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LETTERS for April 28 issue

April 28, 2016
Lahaina News

A history lesson on Wailele Ridge

I wanted to give a history lesson to prospective buyers of the Wailele Ridge complex that is preparing to build soon here in Napili.

In the 1990s, the Napili Action Group (NAG) fought hard to stop an industrial center that was to be built on the old Rainbow Ranch land... same as where the Wailele Ridge condos are going in.

Article Photos

NAG fought hard to try and stop the rezoning from agriculture, but in the end lost and the land was rezoned as M-1 zoning. Fortunately, the developers of the industrial center could not afford to build after our intervention.

During our fight, NAG had suggested that instead of an industrial park, why not build more low-income homes for the local people, like the Napilihau community.

Maui Land & Pineapple Company told us that because of the many, many years of storing strong chemicals at that baseyard, it was not suitable for that purpose, and that people should not be living on that polluted land.

Since then, we now have an expensive private school above the baseyard, and now they want to build expensive condos on the very site that MLP told us was hazardous!

SU CAMPOS, Napili

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Rotary recycling program deserves 2017 funding

Every month since July 2015, an average of 150 West Maui residents have delivered recyclable materials to the four-hour Third Saturday Recycling Events held at Lahaina Cannery Mall. That is one drop-off every 96 seconds. Often, there is a line of vehicles at the registration point.

Nine months into the project, the results are remarkable. Over 55,000 pounds of scrap metal, 499 major appliances (including refrigerators, stoves, washers and dryers) and 1,271 electronic devices have been collected and recycled. Nearly 200 vehicle tires, over 3,300 household and vehicle batteries and more than 19,450 pounds of glass, plastic, aluminum, paper and cardboard will not end up in the county landfill, or as many have seen, left on the county's backroads.

Last year County Councilwoman Elle Cochran and Council Chair Mike White recommended adding funds to the county budget to enable this monthly recycling program. The approved county funds were directed to Malama Maui Nui, a nonprofit organization, to pay the costs of hauling recycling bins to and from the Cannery Mall. The Rotary Club of Lahaina Sunset became a co-sponsor to develop and fund the marketing program and to provide volunteers for the events.

The Third Saturday Recycling program is an excellent example of a partnership to meet community needs. In addition to the previously mentioned partners, we've had the important support of 5A Rent-A-Space, the other West Maui Rotary Clubs and Lahaina Cannery Mall.

To continue the Third Saturday Recycling program next budget year, Malama Maui Nui has requested county funds under its Keep Maui Beautiful Program. The Rotary Club of Lahaina Sunset urges community members to contact the council and voice their support for this request. Third Saturday Recycling is making a difference in West Maui. Let's make sure it continues to do so in 2017.

SANDY SCHNEIDER, President, Rotary Club of Lahaina Sunset

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Eating sustainably

With the 47th annual observance of Earth Day, this is a great time to explore more effective ways of slowing climate change and conserving Earth's natural resources for future generations.

A 2010 U.N. report charged animal agriculture with 19 percent of man-made greenhouse gases - more than all transport - and recommended a global shift to a vegan diet. A subsequent World Watch study placed that contribution closer to 50 percent.

Meat and dairy production also dumps more water pollutants than all other human activities combined. It is the driving force in global deforestation and wildlife habitat destruction.

Last fall, England's prestigious Chatham House declared that reducing meat consumption is critical to achieving global climate goals. A report from Oxford University found that global adoption of a vegan diet would reduce greenhouse emissions by two-thirds. The 2015 U.S. Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee has recommended reduced meat consumption and an environmentally sustainable diet.

Just as we replace fossil fuels by wind, solar and other sustainable energy sources, we must replace animal foods with the more sustainable vegetables, fruits and grains. Being mindful of this can help us make better choices at the supermarket.

LESTER NAITO, Lahaina

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Commit to the Great Turning

Viewing the destruction of the planet and our natural systems as a form of violence, Campaign Nonviolence - a long-term movement to build a culture of nonviolence - engages people across the country in working toward sustainability, renewable energy, reducing meat consumption, supporting local food and many other practices of living nonviolently on this beautiful Earth.

As we commemorated Earth Day on April 22, we are called upon to recommit to protecting our planet to ensure that the human species and our fellow beings will have a long-term future.

Founded in 1970, Earth Day is an internationally celebrated day honoring the natural systems of the planet and a day of action in support of climate protection. The commemoration was first proposed by two different people: peace activist John McConnell, who created the iconic Earth Flag, and Sen. Gaylord Nelson.

In an era of climate crisis, Earth Day reminds us of the urgency and importance of transforming our way of life... today! One resource for this is to reimagine these times as an epochal period of great change, one that many people are calling the Great Turning.

