Protest against Mauna Kea Thirty Meter Telescope is becoming more aggressive

Mauna Kea is a significant place for Hawaiians. Not just because it’s the potential home of the Thirty Meter Telescope, but rather for the cultural value that the volcano holds. In March, construction began on the Thirty Meter Telescope, which was originally approved for construction by officials in 2009. While the project has been many years in the making – much of the progress could be unraveled in the coming weeks – as construction has been halted, and some support for the building of the Thirty Meter Telescope has been withdrawn.

Opposition of the Thirty Meter Telescope has been loud and clear for years now. Protesters recently blocked a roadway that led to the construction site, which was their most-aggressive move to date. However, the cause that the opposition carries with them is quite valid. Those who oppose the building of the Thirty Meter Telescope don’t just believe that it will have a negative impact on the culture and history of Mauna Kea, and Hawaii as a whole. They also believe that the process by which the Thirty Meter Telescope earned its permits to build was flawed.


The process in question is related to a list of criteria that are required to be met, in order to gain permits to start this type of work on Mauna Kea. Members of opposition highlighted these areas of concern in a letter to the Governor of Hawaii. It argues that those behind the project did not prove that the Thirty Meter Telescope “will not cause substantial adverse impact to existing natural resources within the surrounding area.”

They also pointed out that it wasn’t made clear that the Thirty Meter Telescope would avoid compromising “existing physical and environmental aspects of the land.” Finally, they ended pointed out the lack of material facts in understanding what the public health impact might be saying the Thirty Meter Telescope could be “materially detrimental to the public health.”

Now though, Trustees for the Office of Hawaiian Affairs have voted to rescind previously offered support for the Thirty Meter Telescope project, which was set to start in March and end in 2024 tentatively. The potential good though that a telescope of this magnitude could do is what scientists and researchers say make it worth it. The summit of Mauna Kea is the ideal location for this massive telescope, which would be the 14th largest in the world. The air is dry and clean, and it has unobstructed views on all sides.

Michael Bolt, who is the Associate Director for the Thirty Meter Telescope pointed out that, “It will be able to travel all the way through space and time back to the very first objects that formed in the universe and to the beginning of time.”

Some have argued that opposition to the Mauna Kea location for the Thirty Meter Telescope might be persuaded to halt opposition if the project managers agree to disable and take down some of the other telescopes that exist within the Mauna Kea region. However, it remains to be seen whether either party will make a move like that or be the first to offer their hand in agreement.

Both sides are very passionate about what they believe would be better for both the region and humanity, and it’s hard to pick a side without understanding the scope of the project and how many people will truly be impacted by the Thirty Meter Telescope. Either way, it does prove that massive projects like this, which in this instance cost $1.4 billion, need new processes actually to obtain their permitting and maintain the integrity of both sides – without favoring one side more heavily.


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  • This is a classic conflict between science and SMALL MINDS. One side wants to expand the boundaries of human knowledge through exploration and careful scientific rigor, and the other side wants to live in a fantasy world of ghosts, demons, spirits, Gods and other fairytale creations from our bawling, illiterate, fearful human past.

    • Hmmmm, fantasies such as global warming? Fairy tales like gay marriage? Demons like liberals? Just because someone is literate doesn’t mean they’re intelligent. I think you know that small minded libs have destroyed this country. Every policy they have come up with has ruined the world.

    • Science and SMALL MINDS???….I know we have ‘freedom of speech’ but could you possibly have an opinion that was educated and have the respect for the issue going on with the people who are involved?? I don’t know where you are from, but our people here in Hawaii have strong cultural beliefs, whether spiritual or physical, like many people for their cultures, stand in what they believe in!! Maybe you’re living in a “fantasy world of ghosts, demons, spirits, Gods and other fairytale creations from YOUR BAWLING, ILLITERATE, FEARFUL HUMAN PAST”.

      • Nope. “Strong cultural beliefs” killed a hundred million people last century and still keeps 4+ billion minds locked tightly away inside delusional bubbles of made-up stories. I think we’ve had more than enough of being ‘sensitive’ to other people’s mental fantasies, thank you very much… Time to try a little rational thought instead!

        • Wow! Try a little rational thought? Yeah, I’m sure our government becomes totally rational during times like this, when they have to face our people and listen to what they believe in. RATIONAL THOUGHT = $$$$$ – which is normally the bottom line. Amazing how you just threw out those stats there. You’re stating that more than half of our world are ‘delusional’! What a world to leave to our children. “Strong cultural beliefs” are NOT ‘delusional bubbles of made-up stories’ (oh wait, my bad, feels like I’m conversing with a Captain Cook type here) So I’ll just end with this …Our ancestors have lived through these beliefs and have passed them down from generation to generation leaving legacy after legacy for our children and grandchildren and great grandchildren to carry on. Here’s a rational thought: It’s sad to read that you sound like your legacy ends with you…jus saying.

          • It is, indeed, important to pass down a legacy. However, when that legacy is misogyny, racism, genocide, genital mutilation, honor killing, jihad, witch burning, child brides, dogmatic bullying, and seeing Gods and Demons in everything around them, the ‘legacy’ being passed is not healthy.
            So, yes, the stats hold up to scrutiny. Religion poisons everything. Time to try rational thought instead. I’d rather have a big-ass telescope than the ‘legacy’ the protesters want to keep.

  • TMT wouldn’t be the 14th largest telescope in the world… would be about #3 when completed, behind the ELT and Magellan scopes…..