Monday, November 01, 2010


Life of the Land: A Brief History

By Henry Curtis

The Hawaii Environmental Movement: A Brief History

The first conservation movement in Hawai`i was The Outdoor Circle, founded in 1911 by wives of prominent people. Its first big claim to fame was the undergrounding requirement for electric distribution lines in urban Honolulu in the 1920s. The Outdoor Circle transformed itself into an environmental movement in the 1990s under the direction of its CEO Mary Steiner.

The next environmental organization on the scene was the Hawai`i Audubon Society (HAS) in 1928, followed by the Conservation Council for Hawai`i (CCH) in 1953-54. The National Wildlife Foundation (NWF) sought to establish itself here, but found it difficult, and since the same type of people became members of both CCH and NWF, CCH became the Hawai`i affiliate of the NWF.

Save Our Surf (SOS) was the first grassroots destabilizing force in Hawai`i. It was founded between 1961 and 1964 by the late John Kelly, Jr. SOS was a grassroots group which protected the coastline from massive developments.

The Sierra Club established a Hawai`i branch in 1968. At that time, affiliates outside of the headquarters in California were small and tended to focus on hiking.

Life of the Land burst onto the scene in 1970.

President Richard Nixon signed into law the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) which required a federal Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for projects involving the federal government in January 1970. Hawai`i adopted the EIS process by 1973 Executive Order and then by law in 1974. At that time, all of Hawaii’s lawyers were educated abroad in U.S. law schools. The UH Law School opened its doors in the fall of 1973. The first set of second year Hawai`i-trained law students became law interns in the summer of 1975. The first class graduated in 1976.

Life of the Land went through four phases in the 1970s. It was founded around February 1970, two months before the first Earth Day, by a group of young mothers who were appalled that raw sewage was being dumped in the ocean. They went down to Waikiki beach with brochures that asked: Do you know what you are swimming in? There were no waste water treatment facilities in Hawai`i at that time. This direct action led to the first sewage treatment plant at Sand Island.

Then men joined the organization. They needed a name, a structure, and leaders. The two final names considered were Life of the Land and the Mad Marching Mothers of Manoa. This was the era of Tony Hodges, Gavin Daws (co-author of Land and Power in Hawai`i) and Sophie Ann Aoki (daughter of Rev. Mitsuo Aoki). In 1976 Tony left and the organization went through a few years of internal reflection.

In the late 1970s three groups emerged from Life of the Land (LOL).

Hawaii’s Thousand Friends was spun off by members who felt that LOL had been so intense in the 1970s that a new group was needed. LOL lent the money to establish the group, and there was talk for a few years about merging LOL into Hawaii’s Thousand Friends.

Another Spinoff was Kauai’s Thousand Friends, led by former LOLer, and future Kaua`i Mayor, Joann Yukimura.

The other “spinoff’ was the formation of the Neighborhood Justice Center (NJC) of Honolulu in 1979. Certain individuals associated with LOL went through the LOL files seeking to learn lessons regarding the extensive litigation LOL was involved with, and then sought to use this information to create an alternative mediation approach.

The Nature Conservancy of Hawai`i was founded in 1973.

The years between 1987 and 1994 marked a vast transformation within Hawai`i organizations that preceded a period of stability and continuity.

New organizations were established: Maui Tomorrow (1989); Sierra Club Legal Defense Fund, Honolulu office (now called EarthJustice); and the Green Party of Hawai`i (1992). The Green Party's Keiko Bonk would become the first elected Green Party candidate in the US to head a county council.

Hawaiian organizations sprang up: Ka Lahui Hawai`i (1987), a grassroots initiative for Hawaiian sovereignty; and ‘Ahahui Mālama i ka Lōhaki, a coalition supporting efforts to conserve native Hawaiian ecosystems and species (1994).

Donna Wong became Executive Director of Hawaii’s 1000 Friends (1990).

Mary Steiner became CEO of The Outdoor Circle (c1991) and began transforming the group into a statewide environmental organization.

David Frankel graduated from law school in 1992 and became the Executive Director of the Hawai`i Sierra Club. He took a year off in the middle of his two terms to serve as the number three person in the Office of State Planning under Greg Pai. Frankel single-handedly transformed the Sierra Club from a small state organization into a powerhouse.

Henry Curtis and Kat Brady became the Executive Director and Assistant Executive Director of LOL (1994-95).

Mike Gabbard was born in Fagatogo, American Samoa; served on the Honolulu City Council (2003-2005) and became a State Senator in 2006. He currently chairs the Senate Energy Committee and has received several awards including: Legislators Who Made a Difference - Sierra Club, Hawaii Chapter (2009), Lifetime Achievement Award - Knights of Columbus (2009), and the Compassionate Legislator Award - People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (2008).

Senator Mike Gabbard “As the Senate’s Energy and Environment Chair, I always value the input I get from Life of the Land when it comes to environmental and energy issues. They always do their homework and have the facts to back up their testimony. Hawai’i is a better place because of their commitment and care for our land and its people.”

Duane Preble is an artist; University of Hawai`i Professor Emeritus; Board of Trustees, Honolulu Academy of Arts; co-author with his wife Sarah Preble of "Artforms: An Introduction to the Visual Arts"; and a long-time member of the Kapakahi Jug Band. Duane opened one of his books with a quote from Swedish sculptor Claes Oldenburg: "I'd like to turn people on to the fact that the world is form not just function and money."

Duane Preble: "Sarah and I were friends with those who began LOL and were among those who became early founding members. I had spent the sixties fighting the construction onslaught with photography, documenting threatened and disappearing natural beauty and the new urban chaos that was turning many tree-shaded Honolulu neighborhoods into instant slums. The wall of massive shore-crowding hotels along Waikiki beach was the most appalling. When LOL came into existence Honolulu-- and particularly the Waikiki shore--was under major over-building, euphemistically called "development". The few environmental organizations active at that time were either narrowly focused -- i.e. The Save Diamond Head Association -- or were oriented toward saving endangered species and/or large natural areas in a pristine natural state. The leaders and members of these groups tended to be polite, white Kama'ainas who were also members of the business, cultural and political elite of Hawaii. Hawaiians had yet to begin their own save-the-aina campaigns. By the late sixties as the whole environmental movement began to take off young activists became increasingly dissatisfied with the go-slow, don't-rock-the-boat attitudes of those who were either too passive or too complicit to prevent the damage being done to Hawaii's great natural assets. In the seventies, Life of the Land moved into its major and effective efforts to legal block poor development."

The Beginning

Life of the Land was founded by 15 young women around February 1970, a couple of months before the first Earth Day. The history of Life of the Land can be broken down into several phases: (1) the no-name, no-leader group of women (1970); (2) the Tony Hodges era (1970-76); (3) the post Hodges era (1976-94); and (4) the Henry Curtis – Kat Brady era (1994-).

