Last year, I overheard one of the Mauna Kea Protectors retelling the tale of her conversation with one of the then heads of the Division of Land and Natural Resources, one of the the primary state agencies charged with the responsibility – and failing – to protect the summit of Mauna Kea from industrial development.
She calmly explained — not only was the entire summit area designated a special Conservation Zone by state environmental law to protect the rare and fragile ecosystem — tropical tundra! — from habitat destruction, it was also a Sacred Summit, a place so holy and profound that to alter or disturb it in any way — yes, including an eighteen story sky-scraper too tall to build in downtown Hilo with dumpsters and parking lot on a five acre facility — is an unthinkable and despicable act of cultural desecration.
In an obvious state of agitation and frustration, he responded “You say this place is sacred, so you canʻt build here. And that place is sacred, so you canʻt build there. The problem with you people — every place is sacred!”
Slowly, a delicious smile lit up her face, as his light-bulb flickered into understanding: “Yes! Now you getting it!”
Finally, we are all beginning to get it.
Manawa Malama Honua, means time to care for, nourish and protect this planet, our home world. Mauna Kea Time reminds us that every place is indeed sacred, that we should summon our inner mountain, and rouse ourselves into action and alliance to protect that which upon all life depends. Now. Everywhere.
Since Honua has protected and nourished life for billions of years, fostered and shaped us into being, it seems only fair to return the favor. Perhaps, even a profoundly wise course of action. For without her, we literally are lost in space.