Kaho'olawe became the crystallization of things going bad for an island, and the dream that we can make positive change based on aloha for our aina. Hawaiians took leadership and followed their values and traditional knowledge of their kupuna to save an island that was condemned to death in the name of national defense.
Today, we find ourselves overcrowded, in traffic gridlock, unsustainable jobs, leaving our homes in the dark for work and arriving home in the dark. We question our quality of life, our food and energy security and our government, which is full of lawyers being led around by international corporations. Our streams are toxic, our coastlines devoid of fish, our forest the endangered species capital of the world and our farmlands covered with houses. The people have lost trust.
I believe that Hawaiians can and must stand to provide leadership in helping to resolve many of our problems in Hawaii. Our knowledge of how to survive on little dots of land in the middle of the vast Pacific for over a thousand years can provide a better future for all of us.
Just as Hawaiians brought people together to save Kaho'olawe, the Office of Hawaiian Affairs needs to provide the Hawaiian leadership, values and knowledge to ensure a sustainable future for Hawaii. This story is being played out not only here but in many other places in the world. OHA can and should be a beacon for a sustainable future for all of us.