Hundreds of people have been camping on Mauna Kea, costing taxpayers millions of dollars. Some recently erected a permanent structure on a fragile lava field.
Nonprofits such as the Sierra Club of Hawaii-Oahu, Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii, Zero Waste Oahu and Plastic Free Hawaii have dived into murky waters by taking a stand on the Thirty Meter Telescope issue, on the pretext of protecting the environment and indigenous peoples’ rights.
Determining the sacredness of a place has little to do with the mission of these organizations. Some of these organizations’ staff and board members are sympathetic to the cause of the protestors and that’s fine — as long as they lend support on their dime and time.
Donors should be aware that their dues and grants could be funding camping trips to the mauna.
The summit is devoid of endangered species habitat and cultural artifacts. TMT will be a zero-waste facility that will offer $1 million annually in STEM education opportunities for Native Hawaiian keiki, and several hundred well-paying jobs to qualified local residents. Shouldn’t this be something these organizations applaud?