In 1971 Life of the Land started its Environmental Research and Law Program (ERLP). Supplementing the half-dozen plus legal team of attorneys were law interns (usually law students who have completed 2 of their 3 years at law school). The ERLP started with 9 in the summer of 1971 and 19 in the summer of 1972. These interns had to pay their own way to Hawai`i. The ERLP was Hawaii’s first public interest law firm. The ERLP attorneys represented several Hawaiian, community, and non-profit organizations in legal issues. The ERLP legal team was larger than either EarthJustice’s or Native Hawaiian Legal Corporation (NHLC) is today: EJ currently has 4 attorneys and NHLC has 5 attorneys.

Newsweek (March 1, 1971): “Life of the Land filed a flurry of lawsuits aimed at pressuring the state to enforce its pollution laws.”


The 45 square mile Kaho‘olawe was bombed from 1941-1990. In 1965 an atomic blast was simulated with massive amounts of TNT.

In 1969 protests ensued when a five-hundred-pound bomb was found over seven miles across the channel on Maui land leased to then Maui Mayor Elmer Carvalho. In 1971 Carvalho and the environmental group Life of the Land sued to stop the bombing and sought an environmental impact statement (EIS) for the navy's use of the island. The navy released a hastily prepared EIS in 1972, and the lawsuit was dismissed.
Kanaka Maoli Kahu Charles ("Uncle Charlie") Kauluwehi Maxwell, Sr. and others founded the Protect Kaho’olawe ‘Ohana (PKO) in 1974-75 and occupied the island in 1976 during America's Bicentennial.

The nine initial occupiers were Dr. Emmet Aluli, Kimo Aluli, George Helm, Ian Lind, Ellen Miles, Stephen Morse, Kawaipuna Prejan, Walter Ritte Jr., and Karla Villalba.

During efforts to reclaim the island, Kimo Mitchell and George Helm disappeared at sea off Kaho'olawe in 1977.

Archeological studies conducted by the navy in 1976-80 found 544 archaeological sites dating from 100 A.D. These sites included shrines, quarries, and petroglyphs. The government approved funding to start cleaning up the island in 1993 and the following year Kaho'olawe was conveyed back to the State of Hawai'i to be managed by the Kaho'olawe Island Reserve Commission (KIRC).

In 1977 "the PKO won a court victory when federal judge Richard Wong ruled that the navy violated both the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and an executive order that required the preservation of historic sites. The navy was ordered to redo its 1972 EIS but was allowed to continue training." (See: The Militarization of Hawai`i: Occupation, Accommodation, and Resistance by Kyle Kajihiro, found in: Asian settler colonialism: from local governance to the habits of everyday in Hawai`i Edited by Candice Fujikane and Jonathan Y Okamura, UH Press 2008, p180)

Mansel G. Blackford:  "Navy officials prepared an environmental impact statement in early 1972 in response to the lawsuit. The statement admitted that shelling and bombing hurt Kaho`olawe, stating that 'the adverse effects of cratering, comouflets, sprays of shell and bomb fragments, ground disruptions, water pollution, destruction of vegetation and animal life, and other related effects.' Even so, the statement highlighted perceived 'beneficial environmental effects of military use,' ranging from pulverizing the island’s soil, thus making it amenable to the growth of vegetation, to the accumulation of rain runoff in bomb craters. Then too, navy representatives argued that 'the mineral content per acre of the target sites, from [shell and bomb] fragments, might someday prove economically worthwhile from the standpoint of salvage and retrieval of some of the metallic alloy material involved,' 'Unexploded dud ordnance' did constitute 'a major problem,' but it was one 'without noticeably adverse effect on the human population spread within the Hawaiian archipelago.' In short, according to navy officials, 'thirty years of use of the island as a target site' had 'slightly improved the balance of the island’s ecosystems.' The navy’s report claimed that Kaho`olawe 'contained no areas of particular aesthetic value.'"  (Pathways to the Present: U.S. Development and Its Consequences in the Pacific. University of Hawai`i Press, 2007, pages 36, 40)

Hawaii Business News (Cover Story, November 1973): “Ecology itself has rapidly become a national issue, about as hard to oppose as motherhood or the flag. But while most people agree that something must be done about guarding the nation’s environment, few agree on priorities or even on a definition of the problems. Because ecology has no clear manifesto, it has spawned all sorts of groups and movements. Often this splintering has made much of the protest ineffective. Not so in the case of Life of the Land, which in Hawaii has provided a focal point for a widely diverse group of characters and forces – a polarizing force on the local scene that is disrupting long established political, economic and social alignments. With its bold, sometimes impertinently aggressive tactics LOL has displayed a persistent knack of hitting the State’s governmental and business establishment where it hurts – in the pocketbook. ...The remarkable thing about Life of the Land is the fact that it has succeeded as well as it has against such a broad and potent array of opposition.”

Life of the Land is waging a vigorous fight against polluters in and out of court.” Stewart Udall. 1970. [U.S. Secretary of the Interior (1961-1969)]


Wall Street Journal (April 5, 1972. Lead story, p A1): “When the southerly kona winds blow onto shore trapping auto exhaust, the mountains of this island of Oahu disappear in the haze, and this city, famed for its tropical splendor, is blanketed in yellow smog. The Pacific Ocean nearby isn’t so pretty either. Only 3,500 feet from shore and less than four miles from Waikiki Beach, 55 million gallons of raw sewage churn into the sea daily, discoloring and polluting the water. ...Lawsuits and lobbying efforts by Life of the Land are forcing the state health department and the administration of Gov. John Burns to devote increasing time to pollution matters.”

The President's Water Pollution Control Advisory Board, Honolulu, Hawaii June 7-10, 1971: “On June 7, the Board made an inspection tour of the Island of Oahu including Pearl Harbor. Pollution problems were viewed from the lookouts at Punchbowl and Nuuanu Pali, and from two Marine Corps heliocopters [sic]. The Board viewed raw sewage being discharged from Honolulu's 50 million-gallon-per-day outfall off Sand Island, a short distance from the Honolulu shoreline and the beaches of Waikiki; sediment and soil erosion problems in Kaneohe Bay; and oil and sewage mixing with silt in Pearl Harbor. ...

On June 8, the Board traveled by plane to Hilo ...The primary pollution problem emanating from the sugar industry is the dumping of mud, silt and cane trash from sugar cane washing operations into the ocean. This is affecting beaches, streams, fishing grounds and coral reefs throughout the State. ...

The Board's hearing on water pollution problems in the State of Hawaii were held in the Sheraton-Waikiki Hotel on June 9, 8:30 AM to 5:30 PM and from 8:00 PM to 11:30 PM. ...

