Mauna Kea standoff time to reflect, respect
The argument in favor of the telescope seems to be: Our data will be better obtained from a Mauna Kea telescope than the other potential locations. This data helps us understand our place in the universe. The Hawaiian people will benefit along with the rest of humanity from what is learned from this location.
I think that is backwards. Maybe humanity could learn about our place here on Earth first. Maybe that is actually more important. America used many tons of depleted uranium in the Iraq war, ruining the land and causing radiation that will be there for generations. This is just one on a large list of similar situations the U.S. has produced which do not respect the Earth or its people.
Maybe we should implement the Hawaiian principles of deep respect for the aina and treating others with aloha. If we tried with real intention to live these principles as a society, would not humanity benefit more tangibly from this than from looking outward?
Maybe this Mauna Kea situation is actually a great time for Western society to reflect on the wisdom of the societies we have displaced. Maybe Mauna Kea is sacred to all humanity and the Hawaiians are our guides to remember to live more in harmony with the Earth and each other.
I believe America is great among nations. I believe that we can learn how to be greater by learning from our history. That means also the history of our presence here in Hawaii. That means what we do with Mauna Kea can define a new, respectful, humble way of conducting ourselves as a nation. Or we could just say “our way is better and more important” again and write another chapter where we failed to conduct ourselves properly and with deep consideration and respect for the larger picture of humanity and our planet.
The choice is ours.
Rick Goding, Des Moines, Iowa