Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

‘It’s About Respecting a Culture’: Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson Visits Mauna Kea Protests to Lend Support

Popular

Native Hawaiians may be fighting to protect Mauna Kea from a giant telescope, but now they have a different kind of star power on their side. Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, one of the world's highest-grossing actors, visited the protesters Wednesday to lend support, Hawaii News Now reported.


Johnson's visit occurred on the 10th day of protests as Native Hawaiians seek to block construction of a $1.4 billion, 18-story Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) on the summit of Hawaii's highest mountain, which they consider sacred. Johnson, who is part Samoan, attended high school on Oahu, HuffPost reported.

"I wanted to come here and see our people and stand with them and support them," Johnson told reporters, as Hawaii News Now reported. "What I realized today, and obviously I've been following this for years now, is that it's bigger than a telescope. It's humanity. It's culture. It is the people of Polynesia who are willing to die here to protect this land. It's not about stopping progress. It's about respecting a culture."

Supporters of the telescope, which is backed by private companies and universities, say it will lead to discoveries about the nature of the universe. But opponents say it will desecrate Mauna Kea, which is both a sacred site for Native Hawaiians and a conservation area, HuffPost explained.

Protesters greeted the actor, who stayed for about an hour, with lei, chanting and hula performances, according to Hawaii News Now.

Johnson is also working on a film that highlights Native Hawaiian history. His Seven Bucks Productions company is making a movie about King Kamehameha the Great, who unified the Hawaiian islands in 1810. Johnson will star as the king, USA Today reported.

The Rock is the most famous person to visit the protests, which began July 15th. In one incident last week, 33 mostly elderly activists were arrested for blocking the road up the mountain.

"When things escalate to that emotional apex, that is a sign that something has to be done," Johnson said, as HuffPost reported. "To full charge ahead isn't the way to do it."

Johnson's visit also came the day after Hawaii Gov. David Ige passed responsibility for reaching a compromise to Big Island Mayor Harry Kim, Big Island Now reported.

"Today, I am asking Hawaiʻi County Mayor Harry Kim to coordinate both county and state efforts to peacefully attempt to reach common ground with the protectors of Mauna Kea and the broader community," Ige said in a statement explaining his decision. "Mayor Kim is closest to the situation and the impacts are greatest on the island he leads."

Ige also visited the protests for the first time Tuesday, Hawaii News Now reported further.

During his visit, Johnson called on state leaders to resolve the conflict.

"A greater leadership has to step in. There needs to be leadership with empathy," the actor said, as HuffPost reported.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Hurricane Florence on Sept. 12, 2018. ESA / A.Gerst / CC BY-SA 2.0

The 2020 hurricane season is now expected to be the most active since at least the early 1980s, meteorologists at Colorado State University, a standard bearer for seasonal hurricane predictions, announced Wednesday.

Read More Show Less
The Qamutik cargo ship on July 28, 2020 in Canada's Nunavut province, where two ice caps have disappeared completely. Fiona Paton / Flickr

Three years ago, scientists predicted it would happen. Now, new NASA satellite imagery confirms it's true: two ice caps in Canada's Nunavut province have disappeared completely, providing more visual evidence of the rapid warming happening near the poles, as CTV News in Canada reported.

Read More Show Less
The European Commission launched a new Farm to Fork strategy in an effort to reduce the social and environmental impact of the European food system. European Environmental Agency / Flickr / CC by 2.0

By Katell Ané

The European Commission launched a new Farm to Fork strategy in an effort to reduce the social and environmental impact of the European food system. It is the newest strategy under the European Green Deal, setting sustainability targets for farmers, consumers, and policymakers.

Read More Show Less
President Trump signs an executive order regulating social media on May 28, 2020 in Washington, DC. Doug Mills-Pool / Getty Images

Facebook and Twitter removed posts by President Donald Trump and his campaign Wednesday for violating their policies against spreading false information about COVID-19.

Read More Show Less
Florida Fish and Wildlife Research Institute staff and volunteers try to help a stranded bottlenose dolphin in Cockroach Bay near Ruskin, Florida on Sept. 17, 2015. FWC Fish and Wildlife Research Institute

A new study gives a first look at the presence and potential effects of plastics and new forms of synthetic chemicals in stranded dolphins and whales along the coast of the southeastern U.S.

Read More Show Less
Smoke rises above wrecked buildings following a deadly explosion on Aug. 4, 2020 in Beirut, Lebanon. Marwan Tahtah / Getty Images

By Alexander Freund

Lebanese Prime Minister Hassan Diab says he believes Tuesday's explosion in Beirut could have been caused by large quantities of ammonium nitrate stored in the port.

Read More Show Less

Trending

Black Americans are dying from Covid-19 at more than twice the rate of white Americans, and at younger ages, partly due to poor diets that make bodies less resistant to the coronavirus. Mireya Acierto / Getty Images

By Michelle D. Holmes

Most Americans know about the Dietary Guidelines for Americans primarily through their colorful representations: the original food pyramid, which a few years ago morphed into MyPlate. The guidelines represent the government mothering us to choose the healthiest vegetables, grains, sources of protein, and desserts, and to eat them in the healthiest portions.

As innocuous as the food pyramid and MyPlate seem, they are actually a matter of life and death.

Read More Show Less