Mr. Tony Hodges, President, Life of the Land ...stated that the State of Hawaii has not enforced, is not enforcing, and will not enforce the water quality standards, and the standards will not be enforced until the Federal Government intervenes. ...Give citizens the right to sue officials to compel enforcement of anti-pollution laws. ...A tourist swimming in polluted waters in Hawaii makes the pollution interstate. EPA should pursue this concept so that Hawaii can have some Federal enforcement action.”

Honolulu Star Bulletin (December 4, 1980, pages A1-A2): “Life of the Land has been concerned about Island water supply for years and has advocated state management and control of such vital areas as the Pearl Harbor aquifer. A year ago the state designated the Pearl Harbor water basin as critical and placed it under state management.”

Honolulu Star-Bulletin (March 14, 1995): Key leaders left mark on the state during Hawaii’s growth years. “The effect a person can have on a place is immeasurable. Here are the 10 people or organizations who, from 1965 to 1975, helped make Hawaii what it is today”. There list contained 6 individuals and 4 organizations: John Burns, Tom Gill, Land Use Commission, George Helm, Dan Inouye, Patsy Mink, Bishop Estate, Unions, Life of the Land, Ah Quon McElrath. Honorable Mentioned: Henry Kaiser, Frank Fasi, William S. Richardson court, Myron B. Thompson, Robert Oshiro, George Ariyoshi.

Land Use

Over the decades, LOL has been involved in Hawai`i’s major environmental and social struggles throughout the island archipelago. Much of Hawai`i’s land use law was written as a result of Life of the Land’s cases.

Life of the Land has led or played a role in struggles involving airports, harbors, highways, land conversions, cultural sites and practices, water, and access. Just to mention a few of these: residential and commercial developments at Kawela Bay, O`ahu; Lihi Lani, O`ahu; Makena Beach, Mau`i; Nukolii, Kaua`i; Kaluakoi, Moloka`i; Kalama Valley, O`ahu; East Maui Irrigation (EMI), Moloka`i Irrigation System (MIS), Wind Farms at Kaheawa, Kahuku & Kahe; power Plants at Kahe, Keahole, Campbell Industrial Park; Harbor Expansions at Maalaea, Barbers Point, and Kaunakakai; the Kalaeloa Base Relocation and Closure (BRAC) process, Village Park disease cluster, Makua Bombing, Enchanted Lake sewage spills, Waimanalo leach fields, Papohaku Sand Mining, Kaluakoi; the expansion of the Mauna Kea Astronomy facilities.

Star-Bulletin Editorial (May 13, 1975): “Useful Gadfly. ...Life of the Land fills a near-vacuum in the State in terms of a citizens’ lobby to challenge the establishment’s policy decisions ...particularly in the all important areas of land use and environmental protect."

Life of the Land supports sustainable agriculture. Almost 60% of the value of agricultural in the State is from seed production, flowers, coffee and macadamia nuts. Hawai`i needs to increase diversified agriculture to promote local food production. Life of the Land is working to protect the State’s dwindling supply of agricultural land and opposes the urbanization of working farming communities including Kamilonui.

The H-3 Highway

Author Tom Coffman: “Like the controversy over Waiahole-Waikane, the issue of whether to build an additional freeway to Windward O`ahu deeply divided people along pro- and antidevelopment lines during the 1970s and well into the 1980s. The freeway battle – in some ways unique in the country – was a prime example of how the power and largesse of the federal government together undermined the idea of Hawai`i working out its own future. ...The environmental group Life of the Land (LOL) had just begun to explore the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act, which had been passed in 1970. A young activist named Jo Ann Yukimura, who later became the antigrowth mayor of Kaua`i, wrote a brief on the EIS.” (The Island Edge of America: A Political History of Hawai`i” By Tom Coffman, 2003 p250, 252.)

Rep. Cynthia Thielen is a Republican member of the Hawai`i House of Representatives and was the Republican nominee for United States Senate in 2006, challenging incumbent Democrat Daniel Akaka. Cynthia has made energy policy her key issue, focusing on wave energy. According to the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) each of the islands of Hawai`i could provide all of its own electricity using wave energy. Cynthia was as an attorney for the Stop H-3 movement.

Rep. Cynthia Thielen "Life of the Land was one of the major, well-respected environmental organizations in the late 1970's and 1980's, when I was co-counsel on the Stop H-3 case. Their members weren't afraid to tackle the big guys."

Scott Wilson, architect, has installed multiple renewable and energy efficiency systems in his house (a historic home which requires that the view from the road not change). He serves on the Board of Directors, American Institute of Architects (AIA) Honolulu; Chair, AIA Honolulu Transit Task Force; and is a former President, Malama o Manoa.

Scott Wilson: "I first became aware of LOL in conjunction with the H-3 project. I was impressed that a small local organization dared to speak out against a big federal project and was actually successful in stopping it for over 20 years. Boyce Brown, bless him wherever he may be, work tirelessly and gave a chunk of his life to defend the beauty of this island."

Neighborhood Boards

There are currently about 35 Neighborhood Boards across the island of O`ahu (exceptions are military lands and Honolulu International Airport). In the late 1970s LOL founded eight of the Neighborhood Boards: Waikiki; St. Louis-Kapahulu-Diamond Head; Ala Moana-Kakaako; Nuuanu-Papakolea; Downtown; Aiea; Pearl City; and North Shore-Waialua-Hale`iwa.


The PUC approved plans for the Gas Company (GASCO) and Hawaiian Electric Company (HECO), in 1970 and 1972 respectively, to have customers pay for their ad campaigns promoting increased energy use.

Life of the Land had filed a Motion to Intervene in the HECO case. The intervention was denied but Life of the Land was permitted to ask questions through the PUC staff.

The PUC staff represented the public in regulatory proceedings being conducted by the Commission. Following a devastating 3-volume audit of the PUC by the Legislative Reference Bureau in 1974-76, this function was renamed the Division of Consumer Advocacy (Consumer Advocate) and moved into the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs (DCCA).

Life of the Land convinced the staff that requiring ratepayers to pay for advertisement to promote electricity over gas was a bad idea. But the Commission approved it. Life of the Land appealed. The Commission challenged the right of Life of the Land to appeal arguing that since they were not a party in the proceedings they had no right to appeal.

Justice Benjamin Menor wrote the unanimous Hawaii Supreme Court reversing the Commission on the use of promotional advertisement:

“The appellants are users of electrical energy, and two members of appellant Life of the Land, in opposing the rate increase, testified that they would be paying the higher utility rates. A ratepayer who is compelled to pay higher utility rates by agency action is a person specially, personally and adversely affected. The fact that he shares this additional burden with all other users does not disentitle him from challenging the results. ...

