Pua Kanahele, the kumu hula and highly respected educator, impresses me. Recently I heard her speak at a "Geothermal in Hawai‘i" symposium, put on by the First Nation's Futures Program of Kamehameha Schools.
She puts a lot of emphasis on the Kumulipo, the Hawaiian creation chant, which is about new beginnings, and she talks about how important the environment is.For example, she emphasizes the ‘ohi‘a tree and how it instigates the hydrologic cycle. The effect is: If we take care of our forests, we will not end up like Easter Island. I can definitely get behind her teachings. She inspired me to start planting ‘ohi‘a on my farm at Pepe‘ekeo.
I have a couple general observations about some others who want to be king, or philosophical leaders.
- One cannot be king if one cannot feed the people. I can think of a few would-be “kings” I would vote against because they have no clue about taking care of the people.
- “Leaders” who espouse a certain philosophy must not, as a result of that philosophy, cause people to go out and tread water while they stay safely on land, walking around and pointing in the air.
But if, for that person, the solution is to be against any form of geothermal energy, then the effect on the Hawaiian people is that their lights are turned off and they have less money to take care of their families. In other words, they end up out in the ocean and treading water.
I do not hear this loud voice providing a viable alternative. All I hear is “Me, me, me.”
Contrast that with Pua Kanahele’s point of view, which seems to be to take care of everyone by taking care of the environment. (It’s more complex than that; I’m simplifying.)
I have not heard a word from her about being against geothermal. She says there are many gods, and does not elevate Pele to being the main god. What she emphasizes are actions that take care of all of us.
She deserves the respect she gets.
The reason I am holding the Sierra Club’s feet to the fire is that I want them to realize that although, individually, they are not against Hawaiians, their non-action results in an anti-Hawaiian result.
They cannot play it both ways. And I am hoping they get it when we have the geothermal debate. They do not realize that as caring as they can be for “Hawaiians,” the results of some of their actions are actually anti-Hawaiian.
I feel, too, that some high-level Hawaiian educators have not thought the issues through deeply enough. The more they force people to tread water, the more irrelevant they become.
This is my simple point of view.