Ke Ao Maoli
Aloha mai kakou!
The primary local elections are heating up and there has never been a better time to get involved in the efforts to protect Hawaii's unique natural and cultural heritage. Here is the latest update on the issues that KAHEA champions. Mahalo for your continued support!
1. Plant Your Vote! Some of the candidates this year really make it worth it this time.
Primary Election- Saturday, September 20If you think you might miss the Sept. 20th Primary you can easily
The Primary Elections are very important because they decide which party candidate actually gets to the final General Elections, so don't miss your chance to vote for candidates that are truly worth electing in the General Elections!
Don't assume others will take a stand, it takes your involvement to make a change! Good candidates have missed election by a margin as small as 25 votes! Your vote really matters for your ahupua'a.
Elected officials make the political decisions that help - or hurt - the things we all love about Hawaii nei. That's why it is important for you to get out and vote. Now is the time to make a difference for the immediate future of Hawaii.
Look for candidates who promise to:
Protect taro: improve state enforcement of taro farmer's constitutional water rights, protect against genetic modification and patents on taro, fund invasive species prevention efforts, and support traditional organic food farmers and community food security,
Perpetuate our unique culture: protect cultural access rights mauka to makai, prevent private gates across public beach access ways, and address the abuse and misuse of enforcement powers by state agencies.
Uphold our environmental protections: strengthen - not weaken - Hawaii's Environmental Impact Statement requirements and protections for unique conservation districts like Mauna Kea and Haleakala,
Safeguard the public's health: advocate for environmental justice, clean up toxic contamination sites around communities and investigate threats from depleted uranium to Hawaii's people.
And, it's so easy
Register to vote and find out where to go: www.hawaii.gov/elections
Hawaii Island is leading the pack with the greatest increase in voter registration of all the counties this year.
DEADLINE TO REGISTER FOR THE GENERAL ELECTION IS OCTOBER 6! (Deadline to register for the Primary has passed.)
Got questions? Don't be intimidated. Contact us and we'll help you learn more about these important issues and how to get involved.
2. Leeward Coast Works Together for Eco Justice
Mahalo to the residents of the Leeward Coast of Oahu, from Nanakuli to Makua, for your dedication and hard work to confront the long-standing misuse of the land and sea of the Leeward Coast by landfills, industry, and the military's training & waste dumping. Together, we are officially forming the Working Group on Environmental Justice for the West Oahu communities. Our goal is to educate ourselves and our neighbors about the toxic contamination problems that plague the community and develop solutions to address the unfair and extreme effects on the health of Leeward residents. Our next meeting is Friday, September 26th, 5:30 pm at the Leeward Community College-Waianae Campus. Let us know if you can come.
3. Taro Security and Purity Task Force - ACT 211
TARO FARMER APPLICATION DEADLINE SEPT. 15th.
The importance of taro in Hawaiian culture is beyond measure. Its contribution to health, education, family and community economics, the arts, and the visitor industry cannot be overstated. As a food crop alone, taro is a multi-million dollar industry in Hawaii. But ensuring that taro and poi will be around in the future has become increasingly difficult. The lack of water, access to taro-growing lands, and crop diversity; the apple snail, taro diseases; a shortage of taro farmers; and competition from taro imports are serious threats to the future of taro in Hawaii. The State recognizes the importance of taro, officially designating taro as the State Plant in 2008 (Act 71) and passing the Taro Security and Purity Task Force (Act 211).
The Taro Task Force represents the first time that guidance on taro and the problems farmers are facing will come from the real experts - farmers - and from the taro itself, as odd as that may sound to many. It is precisely this guidance that has been missing from the table for decades.
The Task Force is NOT an "anti-gmo advisory group". Its task is to find, prioritize and support non-gmo alternatives to taro farmers' issues in Hawaii. A working definition of "taro purity" and "taro security" is necessary to guide Task Force decisions over the next two years.
It is also NOT an Hawaiian-only task force. Taro farmers in Hawaii are Hawaiian, Japanese, Chinese, Filipino, Portuguese, and Caucasian. Collectively we want taro, the lifestyle of taro farming and the value of taro in our communities to thrive.
So, who is this Task Force for? It is for the taro itself; for the survival of a lifestyle that is fast disappearing in these islands; and for the economic survival of all taro patches, big and small.
For those interested in being involved in the Task Force, farmers should have:
A minimum of three years as a taro farmer.
Be currently growing taro on the island you wish to represent.
A commitment to attend all Task Force meetings for a minimum of one year; the life of the Task Force is two years.
A commitment to communicate with all taro growers on your island; not just those in your own network. The success of the Task Force depends on this.
A broad group of taro representatives are sought that include commercial, sustenance, cultural and educational growers.For many taro farmers & consumers, this may be the first time that you have heard of the Taro Security and Purity Task Force. Click here to learn more about this issue, including the origins of the Task Force, what and who it is (and is not), and its goals.
Mahalo pumehana to Taro Farmers across the state who have spent so much time off the farm and in meetings to coordinate and advance this effort. We deeply appreciate the inspiring commitment you have made to Malama Haloa. IMUA!
4. Protect the Sacred Summit of Mauna Kea
Mahalo to everyone who joined in on KAHEA's awa circle with Kealoha Pisciotta in July. Kealoha is the president of Mauna Kea Anaina Hou, one of the leaders in the struggle to protect the sacred summit of Mauna Kea from the destruction caused by telescopes. We learned about the history of this longstanding struggle and a new, absurd proposal to build a massive telescope - larger than all the current telescopes on the summit combined - on the last pristine plateau of Mauna Kea. This new proposed telescoped - called the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) - would be larger than the summit itself.
