Just four days after it was launched, an online petition at change.org calling for the immediate halt to construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope on Mauna Kea has collected over 100,000 signatures as of this evening.
The petition was started by a group called Mauna Kea Education and Awareness, and its intended recipient is the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, along with seven other entities, including Caltech, the University of California, National Research Council Canada and National Institutes of Natural Sciences in Japan.
“The TMT will cause harm to the mountain and destroy a sacred place for Kanaka Maoli’s spiritual and cultural practices. We oppose any construction made on sacred land without the free, prior and informed consent of Kanaka Maoli,” the petition said.
The petition’s launch comes in the midst of growing tensions, as hundreds of protesters blocked construction crews from accessing the construction site atop Mauna Kea, resulting in the arrest of 33, and prompting an emergency proclamation by Gov. David Ige on Wednesday. The TMT protest is in its fifth day today.
The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation in 2007 committed $200 million to the California Institute of Technology and the University of California toward TMT’s construction. Gordon Moore is a leader in the semiconductor industry and co-founder of Intel Corp., creator of the world’s first microprocessor.
Among those who have signed the petition are Shea Rodrigues, who said: “I fundamentally disagree with the allotment of resources to search for new lands beyond the horizon when we are unable to care for the one beneath our feet.”
The organizers’ original goal was 75,000 signatures but has now increased to 150,000.