The International Information Center for Structural Engineers

Wednesday, 21 November 2018 01:00cat

Hawaii approves the construction of giant observatory while locals protest against

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TMT International Observatory TMT International Observatory

According to officials, Hawaii Supreme Court approved the construction of the $1.4 billion Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) International Observatory.

The astonishing building will constitute one of the largest telescopes in the world and will be located on top of the Mauna Kea volcano.

However, the permission for the construction was not acquired easily. Some native Hawaiian people were opposed to the project as it would be built on a mountaintop that they consider sacred. 

Back in 2015, the construction of the telescope was blocked when protestors closed the roads to the site. However, with a 4-1 ruling, the court recently rejected their effort to invalidate the permit.

Makana Kushi, who opposes the construction of the observatory, said: "Mauna Kea is sacred to a lot of Hawaiians who still believe that our akua — or gods, I think would be the closest English word to describe them — live there. Not because they're sort of ... humanoid beings that are standing on the mountain and living their lives every day, but that these ecosystems are manifestations of these spiritual beings. Putting a telescope on the summit to me is really disrespecting these akua. And also, and I think these two things are related, the ecosystem there is very gentle. There's a really specific climate on Mauna Kea that the bugs there, that the water there, that the plant life there require. And with a lot of building, they won't survive."

Kushi also stated that she will continue resisting the construction of the Telescope even after the permission was approved. "People have stated already that they're willing to get arrested again, that they're willing to put their bodies between people who are seeking to construct TMT and the sacred space. And I support this 100 percent," she commented.

Authorities are now in charge of addressing the protestors when the construction initiates.



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