We’re left shattered by the recent fires across Maui and the destruction of the historic town of Lāhainā, the former capital of the Hawaiian Kingdom. The Lāhainā fire is now considered the deadliest “U.S.” wildfire in over 100 years. We are with you in your grief and anger at this devastation, and hold those impacted in our hearts.
Below you’ll find resources to support Maui and take action.
The fires are a so-called “natural” disaster but have root causes in colonization, militarism, and the extractive tourism industry. Climate change puts the Hawaiian Islands at the edge of disaster from intensifying storms and sea-level rise to drought that sparks wildfires.
But the story of these fires goes back further: when colonial plantations and ranches were brought to Maui in the 19th century, settlers destroyed the native ecosystem by clearing wetlands, rerouting irrigation, and introducing invasive grasses. Years later, Lāhainā residents are bearing the consequences of this colonial legacy .
Currently, the tourism industry monopolizes the economy and exploits locals, including immigrant Filipino workers . Elected leaders have prioritized diverting limited water resources to tourists in hotels and golf courses, at the cost of residents and the environment .
The U.S. military contributes to this degradation through carbon emissions, pollution, and the seizing of land for military installations.
These issues were made worse by mismanagement across political leadership. Maui officials failed to use the largest siren system in the world as the fires spread, preventing residents from evacuating in time . In the wake of the fires, Native Hawaiians have led relief efforts in the face of bureaucratic red tape and slow responses from the government .
At many points throughout history, people in power have failed to honor Native Hawaiian life and land. But, no matter where we are located, we can show up in solidarity today.