Monday, July 23, 2012

Musings: Die Hard

The sky was swirls of gray and pink, like the day couldn't quite decide whether to be sunny or rainy, when the dogs and I went walking this morning. I thought of a pig, and immediately, a black one ran across our path. You know what all the metaphysicians are saying: we can manifest things very quickly now.

And quickly is what we'll need to deal with significant global climate changes that are already in our face. It's become apparent to me in recent months that a lot of folks have the future on their minds, in a wondering, waiting, sometimes worrying, sometimes optimistic, sort of way.

Perhaps we've been set on edge, forced to go beyond the superficial, by the summer's news: raging forest fires; suffocating heat; Olympics games that look like preparation for Armageddon; another massacre in Colorado with legally purchased guns; a Presidential election financed primarily by 196 super wealthy people; live-fire Navy “war games” that yesterday turned another old ship into a toxic wreck littering the ocean floor around Kauai. 

Meanwhile, we are seeing the Midwest — the nation's meat and bread basket — shrivel up in drought and heat, with food prices already on the rise and farmers now fighting over whether corn should go to livestock or ethanol.

Will we get to the place where the disgustingly inhumane feedlots, the triple-decker bacon burgers, the high fructose soft drinks, the meat at every meal mentality, will become too damn expensive to continue? And wouldn't that, in terms of human and environmental health, living pono, be a good thing?

I was thinking the other day about a Japanese woman, now gone, who worked the rice fields in Hanalei, and so would eat every grain of rice in her bowl, because she knew the labor involved in its production. In less than three-quarters of a century, we have gone from a place of respect and even reverence for what we consume to blatant gluttony, to producing an entire class of food characterized as junk. Will we be forced, by global climate change, ocean acidification, into re-evaluating, re-inventing our relationship with food, and could that possibly turn out to be a good thing?

And what of our relationship to the earth, the land and sea? I see an article in today's paper about a new documentary that “focuses on Kauai as a sustainable living leader” and I think, if this island is being touted as a leader in the sustainability movement, then the world is in deep doodoo.

Because nearly everything we consume — energy, food, building materials, stuff — is imported, and our economy is based on tourism and the military, two industries that are the antithesis of sustainability.

We aren't even close to being able to take care of ourselves, and nearly every step we take is in the wrong direction, which is why so much of our ag land has been turned over to revenue-generating pesticide-drenched GMO seed crops and luxury homes rather than the production of food that we can eat right here.

I remember hearing one KKCR programmer say, “We'll be fine if they cut the line,” and I thought, what dream world are you living in? Aside from obvious immediate shortages in food, energy and medicine, can you imagine the social disruption that would result from all the smokers, tweakers, pill poppers and boozers suddenly being forced to go cold turkey? Not a pretty picture.

Citizens aren't the only ones residing in the la-la land of denial. Too many of our government officials and pro-business groups reside there, too. According to an article in today's Civil Beat, even though the state has finally developed some “policy guidelines” for dealing with the impact of climate change, they're essentially toothless, feel good measures that lag well beyond efforts being taken by other coastal states, such as California and Washington.

Efforts to toughen them up were fought by people like Dave Arakawa, executive director of the Land Use Research Foundation of Hawaii, who said taking factoring a one-foot sea level rise by 2050 into planning decisions would adversely impact development.

Here on Kauai, the supposed “sustainable living leader,” planning director Mike Dahilig says we'll “consider” climate impacts during the General Plan update. He is then quoted as saying:

"From a planning standpoint, I do think we need to be on top of it and be more proactive in integrating it into our planning theory," he said. "But what this will look like from a functional planning standpoint, we don't know right now."

While the science is starting to coalesce among generally accepted theories, Dahilig said inconsistencies remain.
"When it comes down to zoning land, I don't know whether I'm dealing with a sea level increase of 1 foot or 100 feet. We need the science on it," he said. "But generally, we can still make some plans. Things on the shoreline should be elevated and more minimalistic. Our infrastructure should be closer to the mountains."

As Mike waits for more science, I imagine those oceanfront properties will continue to be developed, and millions of dollars will be dumped into concrete coastal paths and highways.

Because even though so many of us can see what's ahead — and it ain't gonna take another 40-50 years to get there — even though so many of us already recognize that we desperately need a new paradigm, a new world view, a new consciousness to guide us into this new terrain of a world reshaped by climate change, old habits and old belief systems die hard.

But eventually, they will die. In the meantime, it's up to those of who can see and feel a different way of being to manifest that new reality through our actions, and through our thoughts. Which is not the same as wishful thinking.


Anonymous said...

It's too late. But no worry, this island will outlast humanity.

Anonymous said...

mmmmm...triple decker bacon cheese burger...mmmmmm

Anonymous said...

