EDITORIAL: Reflections on Turning Thirty

posted in: Editorial, July 2020 | 0

Thirty years. Three decades. Three hundred and sixty issues. If you lined up all that we’ve written on a bookshelf, you’d need a long one. I’ve lost count of the number of pages, but it comes to well over 10,000.

And almost all of that has been original reporting from the two career journalists that make up the Environment Hawai‘i staff: Teresa Dawson, who has been writing for the newsletter since 1997, and I, who was in on its birth back in July 1990.

The changes since have occurred at a breakneck pace. The internet wasn’t a thing back then, and now it seems as though it’s all-consuming. Honolulu had two daily papers, now reduced to one – with an ever diminishing staff, at that.

In 1990, the cost of a subscription was $35 a year for individuals; it is now twice that, and still covers just a fraction of our costs. (Reduced-rate subscriptions remain available at $45, just because we want to put our newsletter into the hands of anyone who wants it.)

So yes, changes have been momentous.

But throughout, there has been a constant: our dedication to bringing you independent, deeply researched, non-partisan reporting on matters of utmost importance to Hawai‘i’s natural resources and the state’s lived environment.

The work – all of it available at our website, most of it free of charge – speaks for itself. It has wrought changes in state policies and personnel at the federal and state levels: from new rules for the Conservation District to the dismissal of Libert Landgraf; from blowing up plans for the Ka ‘u spaceport to detailing the punking of NELHA by a con artist; from state agencies’ overpayment for land to the inside stories of Kitty Simonds’ Wespac fiefdom. And so very much more.

We hope you appreciate the work we have done and the contributions we have made over the years. And we want to be able to keep on providing readers with uncompromising reports that have immediate import but that also help to build a record. Over the last 30 years, innumerable critical events that provide insight into why things happened the way they did would have gone unremarked without our reports.

The best way to show your appreciation is by making a donation to help ensure we are able to continue bringing you the best environmental journalism in the state. Any amount is appreciated, but we will be giving special acknowledgement to donors of $300 or more (just $10 for every year we’ve been around).

On a personal note, I have naught but gratitude to our readers for giving me the privilege of decades of work that I have found meaningful. Few journalists could ask for more. Mahalo nui!

— Patricia Tummons

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