I love reading the contributors to the Forum. Good or bad writing, good or bad opinions or taste, so many words on a page start one thinking.
Margaret Mead said, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”
Hopefully we agree our precious island and most of us living on it are at the bottom of the heap — talk about a small group — but we’re also many thoughtful and committed citizens who long to change the world.
We seem to have more than our share of One Percenters, some of whom even live here. Some of whom seem to care about the island but way too many don’t seem to give a tinker’s dam.
I’d love to see more guys like Ted Turner on our endangered paradise. Do you know he’s the largest landowner in America? He owns 1.7 million acres and claims he owns them to protect the environment, make money, and promote the preservation of native species. He raises buffalo.
Mr. Turner, are you there? We have no buffalo, but maybe us local guys — and all living things on Kauai — are endangered?
I think we could make a case, and so, on this page at this time, I invite you to visit. I think you’d like us, even our crowing roosters, feral cats, barking dogs and parakeets.
Happily, it appears, we have at least one other like you: Mark Zukerberg and his adorable family. Mark owns 700 acres on Kauai — not quite in Ted Turner’s league — but a few more acres than most of us own.
Mark said, I’ll paraphrase, “Remember, I’m protecting 700 acres from development.”
I liked that.
His wall? It’s far too Trumpish. Forgive him. Nobody’s perfect.
All who feed on greed and love money and profit above all else — envisioning dollar signs dancing on every square foot of land you own or broker — may now close your eyes. You won’t like the rest of the column anyway and while it’s true we must insist on freedom of the press we have no right to insist everyone read what we write or like it.
But Mark, you seem a decent fellow. A high-ranking philanthropist with a care about health and education.
You said, and I quote, “I’m here to build for the long-term. Anything else is a distraction.”
You also said, “Helping people connect is amazing, humbling and by far the thing I am most proud of in my life.”
Now comes the time in this saga when milk factory promoters and those who don’t like dairies of any design start running off screaming and yelling and tearing their hair because I propose that all readers read on. Please. Find on your computer Sweet Meadows Farms. Punch in the words, take a look around.
These are sweet-smelling show case dairies, producing real milk and milk products — cheese, butter, cream — and it’s important that everyone know that producing these healthy foods, which are most nutritious — especially for kids — is happening. We don’t have to reinvent the wheel.
So, Mark, I suggest you build a 100-acre Garden of Eden around your residence and commit the rest of the land to 400 Jersey cows. Happy, healthy bovine that live long, productive lives — they can live 14 years — and love every minute of it.
Build them a high-tech barn, with a milk parlor, find them the best real dairy farmers to manage it — I’ll bet these farmer families would be happy to come to Kauai and help you out — and invite the world to come and see what you’ve created. It would be a long-term effort, here to stay, no distraction.
I’m not writing fiction or making it up; such farms exist. And, for those who mourn for the babies, think: Mark, who knows how to do things right, would, of course, be dealing with registered animals. Their young have a dollar value, they can be sold, even the baby bulls.
A response to those who weep at the separation of mama and baby: kittens are separated from their mamas, puppies are separated from their mamas, colts are separated from their mamas. I once had a mama cat — they’re called queens — who could hardly wait for her babies to find a new home. Nursing a batch of hungry furballs was not her style or favorite pastime, but I digress.
It’s true some of the calves would have to be sacrificed, but their death could be pleasant and organic — calf liver is about the most nutritious food a human can eat. It’s good for what ails you and Americans seem to ail a lot.
Then, from the window of your humble abode, Mark, on those glorious 100 acres, you could view a vast green meadow of happy cows doing what happy cows do: munch on sweet meadows, anxious to stroll back to the milk parlor to show off and pay their room and board.
Therefore, from the bottom of the heap, I’d like to get the ball rolling. I’ll donate half my land, for as long as I live, to a beekeeper, or beekeepers, who know how to keep bees. Who can create a showcase bee community. I love bees and bees love me — and my land — which says good things about the quality of air we breathe. Quality air is good.
All I’d ask is a jar of honey once in a while. I’d even build a stand from which you could sell what’s produced.
My land’s going fallow, earning no money, as is yours, Mark. Fallow land is not good. Think about happy bees and happy cows producing healthy local food with every step and flight they take. Milk and honey for your kids and ours. Make it work as did the Kunoa Kauai-grown beef ranchers.
I’ll share a jar of honey.
Apiculturists, please call me.
Bettejo Dux is a resident of Kalaheo and author of “The Scam: A Madcap Romp through North Shore Kauai.”