stood in stark contrast to the absence of such warnings on our own island, especially the tourist-thick North Shore. “It’s like a big secret that no one on Kauai wants to talk about,” she observed. “But up here, there is nowhere to go, so I guess that’s why we’re not gonna talk about it.”
The Garden Island has a long article today on KIUC’s planned switch to “smart meters” that included a lot of talk about “how great this is” and just a little talk about the privacy issues and electromagnetic health risks that prompted local lawmakers to criminalize their installation in a portion of California’s Marin County.
What struck me was how the KIUC Board and management were going to talk to each other about an opt-out program for members. Mmmm, fine, but why not talk to the members about it, too?
Which reminds me, some months ago, I asked Anne Barnes, the KIUC PR person, for a copy of the Board’s community outreach plan. She told me she’d look into it, but so far, not even a word. Shouldn’t we, the members, be allowed to know how our cooperative plans to reach out to us? I mean, other than those puffy pieces in the local paper where they talk down to us.
Meanwhile, that bastion of capitalism, the World Bank, is trying to get people to talk about the direct correlation between rising food costs and massive social unrest. As Democracy Now! reports:
José Cuesta, a senior economist at World Bank’s Poverty Reduction and Equity Group, unveiled the new findings.
"Global prices of food remain very high, very close to 2008 peak levels, and basically one-third above of the prices that they were one year ago. They will find more difficult to access and to buy food. They will find more difficult to diversify their diets. And the cost of living for everyone, for all consumers, of course, especially the poor, will worsen. The cost of living will increase, and that will worsen their ability to buy the diversified foods."
But hey, we’ve got Costco, so no worries. Actually, I was in Costco the other day, thinking about food, like what happens to all the perishable stuff that doesn’t get bought, and how is it that tomatoes picked on Aug. 2 not only hadn’t rotted two weeks later, but were still hard, when the label said, “vine-ripened?” No one really likes to talk about what’s happening to our food to give it such an extended shelf life.
I was listening to the radio the other day and heard the DJ talking about how county is distributing the new trash bins for automated pick up now, though they won’t actually be in use until September. What I wondered, though, was why they are giving people receptacles that have three times the capacity of a normal trash can, when all the county can talk about is how we’re running out of landfill space.
And finally, it’s nice to encounter a community group that is more action than talk. I’m talking about Surfider and its net patrol. I contacted them about a net that had washed up on a favorite beach, and they quickly scheduled a clean up. I figured the least I could do was show up and help, so I joined about a dozen other volunteers who cut up the heavy net into manageable pieces, which we then carted up a steep hill to the parking lot and loaded into the beds of five pick up trucks.
From there it went not to the aforementioned dump, but a cargo container, where it is stored until the container is full. Then it’s shipped over to Oahu, where it’s shredded and burned to create electricity.
It took a few hours, felt good and was one of those activities that truly does make a difference. Or in other words, it was the epitome of the adage, walk the talk.