Mainland lifestyle does not and should not apply here

My heart broke when I moved to Maui.

Like a siren, these islands and the aloha spirit enchanted me, as they do so many. The enchantment soon wore off, for me, when I discovered that cultural appropriation and oppression had been cleverly cloaked in a lucrative advertising campaign for economic gain and development. As Joni Mitchell’s song says, we are paving paradise and putting up parking lots. Literally.

What if we, the people, got it wrong? What if this pandemic and all the challenges we face on these islands is a gift? Perhaps a precious gift to redefine what it means to be a resident and a visitor to Hawaii. What if the pandemic is an invitation to collectively change the system? What if this is our chance to reinvent a new way to live in harmony with the land for a sustainable future?

We’ve got a lot of problems on Maui. Environmental, cultural and economic division has only exacerbated how we as a community navigate a global pandemic. We’re now watching our political representatives struggle with this pivotal moment.

The reason we are all here is to thrive with beauty. Maui feels like home to many because it’s the place we feel most alive.

The current moral authority of our community sits upon a cracked foundation with a deceptive advertising campaign bearing down pressures to consume rather than preserve. To heal this community, we need a collective realization that the Mainland lifestyle does not and should not apply to these islands.

Sahara Sun



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