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planet Island

Recently back in Hawai'i for the launching of Safe Planet's new art contest with the Department of Education, I was reminded of the model mentality of traditional Island cultures around the planet. 

Spending time on a finite chunk of land (as I did in the 80's for my undergraduate work at UH), is a good education in limited resources and conservation. In ancient times, before the white man's occupation and take-over of the Hawaiian Islands, the culture was completely self-sufficient, practicing sustainable agriculture and aquaculture. Today, the islands would run out of food in 6 days if there was a war, a boycott, or some other political turmoil that would cut off the daily import of mainland goods. 90% of the Island's energy source is shipped in on tankers....this in a climate that has an average of sunshine 276 days of the year. What happened? 

Having lunch with one of my old professors, Dr. Noel Kent of the Ethnic Studies Dept. convinced me that the fledgling movement to seceed from the US, so active in the 80's, would have a difficult time today finding much support, let alone feasability, due to the the contemporary dependency on the global infrastructures. Why are we not more locally based and supportive of what is in our neighborhoods? Why, if I am in Hawaii's rich tropical climate where anything grows, are the mangoes I buy in the market shipped in from Peru? 
Part of the reason Safe Planet is working with youth is to engage them with the possibilities of creating their own realities and awareness of what is around them at home. Plastic Pollution is a big issue in the Islands of the Pacific, where much of the world's trash ends up. It is everywhere on the beaches. One can see refrigerators floating off the coast at an altitude of 30,000 feet, washing in from last year's tsunami. Encouraging students to find new solutions to local problems in the environment can create a wave of future actions, that will hopefully not leave us with the debris of yesterday's excess. "Think global", go local is a great themesong for us all. Because this planet is, after all, just a finite island, floating in a dangerous sea of consumer waste. Less is indeed more, as far as the future goes.
Aloha is love of the land   

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2012-02-18 - 17:07:00  by barbara

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