I fell in love with Maui on the first date and wanted it permanent. More dates proved no infatuation. Being asthmatic caused concern with cane burning, but not overly so after L.A. The last visit was a permanent one. Honeymoon over, I delved a bit deeper to determine what was contained in the smoke and took further precautions to guard my health. My commitment to Maui never wavered.
A self-described haole come lately, I chuckle at the defenders of the cane burning who fall back on the standards: We have been doing it for generations; it provides jobs; it looks pretty; respect the culture; etc. See, I can survive it just fine but, I ask, what about your ohana, especially your keiki?
When I see statistics that almost 20 percent of Hawaii's kids have asthma and, worse, 25 percent for those of Hawaiian ancestry, I ask how people defend that. No, cane smoke is not the only problem for breathing and lung afflictions. There are may others, like vog, which is about impossible to stop, and secondhand smoke and other man-made pollutants, which can be mitigated, just as cane burning can.
Claiming something is OK because it has been done for a long time (human sacrifice, racial discrimination) is ludicrous. Jobs? At what price? Culture? When other places eliminated this practice, new business and modified ones arose. No creative minds on Maui? Please. Think of the children.
Horrendous coal burning at the sugar refinery is another letter.