peat o’neil

Travel * Think * Create

Archive for the ‘Conservation’ Category

After the Lava Sleeps

leave a comment »

lava-magma-volcanic-eruption-glow-73830-e1545088920980.jpeg

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

On December 10, 2018 a group of displaced Puna residents met at Nanawale Community Association longhouse to hear about the future of Highway 132 from representatives of the County of Hawai’i, the government entity for the region.  Approximately 25-30 people attended from the 50 or more households with no road access to their properties surrounded by the lava flow that started in early May, 2018.
Residents were forced to evacuate under pressure of advancing lava by the end of May.  Many lost everything.  While County of Hawai’i Civil Defense monitoring was robust when the volcanic eruption captured worldwide media attention, County action on rebuilding and recovery could now be characterized as listless and sporadic.

 

The county representatives began with a presentation about how they wanted the meeting to proceed. But the group would have none of that and in unison boomed out, “We want to know when will Route 132 be rebuilt! “
Many called out,  “What’s the county doing to work with the geothermal plant contractors already pushing through lava to their facility?” Again and again, people spoke out,  “When will we be able to get to our homes and farms?”
I had arrived early for the meeting and spoke with a representative of the County, learning that one of the goals for the evening was to “get people’s stories about the disaster.” This is part of an effort to reanimate news coverage and tourism after the lava flow that made countless people homeless and consumed acres of productive agricultural land, pastures and public recreational areas.
Individual stories, heartfelt examples of what the disaster has wrought on the community, families, individuals and institutions could be presented to state legislators, the county council or even the U.S. Congress to explain the extent of loss and begin to quantify needs to restore economic viability and human stability.
The greatest need from the perspective of people whose farms and homes were cut off from road access by the lava was repeated often: “We need the public roads repaired and replaced for access to our land and homes!”
The County participated in the talk story meeting with those profoundly disadvantaged by the lava inundation to ask affected residents about how visitors — tourists — could better understand the impact of the lava and show respect for local culture and Hawai’ian traditions of respect. The county is gathering thoughts from school-age youth and local residents to create a Pono ethics code for the Hawaii Tourism Authority to convey to tourism industry stake-holders and their customers.
By communicating to visitors the challenges faced by locals during and after the lava flow, officials anticipate that tourists will have a better understanding of local people’s priorities and possibly reduce potential conflicts due to lava viewing or lava tours for visitors that stray onto local family land. The County of Hawai’i website now provides facts for potential tourists to the island of Hawai’i (aka Big Island).
I was reminded by a Kama’aina friend today that Pono is not an elastic term or concept, but a specific Hawaiian word meaning ‘righteous.’ Is this righteous advice to tourists or an expression of the righteous behavior that Hawaiians expect of tourists?
How to finance repairs of the roads and how to best manage the influx of tourists in search of lava viewing thrills are the thorny questions for which no answers were offered during the meeting.

 

Can the state and county redirect a portion of the tourism promotion budget to support Puna area institutions?  Can a donation website and a Kickstarter funding platform be created to fund the road repairs and rebuild some of the Pahoa area recreational facilities damaged or obliterated during the lava flow?
Will advertising aimed at visitors feature stories of Puna residents affected by the lava? Are local institutional needs and road repairs enumerated anywhere?
Is it appropriate to encourage more visitors to the devastated area when dozens of families have no secure homes and cannot return to their property?
A social media platform where locals could share their disaster stories might illuminate the extent of loss and future needs. But how are these stories reported? Is accuracy and truth verified?  Some may not want their personal experiences publicized to attract philanthropy or curious visitors.
During the talk story phase of the evening, I heard participants around the tables offer compelling and detailed accounts of divided families, financial loss, upset, expense, sadness, great loss, as well as mental and physical exhaustion.  No one that I heard expressed that their lives have been improved by this experience and the outcomes. Many felt they’d been overlooked and ignored by the County of Hawai’i either as individuals, as families or property owners, or as a distinct group affected by the lava.
I wondered if the representatives from the various social assistance agencies who wrote notes as people shared their stories actually get the facts. Will the individuals have a chance to review their stories before they become human-interest examples to attract budget increases?  Were the oral stories accurately reported?  If these stories become part of a proposed social media platform showing how affected residents are building resilience, will individuals be able to review the content before it is made public or used in appeals to state or national legislators? As one mother stated, we residents are already demonstrating the strength and resilience described in branding phrases I noticed on handouts and other materials: Puna Pono and Volcano Eruption Recovery.
In the end, nothing concrete was offered regarding the rebuilding of Route 132 except that a Risk Assessment will be done by the Univ. of Hawaii Manoa.  The “risk” being the potential liability of the road-builders on the Route 132 area. Will they encounter hot zones, active lava, lava tubes, re-eruption, and other hazards.
I hope the Risk Assessment team are not just keyboard desk jockeys with spreadsheets working on another island.  I hope they consult onsite vulcanologists 
Old settled lava.
and geographers and social scientists and community-based psychologists.  There is more at risk than what the lava presents.
It’s time for an end to the slow-walking and expecting residents to solve their own access problems. Distracting the affected people with platitudes and soft strategies like story telling, identifying community needs, or school involvement,  instead of providing direct leadership and specific actions. Public road building is the responsibility of the local government.
Advertisements

Cross Creek, Florida

leave a comment »

I ate Miz’ Rawlings grapefruit this morning.  Sweet and juicy, a far cry from the thick skin commercial varieties sold in grocery stores.  The best tasting Florida citrus are thin skinned and crack open when they hit the sandy turf. The fruit from Cross Creek was chock full of seeds too, obviously not bred for travel to faraway markets.

