Thursday, July 23, 2009

Examining Some Native Hawaiians’ Energy Views

With the weekend at hand, it’s time to look ahead to one of the more intriguing energy-related issues Hawaii will face in the years ahead: To what extent are representatives of the host Native Hawaiian culture supportive or opposed to renewable energy development?

The seriousness of this issue dare not be overlooked. Perhaps more than ever since the Hawaiian monarchy was overthrown in 1893, Native Hawaiians are demanding and receiving respect for their views and aspirations.

A self-determination movement is gaining strength, and spokespersons from within the Native Hawaiian community are asserting positions on land management issues that the rest of the population is well advised to note.

The Next Energy Futures Show

Dr. Davianna McGregor, professor and founder member of the University of Hawaii Ethnic Studies Department, will be a guest on Hawaii Public Radio’s Energy Futures program on Monday. As recorded in an earlier post here at Energy Options, Dr. McGregor and some of her associates who observe Native Hawaiian religion and cultural practices are not enthusiastic about the renewable energy potential of the islands.

Joining her with be Ramsay Taum, director of External Relations and Community Partnerships within UH’s School of Travel Industry Management. We’ll examine their presumably disparate views on Hawaii’s energy issues and options and invite you to listen no matter where you reside. The show is streamed on the Internet at 5 pm HST (11 pm EDT) and heard locally on KIPO-FM (89.3).


prh said...

Niihau, the most "Hawaiian" of the islands, uses solar power for the school and is considering production of biofuel and wind energy. The view of these island residents regarding renewable energy might be valuable in this discussion.

prh said...

Another point for consideration are the casualities incurred by the military to keep the oil flowing to our oil addicted society. Hawaiian people are being killed and maimed in defense of the energy status quo. Hawaii could become the first state to be have 100% of its electrical and transportation fuel needs supplied by renewable energy. Hawaii could set an example for the rest of the nation and the world by aggressively implementing renewable sources of energy, creating non-exportable green jobs for local residents and preserving a healthy environment.

Doug Carlson said...

prh's comments find complete agreement here. The question is which renewable technologies can be developed without abusing the legitimate religious beliefs of some members of the Native Hawaiian community. Geothermal energy seemingly would hit a stone wall -- again, as it did in the early 1990s. We still like ocean thermal energy conversion's potential to provide baseload power while taking care to avoid environmental damage.