Why We Must Save Paradise
By Mike Bond
Hawaii has changed much in recent years. Places on the Big Island that were narrow country roads in my youth are now four-lane highways. What were taro fields and home gardens on Maui are now parking lots and air-conditioned shopping centers.
Even Molokai is threatened. Mainland energy companies, working with Molokai Ranch, want to turn thousands of beautiful Molokai acres into an industrial zone and construct high voltage cables through Molokai reef and the whale sanctuary. They would bring in hundreds of foreign and mainland workers, and ruin our culture and our aina forever.
So we have to protect what’s left, and malama Molokai, our culture and our greater ohana – which is everyone who loves and tries to protect Hawaii.
That’s why I wrote “Saving Paradise” – to celebrate the beauty and significance of the real Hawaii. It’s the story of an Afghanistan vet and surfer who tries to live a pono life and take care of our aina and our greater ohana. He gets caught up in a brutal murder of a beautiful young Honolulu reporter, finds the blame placed on him, and has to free himself, find her killers, and save the last of Hawaii’s sacred aina.
As I write in “Saving Paradise,” the real Hawaii has “the greatest mariners the world has ever known, brave warriors and wise healers, a deep-hearted family connection reaching hundreds of people and across whole islands, love of the ancestors, a magical way of life.” It is not just our aina we are losing – it is our entire way of life.
It’s the beauty of places like Molokai, not just Halawa and Kamakou, but also Mo`omomi and the west end, the sacredness of Kalaupapa, the unique significance of La`au and Ilio, the untouched beaches, rugged mountains, rolling hills and vast vistas surrounded by the ocean on all sides, that we must defend. The right to grow and gather our own food and raise our children and grandchildren in peace, natural beauty, and wisdom.
The hero of “Saving Paradise” says Hawaii is a pearl we’ve been given that we’re crushing into concrete. And that we must revere the land and sea because the land and sea are life, and to love and protect them is the pono way, the only righteous life.
To love Molokai is to love one ohana. We on Molokai must save paradise. Because if we don’t, no one else will.
Bestselling novelist, war and human rights correspondent, international energy expert and award-winning poet, Mike Bond has worked in many dangerous, remote and war-torn regions of the world. His critically acclaimed novels depict the innate hunger of the human heart for good, the intense joys of love, the terror and fury of battle, the sinister vagaries of international politics and the beauty of the vanishing natural world. He lives on Molokai.
Kalele Bookstore will present Mike reading from and signing copies of “Saving Paradise” next Tuesday evening, Dec. 11, beginning at 5:30 p.m.