The song lyrics "They paved paradise and put up a parking lot" are now a truism and reality in Kihei. Greed is planting cement where trees, grass and children need to thrive. Must development suffocate every blade of grass, the land, environment and us?
Everywhere I turn in Kihei, open fields are being cleared and another shopping mall being planned or built. This greed is morphing us into Los Angeles and Miami strip mall look-a-likes.
Shopping local doesn't mean shopping at Wal-Mart or Costco. Shopping local means supporting our independent business owners, who, unfortunately, are being closed out, leaving empty spaces in their lives and empty real estate that drains the local economy, and increases unemployment.
Development needs to be inspired by the environment and the desires of the community--and becomes one with it, not wipe it out.
Monkey pod trees in danger of removal because the roots are cracking the sidewalk? Let the trees be and elevate a walkway over the sidewalk that has sloping ramps for walkers, strollers and wheelchairs.
Monsanto is planting GMO corn where organic farms can grow. We need to take back our agricultural land and utilize all our environmental resources--wind, sun, ocean, multi-climates--to create sustainability that is possible here and now, and become less dependent on costly imports. This will create jobs and improve our own economy.
It appears our present decision-makers have another agenda in mind--an agenda that doesn't include Maui, its expert environmentalists, its citizens, its beauty, its trees and the impact on its longevity.
My recommendation: Maybe we need to swiftly remove these myopic officials and developers from their positions, since they don't fit into the design plans of nature.
People dream of Hawai'i and save their hard-earned money to fulfill a fantasy, only to arrive in paradise and find Costco and its ilk. Soon they will stop coming, because Hawai'i's serene natural beauty will have disappeared under a blanket of cement.
Start thinking now about the future... the future of Hawai'i, its natural survival and that of its residents--both local and off-island owners. It's not enough to complain about what's happening, or what's already happened when you weren't looking.
Each resident, on and off island, and each community must speak out. Talk to everyone you know. Send a representative to every meeting. Send out and sign petitions. Contact an organization that is working to save Kihei and Maui. Write an editorial and/or an article and run it in every newspaper.
Each voice must be heard.
Kihei = Keep Indigenous Hawai'i Environmentally Intact
Be vocal and keep local alive.