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OPINION - Just a Splash But...


OPINION - Just a Splash But...

By Catherine Sagan 

I am rounding out three months of residency on Big Island, Hawaii, and I have to say I have yet to get tired of watching the undulation of the waves hitting the rocks on the shore. It takes hundreds, maybe thousands, of years to wear down the jagged lava rock that at one time was hot molten magma sputtering to the surface of the sea from the ocean floor below. Watching how the surf splashes, kisses and caresses the rocks, but oftentimes slaps them hard, I am reminded of how smoothness does not happen overnight, either on a piece of lava rock or on an individual.

These last couple of weeks, I have been living in an apartment close to downtown Kailua-Kona. I walk through town for some exercise each day, and appreciate how the tourists from every imaginable part of the world come here for some sun and sand. The local merchants are happy when the Pride of America cruise ship docks in the bay and brings passengers to shore to buy a t-shirt, a pair of flip-flops, a meal or even an ice cream or snow cone. It is very important for the prosperity of the community. Young people, and old, work in the hotels, restaurants, shops, and touring agencies for their living. When tourism slacks off, so does prosperity here.

What many tourists are unaware of, is that every two years since 1971, there have been month-long military exercises done in the Pacific by the United States and many other countries to show countries like China, North Korea, and Russia that we are “ready” for any confrontation: 

On land, the sea or in air. Environmental groups have been challenging the detonating of bombs and sinking of old ships that create sonic booms affecting the whale and dolphin populations in particular. I recently signed my name to a letter to President Obama, petitioning him to investigate the damage of toxic metals to the soil, water and air surrounding Big Island and the other islands of Hawaii done by these military exercises. 

Known as RIMPAC, or Pacific Rim Military Exercises, one can look them up on google; they are written up as protective military measures. Yet, just as in the Middle East, the damage done to the environment from bombs using depleted uranium can be devastating to the health of those in close proximity.

My thought is that we need another strategy besides a war threat towards what are considered “menacing” countries. I read that if two opposing sides who need to sit down for peaceful negotiations would allow for the good will and possibility of a change of attitude in their opponents, there could be better outcomes in this regard. I trust that everyone who cares about our country, the United States, and the welfare of our planet will register to vote in local and the presidential elections with the hope for change and a better tomorrow for our young people of all races, creeds and origin. 

Or, you can do what Republican Jeb Bush is going to do: Not vote at all; another option is to move to Uruguay, South America. Personally, the world has been made one big mess by men; I am ready to give a chance to women leading the United States for a change. 

Be a part of the solution by knowing what needs to be done to make the environment safe for everyone. What happens in one place affects everywhere; we are all interconnected.