The PUC staff, however, failed to appeal the decision of the PUC with regard to the rate increase. The practical effect of denying the appellants standing here would be to silence the voice of all those who would speak in the public interest, a duty that normally resides with the PUC staff. We hold, therefore, that where the appellants have been "aggrieved" by the action of the PUC, and where they were involved as "participants" during the agency hearings, and where the PUC staff (the agency through which they participated at the hearings) has failed to appeal the decision of the PUC, the appellants may challenge the order of the PUC in this court. We shall thus consider their appeal. ...

The appellants contend that the PUC's decision to permit HECO to include promotional expenditures in its budget for ratemaking purposes was arbitrary and unreasonable, and contrary to the best interests of the general public. The PUC staff found itself in complete agreement with the appellants on this issue ...The commission, however, approved ...

The programs due to competitive fuels are designed to attract new customers and, where possible, capture customers and usage from the Honolulu Gas Company [hereinafter GASCO], while defending against similar efforts on the part of GASCO, the electric company's sole competitor in this area. They consist mainly of allowances of payments to owners and developers who build all-electric homes and apartments and advertise them for sale as such. ...

The disturbing aspect of the PUC decision to allow expenditures for these programs is the rationale behind it. GASCO had been granted an allowance for similar promotional expenditures earlier. See Decision and Order No. 2621 (PUC of Hawaii, Aug. 31, 1970). GASCO, in making its request, had argued that the expenses were necessary to attract customers away from Hawaiian Electric. HECO, in its present application for a rate increase, pointed to the GASCO allowance as justification for its own request. It seems apparent from the record that the PUC's decision was based on this particular argument of HECO. The PUC has consistently failed to meet squarely the issue of the reasonableness of competitive advertising expenditures. In late 1963, the PUC ordered the opening of Docket No. 1581 for the avowed purpose of inquiring into the promotional practices of the utilities ...On April 24, 1964, the commission issued its Order No. 1417, requiring the utilities to show cause why certain of their promotional practices should not be discontinued. To date no concrete action aimed at a final resolution of the problem has been taken by the commission. On the contrary, it has recently closed Docket No. 1581, thereby assuring the continuance of its practice of passing upon allowances for promotional expenditures on a case-by-case basis, and lending unwarranted validity to the circular arguments of HECO and GASCO.

One of the primary factors the PUC must take into consideration when it fixes rates is fairness to the ratepayer. Obviously, the particular type of advertising competition involved here does not benefit the ratepayer. ...There are alternative, viable means to promote sound competition among utilities, particularly between two utility companies (HECO and GASCO) which have already established themselves in Hawaii's marketplace. Efficiency of management, technological improvements, superiority of service, and economy of costs should more properly provide the bases for any competition between them.

By basing its decision purely on the previous grant of similar expenditures to a competing utility, the PUC has failed to give adequate consideration to the interests of the ratepayer and has thereby abused its discretion. ...

Moreover, since the appliances being promoted by HECO are those generally in use during peak-load periods, it is difficult to see how HECO can argue that these expenses encourage the increase of off-peak utility loads. ...

In the face of dwindling oil supplies and spiralling costs, promotional practices which are wasteful or which only serve to fuel the energy crisis should be viewed by a regulatory agency with extreme caution.”

The Honolulu Star Bulletin Editorial (Right to Sue, May 9, 1975): “’Right-to-sue’ has always been a red flag in the environmental area. Environmentalists rally round. They see it as one of their most effective tools for stopping environmental abuse. The Establishment cringes at its potential for harassment, delays of projects, extra costs. As a result of a unanimous State Supreme Court decision this week, the fight may largely be settled. A wide right to sue is now law, the Supreme Court has held. The court placed a broad interpretation on the right-to-sue privileges spelled out in the Hawaii Administrative Procedure Act ...It held that two Life of the Land officers were aggrieved parties in a Hawaiian Electric rate setting case because their bi-monthly electric bills are affected.”

Where Are They Today?

Madelyn D'Enbeau (a founder of the pre Life of the Land group and former wife of Tony Hodges) and Jackie Mahi Erickson (LOL Board of 1971) both graduated from the Richardson Law School in 1977. Madelyn is a Maui County Deputy Corporation Counsel. Jackie became the only LOL Board member to join the HECO Board. Tony Hodges moved to California. His son Marc founded the Maui Tea Party. Linda Spaulding is a writer who lives in California. Pegge Hopper has continued her art work and has a gallery on Nuuanu Avenue in Honolulu. Helga Frankel worked several years at the Legislature and her son David became head of the Hawaii Sierra Club. LOL Board member Andre Tatibout (1973) is married to Jane Tatibouet (former University of Hawai'i regent, former state representative, past leader of the Hawai'i Republican Party and former president of the Girl Scout Council of Hawai'i). According to Honolulu Magazine, they live in the 18th most expensive home on Oahu.

Former members of the Board of Directors of Life of the Land included: Peter Apo, E Cooper Brown, Dennis Callen, Clarence Ching, Chris Conybeare, Karen Holt, Lea Hong, George Hudes, Liko Martin, Bob Nakata, Tom Pico, Sam Pooley, Bill Tam, and John Witeck.  Attorneys and staff members have included: Jan Takeyama (Jan Sullivan), Larry McCreery, Phillip Esterman and Henry M Domzalski III (United Nations High Commission for Refugees, 1981-2008)

Art Mori, Chaminade University chemistry Professor Emeritus; community activist; and `Aina Haina Community Association member: “I believe that the sustaining ethos of LOL is its unyielding independence.”


Kaua`i has been a testing ground for pesticides, from DDT during WWII to Agent Orange during the Vietnam War.

In 1975 the federal government held a hearing in Honolulu regarding their proposal to burn Agent Orange on a ship in the Pacific Ocean. According to the New York Times (April 27, 1975), the only opposition came from representatives of the Trust Territory of the Pacific and Life of the Land.

The EPA had canceled domestic use of heptachlor for all food crops and home use in 1976. Cancel does not mean banned. As the cancellation was being discussed, the pesticide could continue to be produced and stockpiled. Once it was cancelled, existing stocks of chlordane/heptachlor could continue to be allowed for commercial uses such as termite control in Hawai`i.

Heptachlor was sprayed on pineapple plants to control ants responsible for the spread of mealy bugs. After the pineapple was cut, the heptachlor-contaminated "green chop" (leaves) were fed to dairy cows on Oahu. Residents ate beef, milk, and cream after the EPA knew of the problem in 1980 and did nothing about it. In 1982 the State of Hawai`i Department of Health began issuing multiple recalls of dairy products.

A victory in the multi-million-dollar class action lawsuit led to the establishment of the Hawai`i Heptachlor Research & Education Foundation to handle medical monitoring, scientific research and education.

