Letters for Thursday, September 1, 2011

• Why no God • Make your voices heard at seal meetings

Why no God

On Aug. 30, in The Garden Island news, a Christian wrote a letter to the Forum supporting her belief in God, Jesus and the Bible. On the front page of the same issue was a photograph and article of Christians blessing a new missile launching site at the Pacific Missile Range Facility testing base at Mana. This weapon of war has only one use which is to kill and destroy human beings.

The idiocy of this is that both religious dogmatic belief and the support of our military causes immense separation between one’s self and others and leads ultimately to more pain and suffering on this planet.

Because of this I have no use for any religion or organization that causes separation between self, others and the environment.

The purpose of life is to heal and help others and to live in harmony, peacefully and free in one’s body, mind, and speech.

You don’t need a God to accomplish this. Ah-women!

Lama Tashi, Kaua‘i Dharma Center

Make your voices heard at seal meetings

I have attended all the Monk Seal meetings that have taken place here on Kaua‘i, and some which were not organized by NOAA. I take exception to the article about the Programmatic Environmental Impact Study published Aug. 30.

The article misses the point. Yes, the monk seals are endangered, and yes we need to work to preserve them in their own habitat, the Northwest Hawaiian Islands.

The real objective of the PEIS as written is to give NOAA permission to translocate seals from NWHI to the Main Hawaiian Islands. This is a bad idea.

To make this bad idea easier, NOAA has already declared all the waters around all the Hawaiian Islands to be critical habitat for the monk seal, despite evidence that historical monk seal habitat has been the NWHI.

We are talking about thousands of miles of new “critical habitat” from 5 meters onshore to 500 meters depth of water offshore.

In the 1990s, NOAA, without prior permission, translocated seals (12 to 20, the estimates vary) to our islands. These were aggressive males removed from NWHI to the populated MHI. Since NOAA estimates the total number of seals in the MHI at 45-57 individuals, NOAA’s relocation of seals may account for 21 percent to 44 percent of the individuals they are using to define the new critical habitat that they will now use to justify the translocation.

This is bad science and poor management.

Translocation of the monk seals from NWHI to the Main Hawaiian Islands is the issue here.

The PEIS does not adequately look at the environmental impacts of this action on the people of Hawai‘i, their livelihood, or the cultural implications of shutting off beaches and fishing and ocean activities as seal numbers increase.

The PEIS considers the fishing that we do here to feed our families and the use of our ocean resources to be “recreational” and they therefore declare that there will be no impact on Hawaiians for moving seals here. This is not true.

The actual study results on translocation contained in Appendix E of the PEIS says the following (and this is the NOAA scientists speaking):

“Conclusion: The two-stage translocation strategy described and analyzed above is but one tool in a suite of interventions now planned or proposed to promote monk seal conservation. Unfortunately, none of these interventions, whether undertaken singly or in concert, are sufficient to fully compensate for the projected decline of the species. Although we know of no direct precedents for two stage translocation, and there are many unknowns that accompany its implementation, we think that this approach will be indispensable to the overall recovery effort.”

If their own scientists are sure that this is not going to work, and they don’t really know what will happen in doing this, yet they feel it is “indispensable.”

To be “fully recovered” in the MHI, where they have never existed in any large numbers, will take 500 seals, and some 54 years (their own study results). That is sure job security for somebody.

The Monk Seal population declined in the NWHI with the increase of military and other human activity especially in the 1950s to the late 1970s.

After human interaction was lessened, the seals in MWHI increased until they began to decline again in the last decade as NOAA pestered them, as prey decreased and as top-level predators increased, and as habitat disappeared due to sea level rise.

Fishers at the monk seal meetings wisely asked, “Why not remove the pressure from top level predators and restore food to the seals?”

This option has been completely rejected in the PEIS, yet it offers a solution that is much more cost effective, and helps to maintain the seals in their own preferred habitat.

Please attend the monk seal meetings this Friday and Saturday and Sept. 17 and make your voice heard.

Lyn McNutt, Kapa‘a

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