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Picture of the Day

October 15, 2013

First, let me say I am thrilled to be living on Maui. I've
always loved the ocean and there's plenty of it around here.
It's been a lifelong desire to live in a place like this but it wasn't till
May 2011 that I discovered Maui was the destination of my dreams. That
said, let's look at this picture. Not my best, but pretty, isn't it? It may not look it,
but danger lurks below the surface of the image. This is Olowalu Beach Reserve, a
tiny piece of coastline dedicated to coral reef recovery. But here as almost everywhere developers have
the leverage. That channel is a trench for runoff from mountainside where hundreds of houses are to be built.
No private beachfront owner would allow it so they dug ditch through state land, the resultant silty outflow deadly
to the ecosystem it is supposed to protect. Out of frame to the left is ill-advised seawall that's hastening beach recession.
That boat in the distance offers slightly toxic—noise, stink, spillage—snorkeling trips to tourists who accelerate reef depletion
with the chemicals in their sunscreen
. At least they're not harvesting fish for home aquariums, a hugely wasteful and under-
industry where nearly half the take dies in transit. It's a war on all fronts against poachers, polluters, and well-intentioned but
ignorant visitors. Speaking of battles, check out the island in the distance--Kaho'olawe. It's a sacred site to Hawaiians, so of course US
armed forces used it for target practice from 1941-1990. Similar to Vieques in Puerto Rico, that barbaric practice was halted only due to
persistent and radical protest tactics. Many of today's crises are so big it's easy to get discouraged into apathy, but the relatively small scale of this speck in the Pacific gives me confidence that I can help make a difference. It's never an easy fight but it is possible to win.
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