Honolulu Advertiser (June 11, 1986): “Good heptachlor call. The settlement of a class-action lawsuit by Hawaii consumers over the 1982 heptachlor contamination of milk here is heartening. ...This is a victory for consumers – led in this case by the Conservation Council for Hawaii, Life of the Land and the Childcare Switchboard

Heptachlor was also used in residential communities. Chlordane, containing 10-20% heptachlor, was used in the manufacture of termite-resistant plywood and sprayed along buildings for termite control. Studies in the 1980s found that Manoa Stream was contaminated from numerous pesticides including chlordane. To avoid contamination the federal government advises staying out of contaminated streams and to avoid playing in contaminated dirt. Most agricultural, commercial and domestic use of heptachlor in the U.S. was phased out between 1974 and 1988. The EPA banned chlordane in 1988 although Del Monte continued to use the pesticide till at least 1993.

Pesticides (things which kill pests) include those poisons which kill only one type of pest: fungicides, herbicides, insecticides. Pesticides are composed of active and inert substances. An active substance is anything which harms a species for which the pesticide is designed to harm. An inert ingredient is either non-toxic, or harms species other than what the species for which that pesticide is designed to harm.

Assume for a moment that there are two substances, one which harms all plants but no animals, and the other which harms all animals and no plants. If a formulation has both substances in it, then one substance is active if the pesticide is designed to kill plants, while the other substance is active if the pesticide is designed to kill animals. Similarly one is inert for formulas designed to kill animals, and the other is inert for formulas designed to kill plants.

Inert ingredients can include other pesticides, dispersing agents, adhesive agents, and absorbing agents. As a general rule, inert ingredients are not less toxic than active ingredients. What makes inert ingredients interesting is that they do not have to appear on the label since they are trade secrets (Confidential Business Information).

Federal clean air, clean water and toxics legislation during the 1960s-1980s did not apply to pesticides since pesticides were given their own category called ‘economic poisons’. Federal laws regulating air and water emissions were enacted in the late 1960s, but between 1965 and 1990 only one minor economic poison law past.

Pesticide manufacturers worked federal laws so that there is a distinction between banning and cancelling a pesticide. If the EPA decides that a pesticide can’t be used, then it must buy up the surplus. Since this action can be anticipated, pesticide manufacturers can race to produce as much of the pesticide as possible just before its use is forbidden. The more common approach is for the EPA to state that after a certain date it can no longer be sold, but that existing stocks may continue to be used.

DDT is a unique pesticide. The discovery of DDT led to a Nobel Prize for its founder. No other pesticide has this distinction. The Pesticide Action Network and the United Nations Environment Program has identified DDT as one of the "dirty dozen" pesticides in the world, a persistent organic pollutant. DDT is used as a poster child by the extreme right, charging that DDT is the most effective tool against malaria and that environmentalists have killing millions of people in Africa because they got a largely harmless chemical banned.

DDT was sort of banned in the U.S. in 1972. That is to say, it could not be used as an active ingredient in pesticide formulations used on food. The California Department of Forestry used DDT in through the 1990s to control pests in state forests. It was also used as an “inert” ingredient in pesticides such as dicofol, which was used in Hawai`i in the 1980s.

DBCP was banned in the US but allowed to be used in Hawai`i based on the untested and faulty assumption that our rock formations would prevent pesticide contamination of our aquifers. Life of the Land objected to Hawai`i’s exemption from the national ban which became effective in 1981. Maui was the last place in the US where DBCP was used. In the mid 1980s there was a proposal to get rid of the remaining US stockpiles of DBCP by shipping them then Maui, spreading the DBCP out on fields, and allowing it to evaporate.

Honolulu Weekly. Earth Day edition. April 1996. ”Life of the Land has become synonymous with environmental activism in Hawaii.”


Gentry built the Waialae Iki V development through a historic hiking and hunting trail. Gentry guaranteed “continued public access” in exchange for construction rights. Gentry then gated their community. In 1995 LOL fought a 6-month battle before the Board of Land and Natural Resources. We allied ourselves with three other groups including the Pig Hunters of Oahu and won access and a parking lot at the trailhead for the public.

During the 1980s Ko Olina created 4 man-made coves along their beachfront. Ko Olina signed Unilateral Agreements with the City and County of Honolulu and with LOL guaranteeing shoreline access at these four man-made lagoons. The access was subsequently denied as the developer blocked access to two of the four man-made lagoons. After violating the agreement, the developer went before the Honolulu Planning Commission to request a permit for a clubhouse at Ko Olina. Life of the Land strenuously objected stating that Ko Olina had not yet fulfilled its obligations under the agreement. Failing other means, we occupied one of the lagoons and forced Ko Olina to open all four lagoons. The resort also fought against public access to a boat harbor that was also a condition placed on their development permits.

Ka`ena Point is home to rare plant species found nowhere else. It has also been used historically by local fisherman. In the mid 1990s GTE Hawaiian Tel was granted a ten-foot easement to lay a telecommunications cable in the gulch, but went far beyond their permit and opened up the area to off-road activity by joy riders, many observed to be part of the military. We strenuously fought for both the protection of the area and for the right of local fisherman to continue to have access.

In the process GTE Hawaiian Tel destroyed 2 of 3 sacred pohaku there. Kat Brady met with Hawaiian Tel officials and spoke with some of the workers at that time (unfortunately, after the destruction occurred). The workers were plagued by bad dreams after the pohaku were destroyed and told her that some of them went back at midnight one night with ho`okupu and to ask forgiveness for the damage they had done.

After Hawaiian Tel cleared this huge area it rained and then off road vehicles used it as a mud bog destroying many native plants and ridding up on the dunes. Some parcels of Ka`ena on the Mokuleia side is considered 'unencumbered land'. DLNR wants to be able to have police enforcement from the destruction of off-road vehicles destroying the burials in the dunes, sacred sites, and the native plant environment there. Life of the Land has been working with the fishers, the state, and other interested groups to protect the area from not only off road damage, but from development as well.

DLNR proposed about 10 years ago to implement their 1978 plan for a road, comfort stations, and eco-cabins. Life of the Land opposed it, instead pushing for Ka`ena to be a natural raw coastal area of immense sacred and environmental importance without development.

Oswald Stender graduated from Kamehameha Schools and became chief executive officer for the Estate of James Campbell. As a proponent of geothermal, Os was the project manager (representing the Campbell Estate) for the True Mid-Pacific Geothermal Venture/Campbell Estate project at Kahaualea/Wao Kele O Puna and was the one who shepherded the land exchange between the Campbell Estate and the State. He became a Bishop Estate Trustee and then went on to be a trustee for the Office of Hawaiian Affairs (OHA), a position he currently holds. In his 70s he received the Honolulu Forever Young award.

Oswald Stender: “While many who seek to urbanize Hawaii are frustrated to have to deal with LOL, LOL has been the watchdog to control and protect Hawaii’s unique and precious environment. Hawaii needs to protect against wildcat over-development.”