“Nutmeg grapefruit is the breed,” says Lee, a tour guide at Cross Creek,

Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings house. Cross Creek State Historical Site, Florida. image from Wikipedia.

Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings house. Cross Creek State Historical Site, Florida.
image from Wikipedia.

author Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings’ farm in north central Florida.  He wandered barefoot through the writer’s house and citrus grove, leading a dozen tourists through the historic property.  “Sand sticks in running shoe crevices, not to bare feet,” he says, dusting his soles against his tattered pants legs. Lee’s aw-shucks, gee-willikers style brings to life Rawlings’ backwoods characters in popular books like The Yearling and Cross Creek.

Rawlings won the Pulitzer Prize in 1939 for The Yearling. Beloved by many young readers, the novel tells of local boy Jody Baxter’s coming of age in Florida’s hard scrapple northern pine country near Ocala Forest.  Her novel displayed contemporary realities in realistic voice and bridged subject and stylistic antipodes. The 1938 Pulitzer book, John P. Marquand’s The Late George Apley, hewed closer to 19th century novel forms and subject matter, while John Steinbeck’s Grapes of Wrath, the Pulitzer winner in 1940, was a thoroughly modern novel rooted in vernacular voice and character.

When she came here in 1928 with first husband Charles Rawlins, both journalism graduates from the University of Wisconsin, Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings was a neophyte Floridian who thought she could live off the orange grove.  The farm was planted with pecan trees, which she ordered cut down to plant citrus.

 

Written by patwa

20/01/2014 at 8:21 pm

Can’t Evict an Idea

leave a comment »

OccupySydneyBoxInstallation©LPeatO'Neil2012 Police evicting Occupy Sydney©LPeatO'Neil2012 OccupySydneyPoliceTruck©LPeatO'Neil2012 OccupySydneyPoliceCar©LPeatO'Neil2012

Occupy Sydney during 2011-12 defined their points with recycled cardboard boxes on Martin Place, a pedestrian area in downtown Sydney.

 

On this rainy day, I watched while police systematically dismantled the OccupySydneyPoliceRemoval©LPeatO'Neil2012cardboard box barricades and the Occupy Sydney team responded by hastily shifting position, moving their cardboard space definers to confound the police.

 

Occupy Sydney Installation Feb 2012

Occupy Sydney Installation Feb 2012

 

 

 

 

 

Photos of the police “evicting” Occupy Sydney protestors from a public plaza in Sydney ~

OccupySydneyPoliceStandoff©LPeatO'Neil2012 Occupy Sydney Jan2012©LPeatO'Neil2012 OccupySydneymoving©LPeatO'Neil2012 Occupy Sydney Women©LPeatO'Neil2012 OccupySydneyPolice OccupySydneyPolicevehicles©LPeatO'Neil2012

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Three months earlier, in November, 2011, I’d visited the Occupy London semi-permanent base camp of tents around St. Paul’s Cathedral.

Occupy tent camp St Paul's Cathedral Nov2011©LPeatO'Neil2011

Occupy Camp London fromSt Paul's CathedralNov2011©LPeatO'Neil2011

 

 

 

 

 

During 2011 and through the winter until June, 2012, Occupy DC protesters in Washington, DC settled in tents or tarpaulin structures in McPherson Square. By Spring, the Occupy DC movement had built wooden structures on the public park.OccupyDCprotest©LPeatO'Neiloct2011

OccupyDCmcpherson-sq©NBCnews

 

See: Amendment 1, The Constitution of the United States of America.  Freedom of religion, speech, and the press; rights of assembly and petition.  Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

Forced removal of Occupy DC in 2012.OccupyDCend©ABCnews

Staycation

leave a comment »

Staying home to conserve fuel and financial resources?

You’re on a Staycation.

cartoon of a woman sitting on patch of sand behind a house

New Yorker Cover February 25, 2008
©CondeNast.com

This summer — or winter– take the time to explore your own backyard, walk through a local park, or tour the county historical society museum.

No need to book out-of-town on a carbon-hearty expedition.

Written by patwa

14/07/2008 at 12:29 pm

RGS-IBG Food Geographies Working Group

Blog of the RGS-IBG Food Geographies Working Group

Andrew McDowell

An Author of Many Parts

RED ROAD PRESS

On the Red Road in South Puna, Hawai'i

Interning in Milan

62 Days....counting slow

Mail Artists Index

Biographies, works and links of representative Mail Artists. - Biografien, Arbeiten und Links zu typischen Mail Art Künstlern.

Nellie Bly in the Sky

Celebrating the 125th anniversary of Nellie Bly's historic voyage around the world in 72 days.

The Fox Trails

Exploring Nature and Society

Iconic Photos

Famous, Infamous and Iconic Photos

Travel * Think * Create

No White Food

Add Life::Eat Color

Travel * Think * Create