2003 CPEO Military List Archive

From: Mervyn Tano <mervtano@iiirm.org>
Date: 11 Nov 2003 18:50:55 -0000
Reply: cpeo-military
Subject: [CPEO-MEF] An article from The Honolulu Advertiser
Kaho'olawe showing signs of healing
This article from HonoluluAdvertiser.com has been sent to you by Mervyn Tano
Mervyn Tano's e-mail:  mervtano@iiirm.org

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Posted on: Tuesday, November 11, 2003

Kaho'olawe showing signs of healing
By Lee Cataluna
Advertiser Columnist

When you press your hand against the warm, red earth of Kaho'olawe, the island presses back.

It is awake. Alive. Aware. If you sit still long enough, you can hear it whisper to you.
That feeling, that connection to the island, has inspired essays and photo collections and mele. It inspired men and women to risk their lives to occupy the island during scheduled live-fire training in the 1970s. It has inspired hundreds of volunteers to brave the heat of the sun and the pierce of the wind to put native plants into the soil.
That feeling is what made the 50 years of bombing practice so heartbreaking. It is what fills a visitor to Kaho'olawe in its present state so full of hope.

This week, the Navy officially transfers control of access to the island to the state. During the next four months, the Navy will wrap up work on the island and demobilize operations. The Kaho'olawe Island Reserve Commission, or KIRC, a state agency,will continue to work on restoring and replanting the island.

To appreciate what Kaho'olawe looks like right now, you have to call to mind what it looked like before.

Just eight years ago, as the Navy's six-month practice run, known as the model cleanup, was beginning, the island looked hurt and scarred and insulted.
Scrap metal poked out of every gully and crevice. There were great sweeps of hardpan with just a few sparse tufts of grass in sight. No one was allowed to tromp through the bushes. Every step had to be measured and carefully placed.

Now, though the warnings are still in place and the danger of unexploded ordnance still exists, it is clear that a great change has begun.

At Luakealialalo, a shallow crater that fills with several inches of water during the rainy season, 'aweoweo shrubs and kawelu grass have taken root. Toward the end of their work of the area, ordnance-removal crews were given seeds of these native plants to scatter in the soil.

Farther north, near Luamakika, Paul Higashino, KIRC restoration program manager, picked seeds from one of thousands of 'a'ali'i plants that volunteers had helped plant. He held out his hand to let the wind carry the seeds.
"We can't put a plant everywhere," Higashino said, "so what's the next best thing? Send out the seeds."

That's where Kaho'olawe is at the moment: sending out seeds.
 Kaho'olawe and bring rain.

"And it works," Tsuha says. Sure enough, the clouds blow past so low you can almost jump and touch them. Tsuha says that happens every afternoon. The naulu rain clouds are called to Kaho'olawe from 'Ulupalakua, and they come.

It is going to take many days of low-flying clouds, of planting, of planning and of listening to the islands. But because so many people listened and so many people felt that connection, Kaho'olawe is starting to heal.

Stanton Enomoto, KIRC acting executive director, puts it this way: "It'll take tenacity. Commitment. Maybe it'll be when my children's children's children are around, but it'll happen. It's happening."

Lee Cataluna's column runs Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays. Reach her at 535-8172 or lcataluna@honoluluadvertiser.com.

Article url: http://the.honoluluadvertiser.com/article/2003/Nov/11/ln/ln05alee.html
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