The Military

Life of the Land played a significant role on-Department of Defense created Technical Review Committees (TRC) and Congressionally-approved Restoration Advisory Boards (RAB). These were created as an interface between the military and civilian populations regarding past acts of contamination. The military went looking for contamination while the State and Counties minimized problems on non-military land. The military was willing to test cutting edge cleanup methods. Life of the Land served on the Army’s Schofield TRC, the Navy’s Pearl Harbor RAB, and the Air Force’s Hickam RAB (LOL’s Henry Curtis served as the community co-chair from 1996-2005) and the Air Force’s Central Oahu RAB (which included Kahuku, Kaena, Kauai, Wake Island and the Pacific). On most of these boards Life of the Land was the lone environmental voice.

Waipio Peninsula

Homaikaia (Walker Bay) is an arm of Kaihuopala`ai (West Loch) along the western shore of Waipio Peninsula. On the north shore of Homaikaia was the 195 acre Loko Hanaloa (fish pond) which was filled in. On the south shore of Homaikaia was a sugar industry pesticide and fertilizer mixing area. Dioxin was used to fortify pesticides. The chemicals were then loaded into backpacks, trucks and planes (a local airstrip was built at the site) for spraying on fields.

The Navy had acquired the land through legal proceedings and condemnation from the John Papa `I`I Estate (which had used the area for growing sugarcane), and then leased the land to Oahu Sugar Company (OSCO) which used the area for growing sugarcane.

Analysis of the former pesticide mixing area revealed high contamination levels. Normally, when contamination is found, one gradually moves outward from the suspected site to find out where the boundary is. In this case, every surface, subsurface and groundwater borehole resulted in significant hits, with one site recording a dioxin concentration 1500 times above the residential remediation level (300 times above the industrial remediation level). No one calculated where the boundary was. One DOH official said it was the most contaminated site in the U.S. west of the Rockies. For several years nothing was done about it. Eventually a fence enclosed the area. On a site visit, the fence was found to have been breached and bicycle tracks inside revealed that children had been playing there. Each year DOH filed a report with the State Legislature stating that it was a high priority issue.

In a filing to the State Legislature regarding its activities for FY 2002, the Hawai`i Department of Health’s Hazard Evaluation and Emergency Response (HEER) Office stated: “Sampling at this site by the HEER Office has indicated the elevated levels of dioxins, DDE, DDT ...This site has been given a high priority ranking by the HEER Office. The responsible party has recently conducted additional sampling to characterize the extent and nature of contamination.”

Oahu Sugar Company was acquired by Kaanapali Land LLC. According to a Kaanapali Land LLC filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (Form 10-Q, dated March 31, 2010): In 1998 the Hawaii Department of Health issued an order to Oahu Sugar Co to conduct an environmental site assessment. Oahu Sugar submitted a Remedial Investigation Report to the HDOH. “Attempts at negotiating such a settlement were fruitless and Oahu Sugar received an order from EPA in March 2005 that purported to require certain testing and remediation of the site.” Oahu Sugar declared bankruptcy and Kaanapali Land LLC alleged that “the deadline for filing proofs of claim against Oahu Sugar with the bankruptcy court passed in April 2006.” ... “EPA's position is that Kaanapali Land, by virtue of certain corporate actions, is jointly and severally responsible for the performance of the response actions, including, without limitation, clean-up at the site. ...Kaanapali Land believes that the U.S. Navy bears substantial liability for the site

The Pearl Harbor Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) told me last week that “under an Order issued by EPA to Kaanapali Land, LLC, apparent successor to Oahu Sugar Co, Kaanapali Land LLC is preparing a work plan to investigate the site. The study will evaluate the data gathered to characterize contaminants of concern and to delineate area of contamination. Navy and Department of Health are providing input to this effort. A determination regarding the remediation effort will made after EPA, the State Department of Health and the Navy review the data and the alternatives analysis.”

Genetic Engineering

Genetically Engineering is a very young field of study (3 decades), and the terminology, techniques, and risks are undergoing rapid change. Reasonable regulations are trailing badly. Proponents are hiding behind terms like ''life sciences''. Some positive actions have occurred (creating cheap insulin in labs), however, the money is in experimental research, not in safety or risk analysis. Focusing on the money that can flow into the state and not the risks that the public will face is short-sighted.

Genetically engineered insulin using recombinant DNA technology was approved for use by diabetics in 1982. The first transgenic domestic animal, a pig was created in 1985. The gene that is responsible for cystic fibrosis was found in 1990. The Human Genome Project to map the entire human genome was launched in 1990.

Scientists at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have successfully reconstructed the influenza virus strain responsible for the 1918 pandemic.

The Spanish Flu Pandemic affected one billion people, killing 50-100 million people in 1918-19. More people died from the Spanish flu than the Black Death Bubonic Plague (1347-51) or from World War I (1914-18). The Spanish flu is not Spanish, it was labeled so because Spain had a free press and they wrote about it.

Hawaii regulates the importation of microorganisms and their transfer between regulated labs, but not their creation in unregulated facilities. In Hawai`i it is legal to genetically engineer the flu strain responsible for Spanish Flu Pandemic in a private facility. State laws pre-date genetic engineering, and policy-makers encouraging genetic research do not want to send any ''wrong'' signals by regulating this new technology. Therefore genetic engineering work is not regulated, and you can do it in your living room with the windows open. It is legal. Life of the Land has raised this issue at the State Legislature but as yet no precautionary legislation has advanced out of any committee.

“Researchers at the Mayo Clinic created pigs with human blood flowing through their bodies. And at Stanford University in California an experiment might be done create mice with human brains. … There are currently no U.S. federal laws that address these issues.” (Animal-Human Hybrids Spark Controversy by Maryann Mott, National Geographic News, January 25, 2005)

Protests against the use of genetically engineered food have gained attention, although most genetic engineering is not done on food. Genetic engineering is being conducted in all phases of energy production: on algae for ethanol and biodiesel, on palm trees for biodiesel, on yeast for chemical processes, etc.

LOL believes that there needs to be precautionary laws enacted to protect Hawai`i’s environment from unintended consequences from unregulated genetic engineering.

Cultural Impact Statements & Environmental Justice

Life of the Land worked for several years to codify Cultural Impact Statements and for passage of Environmental Justice legislation. The work paid off. Cultural Impact Statements were adopted by the State Legislature in 2000 (Act 50, HB 2895) and passage of Act 294 in 2006 included funding to facilitate and coordinate the State's environmental justice activities.

