Media, authorities underplay crisis
I was surprised — shocked, even — by the very subdued coverage your newspaper gave to the permanent closure of the iconic Top of Waikiki restaurant (“2 closed Honolulu restaurants won’t reopen due to coronavirus pandemic,” Star-Advertiser, June 9).
This is major news, and indicative of things to come. Local authorities, together with the media, are being way too calm about the economic effects on Hawaii of the global pandemic. The reality is that we are likely to lose at least half of our restaurants, which should be seen as a leading indicator for all tourist- oriented economic activity.
While the pandemic presents a golden opportunity to fundamentally rethink Hawaii’s economy, the near-to-medium-term is going to be traumatic. It’s high time to pull our collective heads out of the sand and start facing the reality of what’s actually going to happen when unemployment benefits run out and tourism remains stubbornly depressed by global factors beyond our control.
We need immunity from COVID-19
If I have had alarming thoughts about indiscriminate sanitizing of movie theaters, buses, schools, and everything we touch, I figure that professional virologists must be thinking about it, too.
Is no one concerned about the constant cleaning being a way to breed stronger germs? The only way to truly neutralize the threat of COVID-19 is for humanity to develop antibodies and a stronger immune system over a few generations.
Instead, we are always leaving the few survivors that will survive our attempts at sterilization and become immune to our cleaning products. The cycle of Roundup and Monsanto comes to mind. We are breeding stronger weeds and killing off greenskeepers.
A scenario in which we become sickened by our own cleansers is also on the horizon. I sincerely hope that the human survivors of COVID-19 (thank you, Tom Hanks) can provide the antibodies we need to reproduce an immunity for the rest of us. Perhaps we can achieve immunity in less than 200 years.
Younger generation can’t forget protests
I have been watching the local and national news over the past few weeks and I would describe what I have seen as the best and the worst of humanity. The killing of George Floyd at the hands of the police is unthinkable, as is the looting and violence that followed.
Yet, in the face of all of this hate and brutality came neighbors comforting each other, police marching alongside protesters, and strangers standing up for each other just because it is right to do so. I hope that my generation recognizes this time in our lives as a milestone for change and that we don’t forget.
Kailua housing plan doesn’t fit with area
Affordable housing is needed, in Kailua and elsewhere. Key elements are location, scale, function and community engagement in the process.
In the case of the development proposed for Kailua, it is generally situated in a good location from the perspective of its adjacency to the Kailua commercial core. It is not a good location with regard to current zoning and traffic (“Plan for affordable housing in Kailua draws controversy,” Star-Advertiser, June 4).
The project’s scale is significantly greater than the surrounding neighborhood, including on the commercial side. The project’s bulk and height will likely hinder tradewinds adequately reaching nearby properties and cast nuisance shadows on adjacent homes, decreasing solar intensity. Its scale is also a distinct and blatant departure from the surrounding single-family neighborhood.
The project design will increase vehicular traffic at an already congested intersection. Providing less-than-adequate parking stalls and relying on street parking that is already overtaxed by current residents is another example of poor project functionality. Early and genuine community engagement did not occur and has only added to distrust and potentially misinformation. This project should be more thoroughly analyzed through a state environmental assessment, including a traffic study.
Aquaculture poses risks to wild fish
The first problem is feed: Carnivorous fish such as yellowtail cannot survive without fish oil in their diets, which means that two to three pounds of wild forage fish must be taken from the ocean to grow one pound of farmed fish; those forage fish are important, both ecologically and as a source of dietary protein in Third World countries.
The second problem is disease: A net-cage excludes large predators (nature’s method of disease control), but parasites and pathogens move freely through the mesh, and so the net-cage becomes a pathogen culture facility that causes local populations of wild fish to decline.
The first problem is theoretically solvable as the industry struggles to replace scarce fish oil with high-lipid microalgae and insects, but the second problem is fundamental. As consumers, we can help the ocean by being as careful in our choice of cultured seafood as in our choice of wild-caught seafood.
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