"smokers, tweakers, pill poppers and boozers"..... forget them, what about all the ass wipers? Life without toilet paper would get real shi##y real fast

Anonymous said...

Dahilig is clueless and should not be Planning Director.

Time to stop pandering to the billionaires who've turned prime ag land into their playgrounds.

Anonymous said...

That's the reson why Dahilig is planning director.

Explanation is an excuse as usual, well the county has been catering to the ultra rich since the Kusaka days.

These fools are cronies that put on a lackluster show of we protect the land and people on the hoike channell.

Did Kusaka get land in exchange for her sevices?

Will Dahilig get land for his services?

What a bunch of Benedict Arnolds and Ethel Rosenburgs we have on Kauai.

Anonymous said...

Nard's poor choice is Kauai's long term problem as land use decisions (permits) are permanent fixtures.

Look at all of the high quality additions (permanent employees) since Nard's placement of an immature kid in one of the most important positions in the county.

tsk, tsk, tsk.

Anonymous said...

I hear everyone loves a fun drunk!

Felicia said...

I am the programmer that is always encouraging listeners to take steps like plant edible landscaping "SO we will be fine if they cut the line." We can reclaim our sovereignty one backyard at a time, one household at a time. We need to set that comment as a mantra in evaluating our every life choice.

...hope that helps you to understand my message a little more clearly.

Joan Conrow said...

Thanks for clarifying that, Felicia. I like your approach.

Anonymous said...

In a few years Kuhio and Kaumualii hwys will be moved inland or underwater. No beaches for anybody. Droughts, record temps, but don't worry be happy.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

Speaking of billionaires turning land into playgrounds.

Does anybody at Anaina Hou understand that their Special Use Permit already used up all of their allowed impervious cover without a huge new cement skate park being added later?

Does Dahilig think that can just be ignored?

Anonymous said...

More details on Anainahou please

Anonymous said...

On Ainahou

They can file for a variance.

and for more information 6:20 AM - read the report all by yourself, unless that is too difficult for you.

Anonymous said...

Someone in the county should call oahu and maui to find out how did they restore their beaches/shoreline.The call is free

Anonymous said...

When the shit hits the fan, it will be too late for waiting on science to tell us what to do......
Bureaucrats like Dahlig to "wait and see" instead of doing their homework.
Think Fukushima.....Food shortages....too late to plan gardens waiting for something to happen....

The Best and Brightest are not running our island.

Dr Shibai

Anonymous said...

What is really sad is Kauai's shoreline setback ordinance was the best in the country, scientifically based.

Now there is a political animal in office who doesn't care about anyone unless they are rich or large land owners.

Sad sad days for Kauai.

Anonymous said...

When the shit hits the fan, smart money folks will be taking the plane out of town to live in their other home(s) or buy/build elsewhere since they can afford it.

For the rest of the folks on the island (how I hesitated to write "rats on the sinking ship", but didn't), you're on your own.

Anonymous said...

There might be a lot of wealthy people with ag estates, but they are the least of our worries when it comes to intelligent use of ag land on Kauai.
The county could free up more of the old sugar cane fields and let them be cultivated for useful crops, instead of letting them sit, or worse, letting the GMO companies exploit them. There are many farmers who would love to have (lease) parcels and grow wholesome food.
The county does not seem genuinely interested in promoting a self-sustaining Kauai. Moloa'a, the closest thing we have to a "bread basket," is not only preyed upon by county inspectors, the KPD seems to turn a blind eye while the thieving tweakers raid camps with regularity.

Anonymous said...

dont get anyone started talking about the inspectors ... most of them completely useless - both building and planning. more along the lines of incompetent but Nard knows this....

Anonymous said...

Well, they did bust Bynum with his rice cooker.

Anonymous said...

12:19 PM

hehehehe - competence at it's finest - was that the elderly woman that dress up as a teenager?

she is funny looking.

Anonymous said...

"The county could free up more of the old sugar cane fields and let them be cultivated for useful crops, instead of letting them sit, or worse, letting the GMO companies exploit them. There are many farmers who would love to have (lease) parcels and grow wholesome food."

The county zoned all that land for agricultural use. The owners of the land and not the county have to open it up for cultivation.

Anonymous said...

"When the shit hits the fan, smart money folks will be taking the plane out of town to live in their other home(s) or buy/build elsewhere since they can afford it."

The shit already hit the fan but there's still people willing to buy or hold on to their beach front parcels hoping that the trend of accelerating erosion reverses itself.

Anonymous said...

As for sustainability, I read that the tropics will experience droughts and severe weather (flooding) as the planet heats up. Not ideal for farming. Will we be environmental refugees? Nowhere to run, nowhere to hide.