Today the hotly debated Hawaii Superferry (HSF) made its first trip to Maui from Oahu and back after the State legislature passed a special law allowing it to sail without first completing and environmental impact statement. How is the possible? Simple. Corruption. What the military wants, the military gets. What developers want, developers get. Protesters waive. Business as usual.
Between the beaches, fancy hotels and golden sunsets, visitors to Hawaii don’t see how little regard the State has for its natural resources. This may not make sense at first, but there are a few important concepts to understand that may not be obvious to the untrained eye.
More is More
To the State, developers, hoteliers, realtors, construction and any other industry that relies on growth to fill its pockets, more is better. A healthy economy generally benefits everyone, but an overbuilt environment with strained resources does not. People who profit from growth typically don’t get this concept because the money in growth is too big. That’s a huge disconnect. That the State passed a special law exempting the superferry from an EIS is just another example of the State’s indifference to shared natural resources.
Perhaps as Hawaii drops in the ranks of top visitor destinations (it has recently fallen to #2 for honeymooners for the first time in years behind Italy), an awareness of what brings people here–the natural beauty–might creep in. Hopefully, it will happen before any endangered humpback whales (or calves) are sliced dead or all the nene eggs eaten to extinction by mongoose introduced from Oahu.
I Work Hard, I Deserve It
Our parents and their parents worked hard and were free to ruin their natural resources (their gift to us that keeps on giving) because they didn’t know any better. We do. Allowing vehicles to literally carry Maui away by filling up cars with rocks to sell to Oahu landscapers does not qualify as improving quality of life. Neither does supporting a superferry that turns a blind eye to stolen property or illegal drugs. The airlines don’t pose these risks, offer cheaper fares and use less gas per person anyway. Tragic that the superferry makes the airlines look environmentally and socially responsible.
Love It To Death
We have done this so many times in the past, this seems like an easy one to spot. But no, especially when big bucks are at stake. Take Hawaii’s coral reefs. Most are overfished or crushed beneath the fins of snorkelers standing on them. Many local people’s livelihoods depend on coral reefs, but the legislature doesn’t pass a special law to protect them. The State remains indifferent.
So if you decide to ride the Hawaii Superferry, be prepared to see protesters waiving on both islands. I’ll be there. Riding may be a novel way to see Maui on the last day of vacation, but the superferry is nothing less than a fatal blow to the neighbor island’s way of life–one that many travel so far to see.
Perhaps we could love the superferry to death.