LOL’s Assistant Executive Kat Brady testified on February 17, 1999 before the Senate Water, Land Use and Hawaiian Affairs Committee chaired by Senator Colleen Hanabusa re HB 2895: “We feel that adding cultural impact statements to Chapter 343 is more important now than ever before. Sites of cultural importance have been lost in the last several years: the blasting of the wahi pana in Ka`upulehu on Hawai`i Island and One`ula on O`ahu to name just two. As a community we need to come together to protect and preserve the history of Hawai`i.

We need to foster the concepts of aloha `aina (love of the land), malama `aina (care and nurture the land), and ho`ihi (to respect thus) for future generations. We can best do this by leading by example. For many years now, a number of us in the community have been advocating for cultural impact statements. The first year we were told that this was an administrative function, not a legislative one.

So we went to the Environmental Council and had cultural impact statements drafted into their rules. When those rules were sent to the Governor, he crossed out every reference to culture. We again went back to the Environmental Council who then resubmitted those rules, along with 5 years worth of testimony from around Hawai`i Nei, and once again the Governor sent them back with all references to culture stricken.

We went back to the Legislature the next year and told our elected officials that it must be a Legislative function since we were unsuccessful getting rules passed; rules that had the overwhelming support of the community.”

Kapua Sproat was born and raised Kaua`i's North Shore in Kalihiwai. She graduated from William S. Richardson School of Law in 1998 with an environmental law certificate and spent a decade working for EarthJustice as one of the top water experts in the State. In 2007 Kapua became an Assistant Professor of Law at the William S. Richardson School, and is affiliated with the Ka Huli Ao Center for Excellence in Native Hawaiian Law and the Environmental Law Program.

Kapua Sproat: “There are only a handful of advocates at the Legislature who truly represent the community; Henry and Kat are there day in and day out working to preserve our natural and cultural resources and all things that make Hawai`i truly special.”


Life of the Land strongly supports equality and justice. In 1975 female students attending the UH Richardson School of Law asked Life of the Land to sue the Governor to require half of the Governor’s Cabinet be female. Life of the Land sued and lost.

Life of the Land’s Kat Brady & Henry Curtis (Hickam Air Force Base Restoration Advisory Board Community Co-Chair) toured Manuwai Canal on the base. There was a sign saying: No fishing, no swimming, no wading, and there were three kids standing in the middle of the stream fishing. The standard for stream restoration assumed that adult white males ate a few ounces of fish filet per month. Hawaii residents eat more fish than the average American and they often eat the whole fish in the form of fish paste. Kids are more susceptible to toxins than adults. The standards assume that the kids live on base for 2 years, and average the toxics eaten for their impact over a lifetime. But those same kids then move to another base and do similar things there. When we asked for more stringent toxic standards the military was surprised. They thought our focus would be on the impacts to birds and marine life as the toxics flowed off base.

Hawaiian Electric Company proposed the use of palm oil from Malaysia and Indonesia. Life of the Land opposed that in part due to the displacement of native communities in areas such as Borneo. For Life of the Land, sustainability includes the acquisition of inputs and the disposal of waste, where ever they occur. Sustainability does not end at the state border.

Life of the Land strongly supports Civil Unions. Life of the Land’s Kat Brady: “In Hawaii, those who came before us took bold steps towards passing on a legacy of equal rights and opportunity for all. Passing H.B. 444 would build on that legacy. We believe that every person has the right to ‘life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,’ and deserve the legal and civil rights afforded to all citizens, including the minority population of gay and lesbian individuals. Every person has the right to a loving, committed family relationship without discrimination. It's a simple stand for equality.”


Hawaiian Electric Company (HECO) sought to build a high voltage transmission line on Wa`ahila Ridge, to connect a transmission substation near Iolani with one in the mauka section of Palolo. The struggle raged on from 1971-2002. After six years (1996-2002), three groups – The Outdoor Circle, Malama O Manoa and Life of the Land won the issue before the Board of Land and Natural Resources.

Life of the Land has played a major role in energy regulatory proceedings at the Public Utilities Commission (PUC).

Kapua Sproat: “Life of the Land was at the PUC before energy was cool.

Life of the Land has pushed the PUC to become more transparent. First, by putting the binder with current dockets in a bookcase in the lobby accessible to the public and then succeeded in getting all non-classified PUC documents to be posted on the web in searchable format.

Rob Parsons served four years as Maui County's first ever Environmental Coordinator, as executive assistant to Mayor Alan Arakawa.  Rob is a web-based reporter for Maui Times. Rob served as a member of the Board of Directors, Maui Tomorrow; Conservation Chair, Maui Sierra Club; President, Ha‘iku Community Association.

Rob Parsons: "As I embarked on my new role as an eco-journalist, I found Henry Curtis as an invaluable go-to information source, time and again. Henry possesses a breadth of knowledge about renewable energy technologies, and the inside politics that keep the power with our public utility. Moreover, he has been a constant watchdog and a vigilant advocate for policies and practices that may better shape Hawaii's future.Henry has the ability to cut through the murkiness and vog of political and industry obfuscation, and to deliver incisive sound bites that speak to the essence of vital issues. However, he also manages to draft extremely detailed analysis for PUC dockets, and go toe-to-toe with high paid attorneys in docket hearings, often with favorable results.

Henry is an information gatherer of the best kind, and he shares that vital knowledge through his writing, lobbying, video work, and overall advocacy for the people of Hawaii. Along with his equally-sharp partner Kat Brady, the two have propelled Life of the Land to a revered status as Hawaii's premier homegrown environmental organization."

Life of the Land has been in twenty dockets at the PUC, mostly as the only voice representing the community. Under cross-examination by Life of the Land in a 2006 docket on the proposal to build a new power plant at Campbell Industrial Park, HECO finally admitted that climate change is real, we are all part of the problem, and we are all part of the solution.

In a subsequent docket, Life of the Land succeeded when the Commission rejected a palm oil biodiesel contract between HECO and Imperium Renewables Inc.

Tony Pace is head of Apollo Energy Corp., the parent company of Tawhiri Power LLC which operates the Pakini Nui Wind Farm at South Point on the Big Island. This may be the most efficient power plant in the world. It has an efficiency of 61%, that is, its average output is 61% of its maximum output. By way of comparison, the Hawi Wind farm is just over 40% and the planned Hale`iwa wind farm may be under 30% efficient.

Tony Pace: ""LOL" has consistently been Hawaii’s advocate and guardian of common sense when all the contrarian views would otherwise prevail to the detriment of all things that nature blessed and endowed Hawaii."

Environmental Justice: Palm Oil

Hawaiian Electric Company (HECO) proposed building a new power plant in Campbell Industrial park and using imported palm oil instead of imported petroleum oil.

Palm oil production involves the destruction of ecosystems, the displacement of native communities, threatens major species on the brink of extinction, and cause massive air and water pollution.

Life of the Land was the only group to intervene in the regulatory proceedings before the Public Utilities Commission (PUC).

