September 20, 2016
In June I was on Maui, where I was working with ALCES and Sam Aruch. On my trip, and in reflecting since my return, I was struck by the obvious beauty of the island and its ecosystems. I was equally moved by the fact that Hawai’i’s trajectories and challenges are an apt analogy to those we face on this bigger island of Earth, and excited by the opportunities that we can create to do better.
While I was on Maui, I was privileged and lucky while meeting with The Land Conservancy to see a presentation by Dr. Sam ‘Ohu Gon III on the cultural significance of the native birds of Hawai’i. It was a very interesting talk, and his work made me want to seek out more, until I found , one of the best presentations I’ve ever seen, full of wisdom and inspiration. In it, Dr. Gon says that the Hawai’ian concept of “aloha” – empathetic compassion – extends to all the elements of nature around us, and makes it clear that the fate and health of the places in which we live are our own fates, our own health. Best of all, Dr. Gon offers some suggestions for the challenges we face – he suggests that we:
“move forward with the best that science can offer to undo the damage of the past and restore the health of our ecosystems…basing our actions on the best of ancient values…lessons of self-sufficiency, of reverent relationships between people and the lands and waters that sustain them, and between each other, as collective…caretakers of the planet.”
Our mission here at IEG aligns exactly with this very eloquent statement. Thank you, Sam!
Photo credit: https://www.nps.gov/im/pacn/ha...