Humans in Hawaii 1,000 years

SUBHEAD: Lessons from a thousand years of island sustainability from Sam ‘Ohu Gon III, PhD at TEDxMaui.

By Sam ‘Ohu Gon III, PhD 29 December 2014 for TEDx Maui -
Image above: Pre-western contact human impact on Oahu was 15% footprint and 85% native ecosystem. Still image from video below. Click to enlarge.

This talk was given at a local TEDx event, produced independently of the TED Conferences. Biologist and cultural practitioner Sam Ohu Gon III reveals the true Hawaii, a place much more than beaches and mai tais. In these islands, there is a message for the world.

Senior Scientist and Cultural Advisor at The Nature Conservancy of Hawai‘i, world-renowned expert on Hawaiian ecology.

From the Hawaiian Islands and Rapanui to the Amazon rainforest, Dr. Samuel ‘Ohukani‘ōhi‘a Gon has circled the globe in his quest to blend culture and conservation, acre by acre. The senior scientist and cultural advisor of The Nature Conservancy of Hawai‘i has been instrumental in many facets of the Conservancy’s work. Sam strives to blend the richness of unique Hawaiian ecosystems with the equally rich culture that developed here.
Image above: Pre-western contact human impact on Oahu sis 85% footprint and 15% native ecosystem. Still image from video below. Click to enlarge.

As a kahuna kākalaleo, practitioner of Hawaiian chant and protocol, he serves as a Kahuna Pule (prayer master) at the heiau (temple) of Puʻu Koholā at Kawaihae, Island of Hawaiʻi with Nā Waʻa Lālani Kāhuna o Puʻu Koholā.

Sam was recently honored as a “Living Treasure of Hawaiʻi” for his rapprochement of conservation biology and Hawaiian cultural practice. With over three decades of experience in Hawaiian ecology, he is a leading expert in biological inventories and research, field ecology, entomology, arachnology, ethology, natural community classification, ecological modeling and biological database management.

About TEDx, x = independently organized event In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TEDTalks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group.

Video above: TEDx talk by Sam Gon on Hawaii ecosystems. From (

These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized.* (*Subject to certain rules and regulations)

See also:
Ea O Ka Aina: Hawaii as a model for Biodiversity 4/22/10


1 comment :

  1. Interesting post, I made a post recently that covered the same idea. I was inspired by Bill Mason who said

    “When the first white man arrived in North America, he looked out over the land and called it ‘a pristine, untouched wilderness.’ That’s got to be the greatest compliment that anybody could pay to Native people, who have lived here for thousands of years,”