Editor’s note: Contributor Will Falk has been working and living with protesters on Mauna Kea who are attempting to block construction of an 18-story astronomical observatory with an Extremely Large Telescope (ELT).
Opposition in Hawaii to the building of the telescope is based on concerns about potential disruption to the fragile alpine environment and the fact that Mauna Kea is a sacred site for the Native Hawaiian culture. On June 24th, agents with the Department of Land and Natural Resources abandoned an attempt to escort construction workers to the proposed location after discovering the only road up the mountain was not navigable.
By Will Falk / San Diego Free Press
The pohaku stopped the Thirty Meter Telescope construction last Wednesday. They began appearing on the Mauna Kea Access Road like raindrops. First, they were sprinkled lightly underfoot. A small rock here. A larger one there. The cops cussed and swore as they tried to remove them from the path of their seemingly unstoppable paddy wagons.
As the cops ascended, washing over the lines of Mauna Kea Protectors standing in their way, small piles grew into a drizzle of stones formed in the gathering fog. Then, the pohaku became a downpour. Looking up the road half-a-mile, I saw heavy boulders standing up, marching to meet us, making it impossible for the TMT construction crews and their police escort to climb any higher.