Trouble Makers Speak Their Truth: Mauna Kea Protectors

Are you ever scared to speak your truth?

I know I am.

There is this piece of me that is petrified to speak my truth amongst people who will disagree with me. I avoid conversations about religion and politics. If there is a cause I believe in, I like it on Facebook but don’t share personal opinions. I don’t want people to see me as the angry activist.


Hāwane Rios, Photo Credit Kaleinohea Cleghorn

The funny thing is I admire people who stand for their beliefs… and at the same time I’m embarrased by them, by the way they cause waves and stand against what everyone else is doing. Trouble makers. Maybe this is lingering cellular memory from the witch burnings…


My mom wasn’t afraid to speak her mind. She was an animal rights activist. She’d call in to conservative radio shows and speak her mind. She called the police once on deer poachers, volunteered with the Audobon Society and showed me movies of Greenpeace boats stopping whaling boats.

As I get closer to the age Mom passed, I’m taking on her zeal. My feminine heart is waking up and, let me tell you, waking up is painful. Genital mutilation, child prostitution, dolphin slaughtering, sharks killed and thrown back finless, fracking for oil, human trafficking…

Are you checking out yet? Glazing over?


That’s what I did. It was TOO painful to feel everything. Instead I built a wall around my heart to function and not fall apart… The Wall of Apathy. Makes it easier to watch the news and not fall apart.

The thing is, when I started to really feel, it sucked. I felt pissed. I felt mad. I felt deep grief. I felt dispair… it was too much. How could I make a difference?

And then I realized, all it takes to make a difference is to stand up and speak my truth. By speaking, I inspire and encourage others to do the same. When I don’t say anything, the perception is I’m fine with the way things are. 


I have been hesitant to take a stand because it means friends, neighbors and family will disagree with me. It means I’ll be that passionate person I admire as well as that person causing waves, making others uncomfortable. But I have to. I have no choice. This calling can’t be put behind a wall of apathy or dispair any more. The wall has cracked.


Photo Credit

So here I am taking my stand…

I live in a sacred land and one of the most sacred places on Hawai’i island is the summit of Mauna Kea. At this time there are two groups with very different visions for the mountain. There is a proposed $1.4 billion dollar 18 story telescope to be built on the northern slope of the mountain. There are those for the telescope and those for the protection of the mountain.

I’m for the mountain.

The proposed telescope is meant to be 18 stories tall… a skyscraper on top of our holy mountain. And although I admire the study of the stars, I know there are other mountains in the world that can house the telescope and NO OTHER Mauna a Wākea.

When I imagine the tractors digging into the sacred land, my stomach feels nauseous. My heart aches. I want to cry and rage all at the same time. And THAT is what this comes down to… How can I speak my truth with aloha and honor the boiling emotions that make me want to punch pillows and howl? Instead of ignoring these uncomfortable feelings, how can I use them to create change?

So here I am, tears running down my face writing you… feeling deep sadness and also hope there are others whose hearts are breaking open, those willing to speak for what they believe in, those willing to put away their shroud of silence.

Will you speak? What are you scared to say, afraid you might offend others? 

Photo Credit Lei Momi Wheeler

Photo Credit Lei Momi Wheeler


Tractors have been moved up the mountain to begin construction. There are thousands committed to the protection of the mountain, through social media activism, protests around the islands and road blockades to the summit. If you feel called, please take 20 seconds to sign and share the petition to protect Mauna Kea.

Kū Kia’i Mauna


Comment below and share with me, What are you scared to speak? What do you stand for? 

Facebook Comments