Molokai, a Model of Inspiration

I vacationed at Kaluakoi three times in the recent past. For me, Molokai has been a remarkable discovery — one of the last "real" places left on this planet, populated by charming, "real" people. 

I'm sure you know that Kaluakoi has become a cause célebre, which has been written up three times in the NY Times alone in the past year. To many readers, it is the story of David & Goliath, or the little man versus the corporate giant.

I believe it is enormously courageous and inspiring what the Molokai people have done. I hope they hold fast, because a lot of people everywhere are looking to them as a model of what it means to choose honor and the preservation of your identity in the face of inducements and threats from the forces of corporate evil.  

The men and women of Molokai are the people whose ancestors, against all odds and without coercion, were inspired to head out to sea in fragile crafts and cross thousands of miles of unknown waters! Now, in a fashion, they're doing it again, for these too are untested waters: Very few people anywhere have stood firm the way the people of Molokai have. Please know that a great many people are looking to you as guides of what we, too, may be able to do.

Charles Pinter – Professor Emeritus
Bucknell University, Lewisburg, PA 

From the Editor,

Charles, your letter is certainly a breath of fresh air for those of us fighting for Molokai’s future. Unfortunately, not everyone feels the same way about the decisions and actions Molokai has made for itself.

There is the stereotype that we are an island of activists quick to say “no” to everything and everyone we don’t like. Looking at the history of activism on Molokai, one could say that this sentiment is mostly true.

However what isn’t typically recognized is that we have been coming together as a community and planning for decades. Activism here is guided by an organized effort – a consensus of many who are protecting the cultural and environmental resources which make Molokai Molokai.

Saying “no” in the spirit of protectionism has been mastered here on Molokai but it is only half the picture. Continually shutting out development and greedy corporations leaves a puka (a hole or gap) providing an open door for the next development to find a foothold.

This is why saying “yes” is the next chapter in Molokai’s history of activism. Being able to say “yes” turns an activist into an advocate. In the past year, a group of young leaders set out to put together a comprehensive document that includes over thirty years of planning on Molokai. The group included plans that were state and county sponsored, various plans from private developers, and a myriad of other studies pertaining to Molokai.


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