Update on Mauna Kea: Moving ahead in different directions
Given the current state of our world and the perilous fragility of our planet, it is easy to lose hope and as one friend said to me recently, feel like we are living in “the end of days.” My friend is not religious and doesn’t follow the Bible but I think we all know what the term means. And I confess to having those moments and I know that many other folks are having them as well. How do we move forward when so many are entrenched in their own point of view, whether it be about vaccines, climate change, racism or a myriad of other problems that our species can’t seem to get beyond?
As I researched the latest update on the situation on Mauna Kea and found what appears to be a deeper impasse than ever, it occurred to me that if we can find a peaceful solution to this seemingly intractable conflict of science vs religion (although there are other factors as mentioned in previous postings) that everyone can respect and live with, then surely, we can do anything!
On August 7th, the Hawaii News Now reported that 4 of the “kupuna” (guardians ) who had obstructed the access road to Mauna Kea in July of 2019 while protesting construction of the TMT ( Thirty Metre Telescope ) were found not guilty of obstruction. The judge determined that wide load trucks that were on the road had no permits and therefore was no obstruction, a conclusion that was vigorously denied by the State who maintained that the TMT had all the necessary permitting, and they will prove that when the remaining 38 cases come up to trial. In the meantime, although construction is on hold at the moment due to the pandemic, key components of the observatory, like 2 large discs for the scope’s primary mirror, are being constructed at other locations. As far as I can tell, neither side is talking to each other, and I am assuming that the working group that was proposed back in March will not start “working” until construction starts up again.
The article quotes one of the defendants expressing her gratitude at the verdict and defending her actions as being “the right thing to do.”
“The Mauna is sacred and what is happening is horrendous” said Marie Alohalani with obvious conviction.
As a lifelong lover of science, I must confess that it bothered me to hear the construction of the most sophisticated ground telescope in the world that will have the ability bility to reach back in time to the early days of the Universe, as “horrendous”. We can learn so much from this about who we are, where we came from and our place in the Universe. Such a polarizing statement does nothing to promote dialogue and understanding. But as a person also of faith (though it’s been faltering a bit lately) I respect her beliefs as we all should. But please—let’s not stop talking to each other and more importantly —listening to each other.
Stay tuned on this situation—It’s an important one. I will try to keep you up to date as things develop. But as I close —I am reminded of the famous quote from Albert Einstein that I always keep on my desk–right in front of me —so I remember what it is that I am writing about. 😊
“Science without religion is lame. Religion, without science, is blind. “
Would love to hear your thoughts on this J