When projects affect everyone

I’m responding to Dr. Zelkovsky’s guest commentary that appeared in The Garden Island on March 6 regarding bringing a dairy farm to Kauai. I am a long-time resident in the Poipu area of Kauai and attended one of two presentations held on Kauai by the smooth-talking representatives of Mr. Pierre Omidyar. In our presentation held at the Koloa Community Center on Thursday, Feb. 27, we were given all the same information that was presented at Kauai Community College earlier that day.

When we were told that the prevailing winds in the area of where the dairy will be came from the north and would carry the “mostly non-existent smells” out to sea, there was a collective groan in the room.

We all live in this area so, we know, as Dr. Zelkovsky pointed out in his commentary, that the prevailing wind comes from the east-northeast, blowing smells toward Mahaulepu Beach, the Hyatt and the neighborhoods we all live in. When we asked about having an EIS done, we were told that they were exempt because of the nature of the business — another collective groan. When they told us that they would be bringing in Kikuya grass and a type of wasp, both invasive species, we were, once again, told that they were exempt — another collective groan.

In fact, when we questioned bringing in an invasive grass, we were told that it is considered invasive on the Mainland but not here. How can that be?  It’s not natural to Kauai. It’s being brought in from somewhere else.

We are in an era of overuse, overextension, overrun, overpopulated and overpolluted in our world. When are we going to learn lessons from mistakes that have been made in the past elsewhere? Why do we keep forging ahead, pretending that our mistakes will not affect us down the road? Kauai is one of the most beautiful islands and, because of that, many people come to experience its natural beauty, slow pace and lack of “over civilization.” But part of keeping Kauai pristine is not bringing in industries that will affect everything that makes Kauai desirable. Who will want to come when we’ve polluted the rivers, land and ocean so much that those species we delight in will disappear? Why are we, the people of Kauai, never asked what our thoughts or ideas of progressive plans for our home should be?

We are always presented with projects that have already begun and been invested in, thus taking away our input and ability to participate in bringing industries that will benefit us, our visitors and our environment. The preservation of our land and environment is at stake here, and yet they’re being sold to the highest bidder. What can be done to change the direction of this endeavor? Find another location for a dairy? Find another use for that pristine land near Mahaulepu Beach and the Hyatt? I am writing this in great sadness because I love Kauai for its clean environment and beauty.

• Charlotte. K. Beall is a Poipu resident.

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