The Great Turning is a phrase popularized by teachers and writers Joanna Macy and David Korten that describes our current time period as a massive shift from the industrial growth society to a life-sustaining civilization. We may not make this transition in time to prevent catastrophic climate change... but billions of people around the globe are engaged in the three types of actions that support the Great Turning.

These three types of actions are:

Holding actions to slow the destruction of human-based systems on the Earth and other beings. These activities include all the political, legislative and legal work required to reduce the destruction, as well as direct actions - blockades, boycotts, civil disobedience and other forms of noncooperation and nonviolent intervention.

These are important to stop the worst of the destruction, but they are not enough on their own; they must be supported by...

Creating new systems that support a life-affirming society, including local agriculture, reducing meat consumption, switching to renewable energy, creating mass transit systems, watershed protection and restoration, cooperative housing and eco-villages.

And, to support the movement toward these visionary goals, it is also necessary to engage in...

Shifting beliefs away from old concepts of domination, separateness, greed and destruction. We must move toward new understandings of interconnection, general and living systems theory, deep ecology, cooperation and collaboration.

The three dimensions of the Great Turning are equally vital. Look around your community and notice how many people are engaged in one or several aspects of this work! Question your own participation - how do you contribute? What more could you engage in? What excites and intrigues you? For the Great Turning to be successful, we need all hands on deck! How will you be a part of this historic moment?

RIVERA SUN, PeaceVoice

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What the First Amendment means to political campaigns

The inflammatory rhetoric, protests and disruption of political rallies in this election year have raised questions about how the First Amendment protections of free speech and assembly fit into the process. The short answer is that the First Amendment has little to do with controlling the rough-and-tumble world of politics. The First Amendment begins with the words, "Congress shall make no law... " Thus, as long as the government is not restricting political speech, the arena is left to the control of sociocultural forces.

There is a difference between the constitutional rights of the First Amendment, which keeps the government from shutting people up, and the concept of free speech in a society. That concept hinges on a societal respect for free expression. Sadly, respect for the free flow of ideas is lacking in many venues today, including political campaigns, college campuses, social media and so on. Ideologues and demagogues seek to shut up other people by turning up the volume, savage insults and even physical disruption. Indeed, there are few free speech absolutists who are content to let everybody have their say.

When GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump canceled his Chicago rally, his First Amendment rights weren't violated, as he and some of his supporters claimed. The concept of free speech, however, was turned on its ear.

Even though he didn't deliver his message in the planned venue on that night, it wasn't the government that prevented Trump from speaking. His message was delivered instead to an even wider audience that night, as he did live interviews on all three cable news channels. And he held other rallies on subsequent days. Thus, he wasn't silenced.

People who are removed from political rallies for trying to shout down a candidate are also not having their First Amendment rights violated, as some claim. A political rally is not sponsored by the government, but rather by the party or candidates involved. In that sense, the organizers control the podium. Interrupters have been removed from Trump rallies, as is well known, but other protesters have been removed from Hillary Clinton events as well. Last fall, Black Lives Matter activists were removed from a Clinton rally. Recently, a Marine was removed from a Bill Clinton speech after the Marine demanded the former president talk about Hillary's responsibility in the Benghazi terrorist attack.

Another misconception is that protesters can create any disruption and cloak their actions in free speech or free assembly. This is where the distinction between expression and action comes into play. Yale Law School theorist Thomas Emerson wrote a half-century ago that communication of ideas must be freely allowed, but that disruptive actions can and should be controlled by state and federal law to maintain order and provide for public safety. Demonstrators who block access to buildings, shove political opponents or stop traffic are not free speech crusaders, but rather enemies of free expression.

It is little wonder that Americans today struggle with how the First Amendment works in our society. The constitutional framers themselves had considerable uncertainty about what a First Amendment would mean. In fact, the notion was so controversial that it wasn't included in the original Constitution that was sent out for ratification. It is worth noting that it is an amendment. It is also worth noting that the First Amendment became first only by accident. It was third in a list of 12 constitutional amendments and was only bumped up to first after the first two on the list failed to be ratified.

Famous patriot Patrick Henry opposed the creation of the First Amendment. Even the so-called "Father of the Constitution," James Madison, originally questioned the need for such an amendment before relenting. The First Amendment was created only to keep the government from restraining the voices of its citizens. Messages that are restricted or oppressed through societal pressure amounts to community censorship, for which the government should have no interest.

Civilized societies thrive when mutual interdependence allows citizens to debate freely and fairly. Societies that can't recognize the basic human dignity that comes with free expression degenerate into chaos and oppression. The First Amendment, lofty as it is, can't force our society into enlightenment. Backward societies, as history shows, silence speech, shout opponents down and create physical disruptions to stifle rational dialogue. The 2016 election year is testing whether America can support a free speech principle. Early returns are not encouraging.

JEFFREY M. McCALL, Professor of Communication, DePauw University

 
 

 

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