“Natural” Disasters

With the morning comes a clear and perfect view of our four mountains and calm quiet air, very different scene from yesterday when I woke up to 30 mile an hour gusts of wind from hurricane Lane, passing just to the south of the island. This on the heels of a three month ordeal with our 3 month volcanic eruption, brushfires destroying parts of Maui, Oahu, and recently the Big Island. It feels as if 2018 has been quite a dramatic year and all the forces being unleashed here are testing people to their limits. I have a different way of viewing all of it and take the stance that with a deep trust of nature there is no such thing as a disaster simply cycles and patterns which create and destroy in perfection. Of course, change is one of our biggest challenges as humans and so when we are forced out of our comfort zone because of such circumstances, many like to take the stance of being a victim of it all. I’ve even heard people refer to themselves as “volcano victims”. To me this seems ridiculous, since anyone who has moved here or chosen to build here must know that they are building on a very active and powerful volcano. It seems that we are also very good as humans at forgetting the bigger picture.

After hurricane Iselle in 2014, for which I happened to be living at the epicenter when it hit the big island, hurricane Lane did not cause me any real concerns. It seems like our location in the middle of the Pacific is going to have storms come through as it has for eons and even though “records” and history are quoted by the frenzied media as proof that this is a rare and special occasion to cause fear and anxiety, it is not. This is a natural cycle. When we compare our short 80 – 90 year human lifespans to that of a giant redwood tree or even crystals which can be thousands of years old, I wonder what their perspective might be on these cycles.

After the worst of the winds and the rain passed, I decided to go down to Kawaihae Harbor yesterday to check out the ocean and see what damage has been done, out of curiosity. My experience of doing this after Iselle was profound and beautiful to witness the sheer force of the ocean and how much had happened in our jungle. When I arrived there was very few people, and the water looked fairly clear and calm, contrary to all the doomsday predictions of the media of “high surf” and “dangerous ocean conditions”, I found a very typical seen on our beautiful reef, turquoise water, and small waves lapping at our breakwall. Then I noticed the boat… It had broken loose from its moorings and crashed into the wall in the harbor and was stranded there. A few Coast Guard had walked out and then a helicopter came to check out everything from the air. Very soon there after other authorities arrived such as the DLNR police and firefighters. I also noticed a “porta-potty” turned up side down in the harbor, exactly at the quiet shore where all the children like to play. Before I saw that I had considered getting into the water, but not after.




It seems to me that the real disaster here is humanity, not any hurricane, volcano or brushfire. All of these elements which destroyed nature and ultimately leave long-standing effects, which day take time and effort to correct are a direct result of our presence here. The boat destroyed a lot of coral, and exactly at a place where allies of the environment have been trying to plant new coral and promote growth. I was told that this is the third time that this particular boat has come unmoored, and caused damage to the coral reef. It seems to me that a third offense is something which really deserves attention and repercussions. I know for a fact that many people wait almost 10 years to have a slip in Hawaii Kawaihae Harbor, and yet here is a derelict boat, not maintained, and a third offender in creating extreme damage to the coral reef being allowed to keep their slip. Why is that? How can we hold them accountable?

Earth provides enough for every one needs, not everyone’s greed.

– Mahatma Gandhi

Nature is my inspiration as an artist. I need to be able to get in the water, walk in silence through trees, and contemplate mountains. Without this connection, I know that I would perish. We all have a sacred duty to protect and steward the places where we enjoy these experiences. This includes holding authorities and offenders accountable for their action and inaction.