While being interviewed for a forthcoming Ode article to feature Hawaii's influence on Obama and his thinkng about sustainability, I mentioned that, in the Hawaiian patheon, the `aina ("nature") is a sibling.
The interviewer chuckled, as if this was a 'cute' concept.
I'm guessing that the interviewer missed the message: our 'modern' thinking has led to a loss of consciousness about our place as a part of natue.
As John R. Ehrenfeld stressed in his marvelous presentation at Delft last April, we cannot even see that our 'consumption' has become a form of addiction that is destroying nature itself.
We have shifted from a 'being' mode to a 'have' mode, as Eric Fromm defined it, and this pathology leads directly to unsustainability.
Sure, it's easier to feel connected and part of nature on a small island in the middle of the Pacific, and perhaps this sensibility is embedded in Obama's character.
And, sure, it's 'cute' that we knew this (in our bones) so recently out here, and that there are still Native Hawaiians around to remind us.
As Jon Van Dyke writes,
"Hawaiians nurtured and respected the `Aina as an older sibling, which in turn provided protection, sustenance, and security. The `Aina was not a commodity to be owned or traded, because such actions would disgrace and debase one's family and oneself. The Hawaiians were said to have had an 'organic relationship' with the `Aina, and the `Aina was part of the 'ohana (extended family) that connected individuals with each other."
Yet, we urgently need to see that this 'forgetting' is surely fatal.