I didn't mention this before because I'd sound like an anarchist on top of everything else. But the people who operate and maintain those geothermal plants – and ALL our power plants – LIVE HERE. If the plants are being operated unsafely, or are inherently dangerous as built, it's not their choice. It's the choice of someone who lives thousands of miles away. It's a money thing.
When, (not “IF”) the economy tanks, no one will be able to cough up a billion dollars a year to keep the coal and diesel plants fueled. I know this is a difficult concept to understand because people have to actually THINK to grasp the idea, but when that happens, the grid is going down. As soon as there is no more profit, the owners of the geothermal plants will simply walk away. But the people who BUILT those plants and MAINTAIN them LIVE HERE and will be more than happy to keep them running. They'd rather work for themselves and be invested than work for some international corporation which doesn't give a shit.
They would suddenly have a reason to stop short-cutting safety for profit. Because the simple fact is that geothermal CAN be built as safely as anything else – nothing is 100% safe – and more people get killed picking opihi than from geothermal, but that's another story. The point is that if the owners simply abandoned the plant(s), and the citizens could claim them as a public co-op we might have a reason for everyone to get together instead of fighting over everything. And I'll tell you that a bunch of the people up the chain of command are thinking that same thing. In fact, there is a plan. No one will tell you this, but the plan is to warehouse 20 years' of spare parts so the plants can be run for at least twenty years at no additional cost without almost anything from the outside – until we can engineer and develop our own spares or improve our own technology.
Let me speak to the Pele issue one more time. Pele is OUR goddess. Mine, too. I live here. She doesn't hate us or we'd be toast right now. She is providing the energy we need to be self-sufficient, and ignoring her gift is more insulting to the Hawaiian tradition than working WITH her. If the new plante – which ARE going to be built – were dedicated to Pele's gift instead of dedicated to dishonoring her, would that make her happy, or angry? Now this isn't logic. But if it were, it would be good logic. Would you, as a goddess, rather be thought of kindly whenever someone cooked a mean, or would you rather be honored by people tossing empty gin bottles into your home?
Maybe I'm not a kupuna through heritage. But maybe you don't know what the word means. Maybe I am hanaied for a reason. What I am doing is exactly the role kupunas are supposed to take. Throughout Hawai‘i, this Hawaiian word is widely understood to mean elder, grandparent or an older person. What is less recognized is the fact that the word has at least three distinct but related meanings. First, a kupuna is an honored elder who has acquired enough life experience to become a family and community leader. The term has been stated to be the embodiment of natural respect… a practitioner of aloha (love), pono (righteousness), malama (caring), and spirituality. In ancient times, they were teachers and caretakers of grandchildren and that bond was especially strong. Even today, the kupuna is expected to speak out and help make decisions on important issues for both the family and the community. Not just in Hawaii. All over the world.
Kupuna also means ancestor and includes the many generations before us who by their spiritual wisdom and presence guide us through personal, familial or community difficulties. We look to our kupuna to help us find and fulfill our pathways through life. Included among our kupuna are the family guardian spirits or ‘aumakua who take physical shape, in the form of a honu (turtle) or a pueo (owl) and come to visit, warn and communicate with us. Sharks are the 'amakua of my hanai family. But I can sit in the jungle and birds will land on me and talk to me. Centipedes crawl on me but won't sting me. I am home here, and you cannot take it away by saying 'f**king haole'. You are hapa something, yourself.
Finally, kupuna means the source, the starting point or the process of growth. This meaning is related to the notion that that our direct forebears and those of the distant past remain living treasures who continue to help us grow in numerous ways. They are a source of experience, knowledge, guidance, strength and inspiration to the next generations.
If I didn't speak out when it is necessary to speak out – or if I preached hate instead of aloha, pono and malama – you would learn to hate. And a lot of people who claim to be Hawaiian teach hate. They don't speak for the spirit of Hawaii.
You can teach hate, but you cannot teach aloha. You have it or you don't. If you are a hater, you don't. If I could take that hate out of your mind, I would – because it is a festering sore that won't heal. And that's you. Not me.
Think to the future – not to the past. Make the future ours.