Maui Model: Community Sail Plan Rooted in Human Rights and Peace Guides Future Generations and Our Globe
Contributed by Kaiea Medeiros, Kalonize (MM Alum) and Josh Cooper, Hawai'i Institute for Human Rights.
To directly support Maui residents affected, visit Maui Nui Strong - Maui Wildfire Relief.
The global climate crisis arrived aggressively on Maui, Hawai’i. The most isolated, inhabited land mass on the planet was directly impacted with devastation beyond comprehension with nearly a hundred deaths and 2,200 structures destroyed and 3,330 acres of land decimated.
Summer 2023 has been the season of climate change everywhere on earth. Climate change-fueled drought and hurricane high winds created detrimental and deathly conditions for raging wildfires burning the historic town of Lahaina to the ground. The climate crisis is not a looming threat but one we are living daily in this global climate emergency.
On August 8, there were 3 major fires across Maui island. However the spark that lit the flames devouring too many souls began centuries ago with imperial policies and industrial practices intended to dominate indigenous peoples of the Pacific.
The path toward peace on Maui requires a multifaceted historical and holistic approach rooted in the human rights of the maka’ainana. Keepers of the ancestral knowledge provide cultural context demanding new direction of mutual exchange instead of pattern of exploitation.
We must now decolonize, decorporatize, decarbonize and decentralize for Maui’s future.
The sovereign nation of Hawai’i was administered at moku’ula, Lahaina. King Kamehameha III continued navigating the 19th century securing sovereignty in rough seas of conquest. Ulu groves and niu marked the boundaries of this peaceful government. Over time, a baseball field and tennis courts attempted to cover the rich historical culture of the land. Only days after the inferno incinerated all in its way, a kalo plant emerged on Front Street.
Many companies and corporations made decisions considering only profit and not the people or the planet. Water was diverted for multiple purposes geared toward profits with monocrops drying up fertile valleys and golf courses constructed instead of affordable housing. Monopolistic Corporations have constantly chose profit including the energy company continuing practices bad for planet and the people when alternative models exist. Renewable energy of solar provides clean, green and good resilient possibilities for Maui’s future.
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The water must flow again from mauka to makai. Regenerative agriculture with an island wide compost system can be planted. Maui Nui Million Native Tree project provides canoes and reduces carbon for future generations. Syntropic agroforestry guarantees right to food for all. An ahupuaa model of sustainable development is the basis for a better life for all that considers the consequences of all decisions in our earth democracy. The people must exercise free, prior and informed consent to actualize the right to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment.
A low carbon economy centered around proactive, participatory public policy making and pono politics creates a collective love illuminating a bright future for Maui. Endemic ecology is the essential base centered around community engagement and circular economy.
We must accelerate action for Aina-Kanaka relationships supporting responsible and resilient ecology ensuring equality and equity.
The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples provides a blueprint to build back beautiful and better with bolder actions outlined in the 46 articles realizing the right to free, prior and informed consent. The UN 2030 Agenda provides 17 Global Goals that offer a to-do list balancing economic, social and cultural rights for climate action to achieve peace through partnership.
It’s Na’au or Never for Hawai'i and humanity.
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