Malaysia and Indonesia produce 88% of the palm oil in the world, and account for 91% of the world's export of palm oil.

Wall Street Journal: The Growing Danger of Ethanol, Biofuels (Dec. 5, 2006, Page A1): ''Among the world's most fabled islands, Borneo --which is divided between Indonesian and Malaysia --is considered by environmentalists to be one of the last great tropical wildernesses. It's home to rare and unusual species, including the wild orangutan, the clouded leopard and the Sumatran rhinoceros. ... Now, the palm-oil boom threatens what's left.

As fires burn deep into the dry peat soil beneath Indonesia's forests, centuries of carbon trapped in the biomass are released into the atmosphere. A study presented last month at a U.N. Climate Change Conference in Nairobi showed that Indonesia is the world's third-biggest carbon emitter behind the U.S. and China, when emissions from fires and other factors are considered.''

The proposal was for Imperium Renewables in Seattle, a company on the brink of financial collapse, to import Malaysian palm Oil to Seattle, refine it into biodiesel, and then bring it to the O`ahu coast and try to figure out some way of delivering it to HECO. Eventually HECO asked the Commission to shift some of the risk from Imperium to HECO ratepayers.

Initially HECO and the NRDC proposed that HECO only adopt 13 of 39 really weak standards being floated by the pro-palm-oil trade association. HECO felt that it was sufficient as long as the exporters had not achieved, but were working towards "no child labor" and "free and prior informed consent of native peoples."

Life of the Land co-wrote a critique of HECO's proposed palm oil feedstock plan with KAHEA: The Hawaiian-Environmental Alliance, `Ilio`ulaokalani Coalition, Sierra Club - Maui, and the Environmental Defense Fund. The document was endorsed by organizations, companies, and religious groups in 13 Countries, including 28 faith, environmental, community, cultural and media groups from Hawai`i and 20 groups from 10 Provinces of Indonesia.

For the PUC’s evidentiary hearing, Life of the Land brought in 16 expert witnesses including a Republic legislator, attorneys and several PhDs.

The PUC rejected the contract.

HECO then filed for some one-time delivery of palm oil in order to obtain air permits for the Ma`alaea and Kahe power plants utilizing various derivatives of palm oil. Since these proceedings were for one-time deliveries, the PUC restricted Life of the Land to being a participant and not as full party, and restricted the nature of LOL's testimonies and submissions.

HECO then filed for some long term biofuel contracts. The PUC again restricted Life of the Land to participant status because, the PUC argued, LOL had that status in the most recent preceding regulatory proceedings.

Kelly King, was a project coordinator for Hui Malama Learning Center; served on the Hawaii State Board of Education representing Maui County from 1994-98; co-founded Pacific Biodiesel, Inc. in 1996; and co-founded the national Sustainable Biodiesel Alliance.

Kelly King: "Life of the Land has been an advocate for the environment in Hawaii, especially as the issues relate to social justice. While I have not always agreed with LOL's position, I respect the tireless efforts of Henry Curtis and Kat Brady."


Henry Curtis and Kat Brady are guest speakers in classes ranging from middle school to law school

Dr. Lynette Cruz is a cultural anthropologist teaching at the Hawaii Pacific University. She is President of the Ka Lei Maile Ali`i Hawaiian Civic Club and an `Olelo (Community TV) Producer. Her dissertation was on the history of the sovereignty movement

Lynette Cruz: “I've used Life of the Land resources numerous times over my teaching career. Of course, the primary resources are Henry Curtis and Kat Brady, both of whom have helped personalize land and environmental justice struggles by sharing their own experiences on issues that strive to maintain Hawaiian cultural integrity in the face of thoughtless and sometimes stupid development plans.

No doubt they've made a lot of enemies over the years, but that tells me that they're doing the job, one with minimal (if any) financial reward. Obviously the drive is not to make money, but to bring balance to a world seriously being swept away by short-sighted planners and the 'old guard' that promotes an outdated ideology that says 'we've always done it this way.'

Those of us who teach for a living have a responsibility to expose young people to the realities of a world gone awry because of greed and poor planning: dwindling water sources, almost total dependency on world economic systems that disconnect us from our own food source, lack of respect for other people and cultures, and all living and non-living things, graft and corruption in the interest of power for the few, militarization of everything in the whole world. You get the picture.

Today's students, in fact all of us at the ground level, care about our shrinking global world. We ask how we can facilitate balancing things out so that the least of us, those who need help the most, can malama ourselves and each other. We have before us a new generation of young people who are sick to death of the cold and uncaring attitude toward people, cultures, and environment reflected in policies pursued by corporate structures and government.

Life of the Land has helped bring these issues to the fore. We trust that Life of the Land will be there to help communities plan for ways to deal with the reality of a pono future, something that teachers like me can make space for in the classrooms of tomorrow.”

Randolph G. Moore is the Assistant Superintendent, Office of School Facilities and Support Services, Hawai`i Department of Education. Randy was a Peace Corps volunteer in Liberia (1963-1965), served as Chief Executive Officer of Kaneohe Ranch, Executive Vice President of the H.K.L. Castle Foundation, President of Molokai Ranch Ltd., Board of Directors, Maui Land & Pine; Chairman of the Board of Trustees of The Oceanic Institute; Director of Grove Farm Co. Inc., Haleakala Ranch Co., Hawaii Stevedores Inc., Koga Engineering and Construction Inc., Maui Land & Pineapple Co. Inc. and the Land Use Research Foundation; Chair of the Hawaii Housing Development Corp; Member of the Kalaeloa Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) Commission.

Randolph G. Moore: "Life of the Land has been a consistent, and sometimes lonely, voice for sustainability, long before the word came into common usage. That the organization has endured for 40 years is a testament to the vision of its founders, the timeliness as well as timelessness of its message, the incredible dedication of its staff, and the steadfastness of its board."

For more information:
LOL Web Site
Videos by Henry Curtis

Contact Henry Curtis at

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Wow, this is a great compendium of info, a great reference. To add, here's a link to the Save Our Surf digital collection at the University of Hawaii: . Hit browse and you can see how demos were organized before the internet. Leaflets and pamphlets! That's why John Kelly had a printing press at his house.

Kelly always described SOS as a movement and not an organization. I will always remember his Three Basic Principles:

"1. Movement activists must have genuine love for the people and a deep respect for their intelligence, regardless of their age, class, culture, ethnic background or level of education.

"2. The movement must arm itself with the facts, avoid all fabrications or half-truths, and communicate the truth to the people.

"3. Drawing upon its experience, the movement must then help the affected and aroused people to consolidate their power base and develop an overall strategy and appropriate action program."

There is an essay of his posted on the internet where this is put into context here:

Again, mahalo for posting this history.


thank you it really helped me find out ifo i had no clue on

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