Letters for Wednesday, September 17, 2008

• My trash nightmare

• Energy no-brainer

• Can’t respect cockfighting

My trash nightmare

I am having a recurring nightmare: I wake up in a cold sweat, early in the morning, and hear a rumbling on the street outside. I run outside frantically only to watch the garbage truck pull away without picking up my trashcan. I look over and panic, wondering what I am going to do with this full can of garbage and nowhere to put it?

Sadly, this scenario may play itself out in January of next year, when our landfill, stuffed to the brim with Christmas and New Year’s trash, reaches maximum capacity. Imagine a world where there is nowhere to put your trash.

We are in a crisis and I want to know when and how the people in charge of this county are going to take some drastic action to avert such a disaster. If a doctor told you that your heart would explode in four months unless you had an operation to relieve pressure in a blocked blood vessel, wouldn’t you do everything you could to save your life?

Hundreds of cities and counties have come up with environmentally friendly, cost-effective solutions to this exact same problem. What are we doing now to divert waste from the existing landfill and find an appropriate place for a new one? The people of Kaua‘i must come together as an island to produce less trash in the first place through reducing, reusing, and recycling, and develop solutions other than the pipe dream of burning all our waste to create energy (a process that is much more complicated than some of the council and mayoral candidates seem to realize — a simple google search is enough to educate the average person on its pluses and minuses).

Zero Waste Kaua‘i seems to be the only group on this island that is actually doing anything to reduce our waste and they’re all working for free. What are the paid officials responsible for managing our county doing so that when I wake up the first week of 2009, I won’t have to worry about my garbage truck not picking up my trash?

April Capil


Energy no-brainer

Thomas Edison was right about solar as the energy source and Albert Einstein gave us the way with photovoltaics. But over 100 years later, getting there is still the problem.

I have two modest suggestions for Kaua‘i:

First: Build a low-cost solar panel manufacturing facility here. Cost seems to be related to efficiency, a big issue for the military, NASA and New Englanders, but isn’t a problem here.

Second: Lease, buy or rent enough old nuclear powered ships to meet our current peak needs (with off-hour production used to desalinate water or extract hydrogen for fuel cells). And the ships could be rigged as visitor attractions/accommodations.

Steve Perry


Can’t respect cockfighting

While traveling the Kaumauli‘i Highway the other day, I fell in behind a dark Suburban that had a black and white sticker on its rear panel that read, in essence, “Cockfighting isn’t illegal. It is part of the Hawaiian culture and heritage. Respect our local customs.”

Let’s examine that:

• “Cockfighting isn’t illegal.” Actually, it is illegal in the state of Hawai‘i. It is a misdemeanor, with a maximum of 1 year in jail and a maximum $2,000 fine. There is also a federal law that makes it a felony to stage cockfights. Additionally, the federal law prohibits buying, selling or transporting animals across state or international borders for the purpose of fighting. And it prohibits the buying, selling or transporting of weapons used in cockfighting.

• “It is part of the Hawaiian culture and heritage.” Filipino immigrants brought cockfighting with them when they came to Hawaii a century ago. There is no evidence to suggest that cockfighting was something the ancient Polynesians, who first settled here, or the indigenous Hawaiians later, practiced. So please don’t tell me this bloodsport is a native Hawaiian custom and part of its culture and heritage.

On a pro-cockfighting Website I read that roosters were not “brutalized” or “forced” to fight — that fights in the wild between roosters occur naturally in the process of establishing a pecking order. True, but they rarely, if ever, kill each other. And the wild roosters certainly don’t wear razor-sharp gaffs on their legs — gaffs meant to rip and tear flesh. Please tell me what is natural, or not brutal, about that?

Jacque Smith, a spokeswoman for the Hawaiian Humane Society said it well, “[Cockfighting] causes extreme suffering and harm to the animals and it desensitizes kids and adults to the value of life.”

Proponents attempt to rationalize cockfighting by saying it has been a part of American culture since colonial times. Well, slavery was a part of American culture since colonial times, too. Would that justify its existence today? I learned from these same proponents that Abraham Lincoln got the nickname “Honest Abe” for his honesty as a cockfight referee. Excuse me? Abraham Lincoln, the Great Emancipator, was a cockfight referee? I hate to rain on your parade, folks, but the “Honest Abe” name was inspired, as nearly every schoolboy and schoolgirl knows, by stories of his honesty as a young man working as a clerk in a small store.

• “Respect our local customs.” Sorry, no can do this time. I find it more than ironic that I am being asked to “respect” the local customs when the locals have so little respect for the animals.

Steven McMacken



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