Richard Ha writes:
On Thursday, Kalei Nu‘uhiwa and I spoke on a geothermal panel at the UH Manoa’s Richardson School of Law.
Kalei talked about Papakū Makawalu, a Hawaiian deconstruction of the universe into its basic component parts. Here is an interesting talk she gave on this topic about a year ago. (It's about 13 minutes; well worth a watch.)
From the Edith Kanaka‘ole Foundation:
Papakū Makawalu is the ability of our kupuna to categorize and organize our natural world and all systems of existence within the universe. Papakū Makawalu is the foundation to understanding, knowing, acknowledging, becoming involved with, but most importantly, becoming the experts of the systems of this natural world.
At our panel discussion, the essential question was: “Can geothermal exist in harmony with the Hawaiian world view?”
Kalei’s answer, as I understood it, was, "Yes – If we have a full discussion ahead of time to assure that all concerns are adequately addressed. We need to understand and be comfortable in knowing what its effect on the Hawaiiian environment would be."
I agree with this point of view. When we were asked what would we do if one of the geothermal developers did not agree to abide by this I said, “Then they need to get out of here!”
Hawaiians in pre-contact time were very successful. Here in Hawai‘i today, we are less successful.
This is why I really like Charles Hall’s EROI concept, which measures net energy. It provides empirical data that compares use of energy from ancient times to the present. It’s a way of comparing apples and apples across time.