More observations from Lavaland....
A lot of folks here believe that the lava could rather easily be diverted away from Pahoa and towards less populated areas, thereby saving Lower Puna from potential devastation. The problem, they say, is that 'the powers that be' - principally our County government- is simply refusing to take the necessary action needed to divert the lava. This belief that we could avoid the entire flow threat but our government won't act has many people quite upset, some accusing the Government of being derelict in it's duties to the citizens. So I thought I'd share my take on this issue.
The concept is simple and probably very do-able. The lava that is flowing toward our community comes out of a lava lake crater near the top of a mountain. It wouldn't be rocket science to have the military carefully bomb the South side of the crater in order to punch a new hole that would divert the flow South. This would (hopefully) take the lava away from town and subdivisions and towards areas that have been previously covered or are less inhabited.
I believe there are two reasons why no branch of government is going to take this action: Liability and Hawaiian Culture.
Let's start with Liability. If the proposed bombing was to result in the volcano being sealed, or at least a guarantee that it would never again threaten private property, the County, State or Feds would probably already have taken that action and would now be hailed as heroes. But we all know there can be no guarantees of outcome. In fact, the best that could be hoped for is that the bombing would cause the lava to flow a different direction for now. But even if this action was highly successful, there are still property owners down South that would be likely be negatively affected now or in the future. And those folks will be none too happy with the County for deciding to sacrifice their property so someone else's could be saved. And therein lies the primary issue. As soon as the County (or anyone else) takes ANY steps to change the natural course of this flow, they are open to lawsuits from any future landowner that is impacted by lava from this volcano! Even years from now, a damaged property owner would be able to argue that their loss only occurred because the government tried to 'play God' by attempting to manipulate Mother Nature. Conversely - as long as the Government does nothing to change the flow, than Mother Nature - not the Government - bares the entire blame for where the lava goes.
The other reason that has been recited as a reason NOT to take action to divert the flow is out of respect for the Hawaiian culture. To the Hawaiians the volcano and everything about it is Sacred and you don't mess with Sacred! At the top of the Sacred list is Pele, the Hawaiian Goddess of Fire. The Hawaiians strongly believe that where the lava goes is Pele's alone to decide and to intervene would be extremely disrespectful. Since all branches of government here have been accused in the past of being anti-Hawaiian, or at least insensitive to Hawaiian cultural practices, most of our elected officials will run away from supporting any seemingly 'anti-Hawaiian' position.
So, while it might seem to some folks that bombing the crater to divert the lava is a 'no-brainer', I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for the Government to do it. A Risky Proposition + Politically Incorrect = Zero incentive.
My solution? I hereby call out for a Superhero! On this great Big Island of ours we gotta have at least one Superman or Wonder Woman. (If not maybe on Maui or Oahu? After all you can fly for free!) Anyway, if you are out there -could you please help us out and go punch a hole in that damn crater for us? We'd appreciate not having to live with that lava if we don't have to!
Big Island Stitch
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