Mauna Kea is both ecologically unique and culturally sacred. We know that telescope operation and construction have already caused significant harm, and that the University of Hawaii's Institute for Astronomy (IFA) has not done the job of protecting the natural and cultural resources of the summit over the last 30 years of telescope development.
In 1998, the Hawai'i State Auditor issued a report criticizing the IFA's and BLNR's mismanagement of Mauna Kea. The Auditor found that the IFA's focus on telescope construction was "at the expense of neglecting the site's natural resources." Among the effects of the construction were: the damage or destruction of historic sites and Hawaiian family shrines; the destruction of the Wekiu Bug's habitat; trash and construction debris left on the summit; and abandoned facilities and equipment.
The first-ever federal environmental review of telescopes on Mauna Kea was ordered by a federal court and conducted by NASA in 2005. The EIS concluded that 30 years of astronomy development had resulted in "substantial, adverse and significant" impacts to the cultural and natural resources of Mauna Kea. Such impacts violate Hawaii's laws protecting conservation district.
The IFA also pays only $1 a year to use (and destroy) Hawaii's sacred summit. This is a violation of state law and the terms of IFA's lease, which require fair market value be charged for the use of ceded lands.
The community has been offered $1.85 million towards Native Hawaiian causes for many past attempts to build telescopes on the summit, a gesture that Native Hawaiians noted did not address the actual desecration of the mountain.
The IFA has continually ignored the call of hundreds of Hawaiian citizens to halt further exploitation and development of Mauna Kea's summit, and to assess cumulative damage to cultural and environmental resources before proceeding with future development.
The IFA also recently pulled out of its appeal, thus the state court ruling that requires the Department of Land and Natural Resources to complete a comprehensive management plan prior to allowing any further development on the sacred sacred remains the law of the land.
Why then is IFA and its consulting firm, Kuiwalu, now using tax money to fund a survey of Hawaii residents? These issues concern longstanding legal requirements, not public opinion. The IFA survey did not ask questions relevant to establishing proper management of the sacred summit, and it only interviewed 600 people, most of whom do not live on Hawaii Island. Besides, the TMT-funders themselves already conducted a survey that concluded the TMT should not be built on Mauna Kea. This new IFA survey should not misuse public opinion in an attempt to circumvent the law.
If you are interested in learning more about the effort to protect the sacred summit of Mauna Kea, look for announcements on future awa circles around the islands this Fall! Mahalo to everyone who came out to our last awa circle. It was an amazing evening. Mahalo a nui loa to Kealoha for speaking so passionately, Kamu Enos & Kanoa Nelson for awa protocol, Jonathan Yee for Hawaiian awa, a
nd Moana Meyer for hosting us at StudioBe.
5. Hawaii County Council Searches for Answers about Depleted Uranium
Depleted Uranium (DU) is a radioactive component of some military weapons and is found in areas where military activities have used those weapons in the past, or continue to use such weapons presently. The primary concern is that inhaling or ingesting dust contaminated with DU could contribute to severe health problems, such as cancer and birth defects. Many military training activities, particularly live fire & bombing, cause dust to spread around the areas where they are training. Downwind communities are at risk if there are DU particles in that dust.
In early July, the Hawaii County council approved (in an 8 to 1 vote) a resolution from Puna Councilwoman Emily Naeole that requests the U.S. Army to halt B-2 bombing missions and live firing exercises until it is determined whether depleted uranium is present at the Pohakuloa Training Area.
Mahalo to friends/activists on the Big Island! Ho'omaika'i ia! And thanks to everyone who submitted testimony and responded to action alerts-the resolution on depleted uranium passed without any bad amendments- you helped make it happen!
The County Council also voted to place Dr. Lorrin Pang as its representative to an Army citizen monitoring committee. Dr. Pang (M.D., M.P.H.) is retired from the Army Medical Corps and has served as a consultant to the World Health Organization (WHO) since 1985.
6. Northwestern Hawaiian Islands Management Plan Gets Overhaul
You spoke and the Monument Trustees heard!! Right now, staff for the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument are "significantly" changing (and hopefully improving) the management plan in-progress for this important Hawaiian place. The first draft of the management plan failed to provide adequate protections for the NWHI, including expanded tourism and extractive research activities, no limitations on military exercises in the Monument and no public advisory council. But thanks to your involvement, the people of Hawaii continued their longstanding call for the strongest possible protections in the NWHI. Mahalo for taking the time to submit your personalized comments in July. The final version of the plan is expected to be released in December. Stay tuned - we'll let you know as soon as we know what is actually in the final version. Click here to read the comments submitted by the NWHI hui, which details the harm of expanded extractive research and tourism activities, as well as the serious threat posed by increased military exercises.
Mahalo to all who give! These e-newsletters, as well as all the work we do at KAHEA, is possible only through the support of individuals like you! We are committed to raising our money taroroots-style. In the spirit of keeping it real, we do not solicit or accept any corporate or federal money. This makes your support all the more important!
You can support KAHEA's work by making a contribution online or by mail to 1149 Bethel St, #415, Honolulu, HI 96813. MAHALO PIHA!
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