Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Musings: Full Speed Ahead

The calendar says April and I know we're gaining a minute now on each side of the day, but that doesn't change the two overriding facts of this morning: it's cold and dark. But I like to look on the bright side: it's the kind of weather that makes it easy to stay out of the ocean, which is still dirty in my favorite swimming spots.

We, of course, have the choice to stay out the sea when our land-based activities — pooping, peeing, grubbing, grading, spraying, poisoning — make it too funky to safely swim. But what of the animals who live there and have nowhere to run to, baby, nowhere to hide?

Well, if I were to ask the spear fisherman — local guy, young, upper body covered with tattoos — who I recently saw scaling a hefty stringer of fish right next to a freshly emptied gallon jug of bleach that had been shoved into the naupaka after its contents were poured onto the reef, the answer would be fuck 'em.

The state Legislature is being asked to make a similar statement with HCR 87 and HR 61, resolutions that support “delisting” the green sea turtle as a threatened and protected species so it can be “actively managed” — or in other words, hunted outright or wantonly killed as a byproduct of longline fishing. That's why you've got Kitty Simonds, executive director of Western Pacific Fishery Management Council (WESPAC) orchestrating it, even though testimony was submitted that disingenuously lists her affiliation as president of the Maunalua Hawaiian Civic Club.

Regardless of what you may think about how many turtles are out there, or whether people should hunt them, things start to move into the realm of Orwellian when you read language like this in the resolution:

the environment and ecosystem are suffering from the current over-protection, over-population, and lack of management of honu

Wow. So now we're blaming the turtles, a native species that has been around for 110 million years, compared to a measly 100,000 for Homo sapiens, for screwing up the reefs. Unreal.

And I suppose we can also blame them for giving themselves tumors (fibropapillomatosis). That way we don't have to change our behavior, like halting the practice of injecting semi-treated sewage effluent into wells that then leach into the nearshore marine environment and produce toxic algae that the turtles consume, to their peril.

I asked a friend what he thought about delisting the honu, and he said Hawaiians should be allowed to hunt them. I support traditional hunting and harvesting practices, too, but surely we can do better for kanaka than give them the green light to consume a diseased species. 

Anyway, this issue is scheduled for a House hearing on Thursday morning before a committee that counts our own Rep. Derek Kawakami as a member. Wonder how he'll vote?

Derek, along with our other state House Reps., Jimmy Tokioka and Dee Morikawa, and Sen. Ron Kouchi, already voted for SB 755, one of those disturbing “fast-track construction” measures that are coming to characterize the rein of Gov. Abercrombie.

The bill exempts airport structures from the special management area permit and shoreline setback variance requirements and gives the Department of Land and Natural Resources, as well as the Department of Transportation, authority to similarly exempt other projects from such review. It also exempts all work involving submerged lands used for state commercial harbor purposes from any permit and site plan review requirements for lands in the conservation district and authorizes the Governor to exempt classes of projects from the environmental review process.

Not stated is the way it works to conveniently exempt the public, especially those nay-saying environmentalists, from any meaningful say about projects in the Islands most sensitive lands.

You can ask our elected reps about it on Wednesday night. They'll be at the Wilcox School cafeteria from 5:30 to 7 p.m. “hearing [which is very different than heeding] your feedback on issues important to the Garden Island.”

But when you read language like this — “Mid-session highlights will be provided with an emphasis on economic revitalization and business and the State Budget.” — you can be pretty sure of the underlying message: fuck the environment, full speed ahead.

Or as a friend noted in comments yesterday, responding to a report of Swiss villagers rejecting a gold mine in favor of environmental protection:

So why is it that we on Kauai always fall for the gold mine; our island is as beautiful as their Alpine setting.


Anonymous said...

For the record, not all "locals" agree with pouring bleach onto the reefs. If he's doing that, he truly is not a local.

Our legislative "leaders" are too scared to meet in their individual districts and have to gang up to meet with their constituents. What's up with that? Kawakami et al are selling us out. What a disappointment.

I am against the fast track over-riding of environmental laws and this does not meet the constitution of this state.

Anonymous said...

They came, they saw, they destroyed. A coda to US history.

Anonymous said...

Because government is lazy and the people who run it...need the payola and financial support from those who would make more......payola.

Also, the Old Testament Bible that tells us that animals are here to serve us....and many old book Christians believe this nonsense.

Dr Shibai

Anonymous said...

Me too! Da fisherman w/ da bleach should be bleached himself! Chaaa..........kupuna would be horified at that mentality! He wouldn't have survived a day in ancient times for breaking the kanawai, laws governing water and fishing. Our people knew all about "sustainabilty" long before it became politically correct. All things connected....all living creatures were important not just humans. Our state of affairs today is a fuckin shame!!!!!

Anonymous said...

In this economy, it's anything goes. Gotta grease the wheels and minor details only get in the way. Chinese billionaires, here we come! The price of real estate will spike to all time highs and the inevitable bubble will create a new bottom. Sigh.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like the local needs to get thrown under the bus. Can't blame the tourists for this kind of stuff going down. If there isn't anything to see, even the Chinese billionaires won't come to the island.

Anonymous said...

Derek not only voted in support of SB755 last night but Derek led the charge against the environment in giving a strong floor speech in support of wiping out environemental protections. I watched this via the internet last night and could not believe what I was hearing the North Shore Representative say. Rep. Morita is most likely wondering again of the wisdom of those who appointed Derek.

Anonymous said...

Will be interesting how they defend their votes at tonights so called talk story meeting. Garuns they will circle the wagons.

Joan Conrow said...

I'm just hoping they don't spend the full 90 minutes briefing us so that we don't have time to brief them.

Anonymous said...

Anyone who thought Kawakami was anything but one of the old time political in crowd, just wasn't paying attention.

That in bred, take care of the moneyed and well connected first, political group is why so many call for outsiders to take key roles. The insiders have been in place too long and are a pack of crooks.

KamaKele said...

We always fall for the gold mine because we have differant values. I went to Kaho'olawe, and the uncle there told us about Hawaiian's relationship with their aina. They believed that the islands themselves were alive and had to be respected. They viewed themselves and the islands as having a symbiotic relationship. Look into the faces of our youth and point out to me how many you see with that belief today. One in a hundred? We just do not value our islands like we used to and we have really lost our way, and I do not see any hope of finding it again. Congratulations to the Swiss that they still have it.