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Posts Tagged ‘human health and justice’

From Shelley:

Last weekend we hosted the third Environmental Justice tour of Wai’anae.  We had a nice mix of people hailing from different parts of the island and from many different backgrounds–professors, students, locals, newcomers, young, and not so young–it was great. 🙂 Before I begin the breakdown of what we saw, I just have to say mahalo to the Wai’anae aunties who always inspire me–if every community had a cadre of aunties like them, surely the world would be a better place.  They know and love their aina and will protect her with the same zeal that anyone would fight for their grandma or grandpa.

On our tour we heard many stories about the landscape of the area.  I’ve always loved the mountains in Wai’anae, but now I really see them differently!  We watched the demi-god Maui being born, two lovers greeting each other in the mist, and even mano (sharks) in the mountains!  We saw Hina’s cave and beautiful Makua Valley (although currently occupied by the US Military).  Along the way we also saw some not so beautiful things.  We drove by PVT, a construction landfill which houses especially hazardous materials oftentimes from construction demolitions.  There is a giant mountain of asbestos that is literally stories high, right next to a neighborhood.  We were all shocked to see that there was nothing but a thin black piece of material between someone’s backyard and the asbestos mountain, jokingly named Pu’u ‘Opala–Rubbish Mountain.

Pu'u 'Opala looking into PVT Landfill

This is the flimsy cloth barrier that supposedly protects the people who live in the neighboring community.

Look closely, that light brown line cutting the picture horizontally is the top of the asbestos hill. Much higher than the flimsy cloth barrier "protecting" the residents.

The place where the beautiful and pollutant met was at the base of the mountains, near PVT.  We got off the bus and were greeted by 2 horses.  This is the site that they are trying to get changed from agriculture to industrial land.  I cannot imagine a landfill in such a pristine place. We held this bus tour to ask the participants to stand in solidarity with this community to fight off the “purple spot”–which is what this proposed industrial zone would look like on a map.  You can go here to learn more and sign a petition!

We ended the tour up at MA’O Farms to show us a system that is working in Wai’anae, in stark contrast to the dumps and proposed dumps that are not a good fit.  Mahalo to Kamu Enos for showing us around! We even got to learn about sustainable building practices using materials that were all locally sourced.  MA’O answers back to all the people who think that Wai’anae is too dry to grow food!

Wai'anae is not too dry to grow 'ono food! 🙂 Happy veggies.

Mahalo to all the aunties for showing us what aloha aina feels like.  I loved hearing them gush about the legends of Wai’anae!  I truly will never see Wai’anae the same again.  Our next bus tour is July 24, leave a comment if you want to reserve your spot! 🙂

Mahalo to Candace Fujikane for the pictures! 🙂

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From our friends at AFSC, about a great summer learning opportunity for high-schoolers on O’ahu:

We are Ka Makani Kaiaulu o Wai’anae. We are learning how to promote environmental justice in Wai’anae.

We know there is a problem – environmental racism.

We swim and play in these waters. We eat food from the land and sea here. We all have family members who are sick with asthma or cancer.

We want environmental justice.

1. Stop or reduce all harmful impacts, not just the streams, but the sources of contamination: landfills, military and industry.

2. We want the clean up of all the contaminated sites.

3. We demand a healthy environment for our community.

A healthy environment is a human right!

>><<

Ka Makani Kaiaulu o Wai’anae is a summer youth environmental justice organizing training institute for youth from the Wai’anae coast to learn cenvironmental justice and ommunity organizing skills.

The program is geared to youth (age 15 – 19) from Wai’anae who care about the health and well being of their families, communities and the ‘aina.   Applicants must be committed to learning community empowerment skills and using those new skills to help their community and the environment become healthier.

We will learn about issues affecting the Wai’anae community, social justice movements in Hawai’i and around the world, the basics of making  positive social change, and digital story telling as a medium for shaping the vision and plan for the future of our community.

The Ka Makani Kaiaulu o Wai’anae Institute runs four weeks – June 21 through July 16, 2009, weekdays from 9am to 2pm.

Most activities will take place at the Leeward Community College Wai’anae office (86-088 Farrington Hwy, Suite 201, Wai’anae, HI 96792, Phone: 696-6378).  The class will take field trips to help students better understand the issues affecting Hawai’i and the depth and scope of doing this work.

Why should you join other students this summer in this life changing experience? Wai’anae is under attack.  It is an assault against the community and against the ‘aina, with military bombs and toxic chemicals, contaminated landfills, water pollution, chemical weapons, destruction of cultural sites, rising costs of living and growing numbers of houseless families. The Ka Makani Kaiaulu o Wai’anae Institute will give the selected candidates a way to learn skills for making grassroots community change and a forum to present their ideas on how to improve conditions for peace and justice and environmental sustainability.

Program eligibility
* Must be between the ages of 15-19.
* Must be self-motivated and able to work well in a team towards a common goal.
* Must have the desire to protect the environment and the health and well being of the Wai’anae community.
Participants who successfully complete the program will receive a $200 stipend.

Interested? Email Kyle Kajihiro at KKajihiro@afsc.org

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Video and article on the Hawai’i Undersea Military Munitions Assessment–the search to find legacy dumped munitions around Hawai’i, in the UH Malamalama: “…the first study of possible chemical weapons sites in Hawaiʻi and the most comprehensive study ever taken in U.S. waters…”

http://www.hawaii.edu/malamalama/2010/04/underwater-ordnance/

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Now that the U.S. Army has admitted to the presence of depleted uranium at its Hawaiʻi live fire training ares, the Army has applied to the NRC for a permit to possess DU at Pohakuloa Training Area. If granted, the permit would allow remains of depleted uranium spotter rounds from the Army’s cold-war-era Davy Crockett nuclear howitzer on site at the training area. The army had denied the presence of depleted uranium in Hawaiʻi until a citizen’s group unearthed an e-mail about their discovery in 2006.

Last week, the Big Island Weekly reported on the NRC’s findings on the U.S. Army’s monitoring plan–a plan intended to detect potential impacts from so-called “fugitive dust”:

The U.S. Army’s plan to monitor the air over Pohakuloa Training Area for depleted uranium has drawn sharp criticism from some Native Hawaiians, environmentalists, activists and independent experts. Now the Army has gotten an admonishment from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

“We have concluded that the Plan will provide inconclusive results for the U.S. Army as to the potential impact of the dispersal of depleted uranium (DU) while the Pohakuloa Training Area is being utilized for aerial bombardment or other training exercises,” wrote Rebecca Tadesse, Chief of the NRC’s Materials Decommissioning Branch, in a recent letter to Lt. General Rick Lynch, who heads the Army’s Installation Management Command.

See full Article: “NRC to Army: DU monitoring plan won’t work

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