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This Ain’t the Mainland

Increased commercial development detrimental to Maui.

April 28, 2011
Commentary contributed by Celeste Keele · Kīhei

Then they go home because there’s no connection out there and they watch TV in their isolation, hoping to feel something.

We on Maui still feel something. We still have the magic. We still have local shops, local products, local foods and local pastimes unique to this place. We still have a sense of giving back, of gratitude, of being careful guardians of this island and its seas. We have not zoned out yet completely.

We still give the shaka and let people into traffic. We are still warm and friendly and spend time talking story. We still have a sense of time’s natural rhythms, like the drums playing, the sun setting, the horns blowing, the hips in hula swaying, the paddles rowing.

And we still take time to hang loose. It is a priority for us. We still care deeply about the ‘äina and want to be out in it, enjoying it. We are here because of it.

The superstore and outlet store commercial development project planned for North K īhei mauka of the Pi‘ilani Highway should not be part of this place. If you want to increase speed, sprawl, impersonalization, superstore minimum wages, traffic, a sense of isolation and meaninglessness, pollution (of all types), strain on delicate island resources, and the importation of more ways to consume, then this project is the perfect project for South Maui.

But it will also give our visitors fewer reasons to come here to “get away from it all.”

The more we look, act, feel, drive, speak, consume and live like we’re on the Mainland, the more we’ve lost what we have here. But also, the more likely we’ll lose the people who come here for what we have.

This place is not just about weather. It’s magical. And it’s about the history and the stories and legends, the music, the language, the local food, plants, animals, the way of life, the way business is done, the community, the land and the sea. This is what we have the opportunity to preserve. Now is our chance. It is not too late. We have not yet left our souls behind.

We have held on to aloha, hoping to never lose this unique and beautiful heritage. Please check out my campaign Website to stop this commercial development (see many more negative consequences of this plan) and my petition to our leaders:

 
 

 

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