On a recent beautiful September weekend, I traveled to Hawaii Island (also known as the Big Island) to support the protests against the construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope. On one side of this issue, science institutions and the state government are moving to start construction on a giant, highly advanced telescope on the summit of Mauna Kea, a stunning 13,800-foot-tall volcano. On the other side, Native Hawaiians and their allies have blockaded the only access road to the summit of Mauna Kea to prevent construction of the facility on a site that many hold as a most sacred place.
Arriving at the site of the demonstration, I saw dozens, perhaps hundreds, of Hawaiian flags and heard the rhythmic sound of drumming and chanting in the Hawaiian language. The Mauna Kea protectors built a whole village at this remote highway intersection on a windswept volcanic plain. It included a medical tent,