Tuesday, June 30, 2015

We Are ALL Mauna Kea: A Sustainable Earth Depends Upon an Indigenist Future

10295789_10206053344285171_3698987057451460139_nHow would you feel if foreigners planned to steal your land to build an eighteen story, eight acre telescope on top your place of worship, burial sites, and water source?! The native re-awakening occurring now on Hawaii may be the single greatest hope for Earth, all her life and peoples. The #WeAreMaunaKea protectors teach us that genocide and ecocide to look at the stars, or carry out any industrial activity, is no longer culturally acceptable. We must all join native peoples out of love standing up for the land, and good-willed people of all races should be welcomed by native defenders. A powerful global indigenist uprising that along with allies ends industrial ecosystem destruction is Earth's last best chance for sustainability and avoiding biosphere collapse and the end of being. We all depend upon sacred lands such as Mauna Kea for the environment within which we live.

By Dr. Glen Barry, EcoInternet, Honolulu, Hawaii

Long prophesied by native thinkers, Earth is dying. The global ecological system is collapsing under the weight of industrial development. More ecosystems including the atmosphere have been lost and degraded than the biosphere can bear. Concurrently perma-war, injustice, and inequity have hit epidemic proportions and are worsening ecocide and obstructing solutions.
While social movements of many types work on these issues, the forces of ecocide are pernicious, resolute, and massive. To date adoption of solutions including smaller families, leaving fossil fuels in the ground, protecting and restoring natural ecosystems, and transitioning our communities to bioregional sustainability have proven orders of magnitudes inadequate to stop or even impede the surging industrial growth machine's gorging upon native ecosystems and peoples.

11378244_1465638397080213_1324334207_nWe got into this predicament as centuries ago ecological colonialism swept from Northern Europe to wage ecocide on ecosystems and genocide upon other non-European peoples. A deadly blend of capitalism, christianity, and militarism sought to liquidate natural ecosystems for perfunctory consumption by some; defended by rigid institutionalized racial, class, and inequity divides.
Against such a desperate backdrop about the only real hope for Earth and all her life that can found is the resurgence of indigenous thought and action such as that playing out in Hawaii. There on the Big Island brave native defenders have taken a dramatic stand against some of the most privileged seeking to steal their sacred Mauna Kea mountain. In an unjust, inequitable, ecologically collapsing world #WeAreMaunaKea (one of the hashtags on Twitter used by the movement) offers a vision of ecological sustainability and social harmony based upon Aloha 'Aina – love of the land.

#WeAreMaunaKea calls on the Moore Foundation and TMT Hawaii to voluntarily withdraw plans to steal and desecrate native Hawaiian sacred land with an industrial scale telescope. And they do so based upon love of the land and community mobilization in a manner that is applicable to virtually every environmental and social justice struggle. Following in the Gandhian and Martin Luther King tradition of non-violence, their own blend of Kapua Aloha (kindness, love, empathy) stresses bearing witness to ecocide with their bodies, minds, souls, and voices; albeit with a specific Hawaiian flare.
The Aloha 'Aina protectors demonstrate the ecological Earth ethic needed for the human family and our one shared biosphere to survive. A powerful global indigenist uprising that along with allies ends industrial ecosystem destruction of the landbase is Earth's last best chance to avoid global ecosystem collapse and achieve global ecological sustainability.


Mauna Kea is a sacred mountain to native Hawaiians and is vital for pure water on the Big Island. Measured from its base in the ocean, Mauna Kea rises over 10,000 m (33,000 ft), significantly higher than Mount Everest. Mauna Kea dramatically affects wind and weather patterns, and its often snow-capped peaks collect water that feeds the aquifer for Hawaii Island.

There Poli'ahu the Snow Goddess gathers, stores and shares life giving wai (water). So sacred is Mauna Kea that access was limited to only the most reverent of spiritual purposes. Land is sacred to native Hawaiians, and their ancestors believed numerous gods and goddesses inhabit Mauna Kea, and it continues to be revered as a temple. This may appear to be superstitious to some, but it is the basis of a worldview that protected vital ecosystems.

For Hawaiians Mauna Kea is where the sky and earth separated to form the heavens and where the mother and father of the Hawaiian race first met. Mauna Kea holds more than 250 shrines and burial sites and in centuries past its summit was so revered that only high chiefs and priests were allowed to ascend it. The mountain inspires many traditional chants and songs.

11142951_1427795734188857_810880267_nThere are already 12 telescopes scarring the mountain; and the newest, called the Thirty-Meter Telescope, would be 18-stories tall and destroy an additional eight acres of land, and intensify human waste and toxics entering the sensitive ecosystem. Mauna Kea Conservation District Lands are watershed, historic, environmentally and culturally sensitive lands and therefore have special protected status under Hawai'i law. The mountain is home to endangered Hawaiian flora and fauna including the Hawaiian silversword plant, the mamane tree, and the endangered finch-billed species of Hawaiian honeycreeper that lives only on the upper slopes of Mauna Kea.

Sacred lands such as Mauna Kea offer some of Earth's last intact ecosystems and biodiversity required to sustain humanity and the biosphere. While indigenous peoples account for 4% of global population, occupying 22% of land, their ancestral lands hold 80% of remaining biodiversity. The TMT telescope being built against the wishes of native Hawaiians is neo-colonialism, water and land ecocide, and continues the process of turning sacred Mauna Kea into a poorly managed industrial park. Such is the history of the end of the world.

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