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Solution to TMT Conflict: Aloha Aina
About the Author
Born and raised in Punalu'u, O'ahu, and currently residing in Hilo on Hawai'i Island, Jessica works with Native Hawaiian youth as a college and career counselor. He Hawai'i au mau a mau.
As many have noted, the issue of the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) is multi-layered, multi-faceted and extremely complicated, at best. Although this is true, it is also true that the solution to this conflict is elegantly simple. Aloha aina.
Imagine the love that you have for your family. Hold on to the deep emotion within and imagine feeling that same love when you look at a field of kalo, a school of fish swimming near the reef, or a majestic mountain standing tall above the clouds. It’s not the appreciation of beauty or the objectification of nature, it’s a deep, visceral connection. Aloha aina is a call to live in harmony and balance with everyone and everything around you.
Those in support of the would-be 14th telescope claim economic benefits, advancement of scientific knowledge and community pride. I argue that we can reach those same goals through aloha aina and do so without increasing the already significantly adverse environmental impact.
We can encourage our community members to become more aware of the issues that affect them and to get more involved with finding and creating solutions. We can fund education, not by taking from others, but by raising our own money in our own communities. We can support local small businesses and farms while encouraging more start ups. In my opinion, no amount of money will ever be worth jeopardizing the future of my island home. And to me, the construction of the TMT will do just that.
Those who criticize the protectors of Mauna a Wakea have stated that we are not willing to compromise. To them I say the familial relationship between humans and the environment requires that we care for that which cares for us and protect that which protects us. There is no compromise in aloha aina, there is only action.
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