All of us are implicated in our current global ills by our unrestrained consumption of oil — more accurately: our consumption of energy. Yet, simply turning off our cars and stopping our consumption of fossil fuels is impossible. Families and individuals are unable to cut off this dependency and still get to work, school, and to provide for the essentials of food, shelter, clothing, and so on. We are utterly dependent upon energy which is presently fueled primarily by oil.
Clearly we must make some changes if we are to create a more humane world for our children and ourselves.
(If you think industrial growth is absolutely necessary to our well-being, then you may as well stop reading this. However, if you view development of a society as something that can occur separate from unregulated economic expansion, you may want to read on.)
Our system of automobile-based transportation is in need of reform. In Hawaii, particularly in areas of people living far apart, like in the rural subdivisions of Puna, the challenges are great, as our work, school, and food, are mostly available at distances that require the speed and mobility of the car.
We must find ways to fulfill our needs for food, work, school, social-cultural participation, and TRANSIT that are not so reliant upon driving. Time and energy spent driving could be freed up for family and community improvement.
Meeting our needs for food, work, education, etc., and ultimately energy, through dependency on distant places is a problem.
Examples of squandered energy range from the egg obtained from a ship having traveled across the ocean versus an egg that was produced locally, or in work done across the island because it is not employed in the local area, or in the similar kind of commutes necessary because the school is 30 miles away and so on.
The actual energy that runs our refrigerators and heats and pumps our water and the like can be obtained much more locally. Expanded solar energy and other local sources of energy are available if we truly understand the importance of giving high priority to their further development.
Public education, from the university down to preschool, is plagued by behemoth institutions most concerned with perpetuation of the myth that technocrats and specialists are best qualified to determine OUR suitability for involvement in OUR communities. The people of Hawaii PAY these public education budgets and we are obligated to empower our community to re-evaluate where schools are benefiting our children and us, and where they need reform.
Blind infusion of inappropriate technologies into our classrooms is a particular push that has no sound basis in the healthy development of our children. It’s is a sell-out of our children to hugely powerful corporate interests, facilitated and co-opted by OUR public education employees and political representatives.
It is not laziness or ineptitude that has enslaved us to our ways and resulted in a large portion of our citizenry unable to contribute work effort to their communities. Very capable people are at a loss for meaningful work in our society due to the mechanized and centralized nature of industry. While industry has facilitated low prices for mass-produced products, it has also robbed our community of the meaningful work and local economy that would benefit our fellow island residents rather than distant corporate headquarters.
We can change this.
The change, to more local-sufficiency and less reliance on distant centralized sources, is not one that would happen immediately but it is a change that would have profound impact on our and our children’s well-being.
The huge potential from work done by the community, for the community, is a great resource we can enlist in our effort to take back the self-determination that we unknowingly handed over to corporate/institutional decision makers. People gladly contribute their talents and efforts knowing that they are working on improvements to their community.
Rather than upon the corporate interests of international capitalists, our dependency should be more upon our fellow Hawaiian citizens. Our community’s health is not being well served by such profit concerns, and reform is not necessarily in the multinational corporations’ economic interests. Yet, we can effect change and affirm our lives as stewards of the land and the life that it sustains.
We, as citizens, and as the constituency of our political leaders, have the power to effect considerably more development of these things. We can empower ourselves to lessen our enslavement to systems that are increasingly lethal.