2.3.1 Example

Read the following article in “Cultural Survival” about the demonstration of native Hawaiians against Geothermal powerplants on Big Island, Hawaii:



From this article it gets obvious that the native Hawaiians not only protest against the land destruction that comes with the building of the Geothermal power plant, but also the worldviews on if to use Geothermal Energy are completely different to Western ideas.


Michael Edelstein and Deborah Kleese have written a scientific publication about this conflict. Please read the following abstract that describes the conflict and how the native Hawaiians and their wishes got marginalised.

“Development of the “renewable “ energy resource known as geothermal energy is touted as offering the promise of energy independence and economic development for the “Big Island” of Hawai’i and, by virtue of an undersea transmission cable, to other Hawaiian islands. However, the proposal to implement this project has met with continuing opposition from Native Hawaiians who are followers of the goddess Pele. This article proposes that the conflict over geothermal energy development represents two belief systems holding opposing views of the environment. Western attitudes toward nature regard the environment as a series of natural resources to be managed. In contrast, Native Hawaiian beliefs regard nature as sacred. Specifically, geothermal energy development threatens perhaps the most sacred space in all Hawaii, the home and body of the fire goddess Pele. The lengthy administrative proceedings in this matter are instructive of the marginalisation of native peoples and their difficulty in gaining recognition for cultural impacts in a decision‐making process that is built around the rationality of the dominant Western worldview.” (From: Michael R. Edelstein & Deborah A. Kleese (1995) Cultural relativity of impact assessment: Native Hawaiian opposition to geothermal energy development, Society & Natural Resources, 8:1, 19-31)

There is another article written by Barbara A. Coe that focuses on the conflict. In her article Barbara Coe focuses on structure and leadership in the geothermal energy development on Hawaii and the mistakes that have been made by not realising and accepting the different worldviews of different communities.

The author suggests that a geothermal energy development needs a strategic management approach that includes the environmental factors like social, political, economic, and technological trends and events has to be considered. In addition, the community structures and values should be understood and respected. Decisions have to make public, citizens have to be involved and different worldviews considered and accepted.

Barbara A Coe, The state versus pele: Structure and leadership in geothermal energy development, Environmental Impact Assessment Review, Volume 11, Issue 4, 1991, Pages 333-352.

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