Especially since the 2008 crash, when the economy was in danger of outright collapse, there has been endless talk of sustainability in America, and here in Hawaii is no exception. Yet even here - in one of the most progressive regions of one of America's most progressive states - that is exactly all it's been, nothing but talk. Even after decades of agitation, there still isn't even a rational recycling system in place, and comprehensive recycling is the cornerstone of a sustainable modern society. For awhile I knew of one place here in Hilo, reasonably close by, that would take all recyclable material. They no longer do so, of course. I has always been that way.
Just as you yourself get a system in place at home to sort your recycling (no minor task for those of us in apartments I assure you) than once again nobody within a reasonable distance will take it. You are expected to haul it yourself to the dump. (And what good does it do to go galavanting miles in your car, burning gasoline, to dispose of a single household's load of recycling?) It does no good whatsoever, and any reasonably intelligent person can apprehend that fact. It seems we are supposed to believe that a nation capable of (for whatever reason) landing astronauts on the moon, can't figure out how to institute curbside recycling! If sustainability had ever been the objective on the part of those who make the decisions in America the whole waste system would have been re-engeneered years ago, so that everyone could recycle in the most efficient, and effortless, manner possible. One can only conclude the powers that be oppose sustainability with every ounce of their being! Nothing less could account for the current situation.
These endless efforts on the part of right-minded people that achieve nothing, disillusion people people democracy, and clearly that's just fine with the powers that be because to all appearances doing away with democracy has long been their first priority! But in order to do away with democracy first you have to corrupt it, and the power of vested interests, i.e. the corporate structure, has been hammering away at exactly that for generations - to the point that now it's highly debatable whether we even any longer even have a democracy. That is even true here on Hawaii Island. Nothing of significance can ever change. Superficial changes are occasionally made, mainly just window dressing, but if the people were really in power, if their interests had really be taken into account we would have had sweeping reforms by now of practically every area of our society, from education to electrical power. Think about it. Has a single significant thing been done by our elected officials to alter the utterly rigged and unfair system under which we must all now live?
"Recycling. . . Duh, we don't know how to do that."
Or take the Hilo farmer's market, for example. For all the prattle about sustainability, state and local government's have done virtually nothing to support the Hilo farmer's market. Hilo should have a fabulous farmer's market! We should also have an arboretum that people the world over would pay to see. A local climate and soil that's the envy of the world should assure that! But what do we have? Both Hilo's farmer's market and arboretum are a pathetic farce. I swear, the only unhealthy trees in Hilo are at the Hilo arboretum! I don't know how they even manage it!
Or take KTA, the locally owned supermarket's "Mountain Apple brand" program, which they say features products from local farmers and businesses. Their orange juice is from Brazil! Is it even packed on the island? Well. . . no. So what the hell is local about it? They sell it locally, I suppose, that's what! It's an insult to both our values and intelligence.
What happened to the Hawaii Island Journal? It went the way of all independent and progressive news sources in America, it was bought out by a corporation. Why? Did the corporation see it as potentially profitable. No. As always, after a brief period when they launched a similar, half-assed, and less controversial paper to take it's place, they simply let that paper die. It isn't about money. It's about silencing opposition to endemic corruption. Corporate interests operate in tandem to protect corporate interest. That isn't conspiracy theory, it's simply recognizing the obvious. What happened to the 2% for the land fund, a program to dedicate 2% of tax revenues to purchasing recreational land for the general public on the island, a measure that Big Islanders approved by referendum. The county council voted to overturn it, in a manner that I highly doubt was even constitutional. I mean, who the hell are these people to overturn a bill voted on directly by the citizens?
On Iceland, an island with abundant hydroelectric and geothermal power, electric power is free to all citizens. Here we have those two sources of power to spare, but we have almost limitless solar and wind-turbine power as well - and our electric bills are sky high! Such high electric rates undermine the entire economy, and in particular, small business. Moreover, few people here take up farming, because most of the island lies fallow and unproductive, in the hands of new class of corporate royalty, and so available land is prohibitively expensive.
The true reason for all of this is obvious. Somebody makes money the way things are, so they have the money to make sure things stay that way. Corruption is now all but institutionalized in America, and a nation incapable of change is a nation well down the road toward destruction.
So what's the solution? First, I recently read an article predicting the fall of the Republican party in the next election. I could add that to the same prediction made by the mainstream media at about this time in the election cycle in every election year. Such an announcement serves two purposes. First, in de-energizes ordinary Americans, gives them the false impression that the election's in the bag, the system is working, and they don't have to get involved. The vested interests that own American media like that. Secondly, it frames the election in such a way that any improvement at all for Republicans in the polls (improvements they can always create with a timely infusion of cash) can be presented as w wholly unforeseen Republican resurgence,. That with a little lying, and electioneering will them stave of disaster for them, that will be held up as a Republican victory. When you've seen this game 50 times, it's hard to be surprised by it any more.
So, the upshot is overthrow the party of Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump, and likewise the multitudinous Democrats who are really just "Republican Lite." Find the candidates who are most likely to vote in the public interest in the next election and vote. Get politically involved in the upcoming elections as if your life depended on it, because it very well might.
Copyright 2018 Brent Hightower