By Rich Figel
PROGRAM ALERT: The new September episode of Career Changers TV will premiere Sat., Sept. 7 around 8:30 PM following high school football. For other daily viewing times, go to www.CareerChangers.TV. You can also watch segments from past and present episodes on the CCTV YouTube Channel.
Above, you can see part of the new Pacific Hall at Bishop Museum, which will be officially unveiled to the public (free admission) on Sat., Sept. 21 in a day full of lectures, music and film. As it happens, they will be showing a documentary I blogged about awhile ago by a New Zealand filmmaker named Briar March -- who I met through my videographer, Stanford Chang and his wife, Shirley Thompson, an accomplished documentary film editor herself.
Briar's film, "There Once Was An Island," chronicles the impact of climate change and rising sea levels on a small atoll off Papua New Guinea. The debate among the villagers mirrors similar arguments on Mainland coasts and even Hawaii: should the people move further inland, relocate to the bigger cities on PNG, or simply have "faith" that God will protect them if they pray hard enough. It is worth seeing, so mark your calendar for the 4 PM showing on 9/21 of that movie. Plus, you'll get to see the completed multimillion dollar renovation of what was once called the Polynesian Hall. Click here for more info on the Grand Unveiling.
The change in the name reflects the expanded themes of the exhibit, which also incorporates multimedia displays, interactive touch screens, and smart phone audio narration in different languages that are prompted by optical codes near artifacts. The photo at top was taken before we shot our segments, so you don't see the current progress and all the activity that was going on when Stan and I were filming. They're still installing stuff and fixing bugs in the computer system, but if you watch our show, you'll be impressed with the job they've done thus far -- and the vision of the team behind this huge project.
We also did a separate segment on Dr. Mara Mulrooney, an anthropologist at Bishop Museum, who has done extensive research on Rapa Nui and offered a startling revision of past theories on what decimated the population: she says contrary to the idea that cutting trees to support the statue building work led to ecological disaster, it actually increased their agricultural output -- and the evidence can be found on cutting tools they've analyzed, which shows they were used to harvest taro and sweet potato. So what really killed off their population? Watch the show or video on the CCTV YouTube Channel and you'll find out!
Speaking of ecological disasters and climate change, since I have this soapbox called a "blog" to stand on, I wonder when the local news media will start asking the Honolulu City Council and State Legislature what they are doing to address rising sea levels, and the likelihood of increasingly severe weather events that scientists have been warning us about for the past decade. I, and others such as Rep. Cynthia Thielen, Rep. Chris Lee, and researchers like Chip Fletcher, have been specifically requesting action be taken in Kailua Beach to stop property owners from knocking down old houses and rebuilding them closer to the ocean -- despite all the evidence we have that interfering with natural sand dunes hastens beach erosion! Here's a link to my Beach Access Hawaii blog that includes recent photos showing how these property owners are "leap-frogging" each other to get better oceanfront views, while cutting off the views of the older homes that are now behind or adjacent to them.
In 2009, Rep. Thielen tried to introduce legislation that would put a moratorium on just this sort of thing. Of course, our do-nothing legislators punted and said shoreline setbacks are a county issue... which is technically true. Each island sets their own zoning rules. Kauai's council had the foresight to take rising sea levels into account in creating their setbacks. Honolulu? Well, when I contacted Councilmember Ikaika Anderson about it, he handed it off to an assistant who relayed the info that Anderson had no intent in bringing the matter up. Instead, he chose to make his big public play about banning commercial kayak activities in Kailua since it was an easy target. I guess he doesn't want to risk upsetting wealthy beachfront property owners who do not want anyone to tell them where they can or cannot build -- even if their encroachment on the shoreline is destructive and foolish in the long run.
Okay, now that I got that out of my system, one more note on the new September episode: we also have a fascinating interview with NY Times best-selling book co-author, Ashley Merryman. Her "NurtureShock" (co-written with Po Bronson) has made an impact on parenting approaches, including the way "praise" is used to motivate children, and even how the science of sleep translates into IQ points and obesity rates. Some schools on the Mainland have even changed their hours in recognition of the fact that teens need more sleep to perform at their best levels. In prior posts, I mentioned Ashley's new book, "Top Dog - The Science of Winning and Losing," which she will be discussing in Part 2 of her interview that will air in a future episode.