Every so often, Honeygirl, a Hawaiian monk seal, comes to visit and relax on the shores of Kawela Bay. It’s obvious she finds safety and comfort on these shores, for upon her last visit, she gave birth to her own pup. Whenever she visits, it’s kept a secret, for she is one of many endangered species that call Kawela Bay home. For the people who live there, Honeygirl and her pup are considered part of the community or “Ohana,” which means family in Hawaiian. But, for the people who don’t, Honeygirl is only apparent in photos and stories so that she is not bothered and still considers the bay to be a safe environment for her and her child.
Honeygirl lounging at Kawela Bay
The North Shore is home to many indigenous species of Hawaii, including endangered species. Like the Hawaiian Monk seal, the green sea turtle or “honu,” shares the bay as a safe haven away from harm. Up from the bay, to the mountains of the North side, indigenous birds and plants roam freely and untouched. Also, underneath the surface, lay ancient Hawaiian burial grounds or “iwi.” What will happen to the land and these species once construction begins?
Milica Barjaktarovic, and other North Shore residents, say “the North Shore is already becoming more and more polluted as it is” (For more resident opinions http://www.defendoahucoalition.org/letter.php). What will happen when construction starts and even more waste is produced and pushed onto the pristine beaches and mountainsides? What will you tell the community Drew Stotesbury, when your tractors start to dig up the remnants of our ancestors?
I know it’s harsh to say, but am I hitting home at all here? It’s easy to throw around facts and figures all day that deem this development a bad idea. But, in the end, it also matters how you make people feel. Though it may not seem as important as the money you feel you will make in this venture, the way communities in Hawaii feel about the environment around them has a huge affect on how they view and support your company. Hawaii is deeply rooted in culture, and what you’re proposing, has a huge affect on that culture.