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Find agreement, not discord on Mauna Kea observatory

The Mauna Kea observatory issue reminds me of a proposed hydroelectric dam project I worked on as staff for a wildlife agency in Alaska. A national conservation organization considered it an environmental disaster, but there was tremendous pro-development pressure too.

One day my boss told me, “If you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem.” After calming down, I changed my mind and thought solutions made sense and would be the prudent thing to do.

We should accept the reality that laws/courts cannot solve every problem. At Mauna Kea, I wish that the affected parties would work together to reach an agreement they can live with. Rolling the dice on court rulings has not led to harmony. Instead of butting heads, why not seek solutions? It will mean compromise by all. Instead of declaring support for one side or the other, let us place our support on finding solutions.

I can appreciate that Mauna Kea is not pristine anymore because of various human-induced impacts. Some may want to draw the line with this project. Whether that strategy succeeds or not, the collateral damage would take its toll. On the other hand, when there is consensus to find a solution it offers the opportunity to mitigate for the mountain or even more. Do we want to follow the trends at some cities with incivility, discord and anger, or does Hawaii want to lead with a more mindful style?

Mike Nishimoto

Kahului