Story at a glance:
- Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan have been accused of buying excessive acres of land, including near a public beach in Hawaii.
- The couple say they are promoting conservation.
- There is a petition with 1 million signatures to stop them.
Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan bought 600 acres of land in addition to what they previously owned in Hawaii, but some residents are not happy with the move.
On March 19, the couple added the acreage to their total of more than 1,300 acres of land in Hawaii’s northern island of Kauai, including land near the public beach of Lepeuli, with their recent purchase being $53 million from a nonprofit preservation foundation, according to Business Insider.
Some families who live on and own part of the land on the island are not celebrating the social media mogul’s expansion as they consider it akin to “neocolonialism.”
A petition from 10 months ago on Change.org called “Stop Mark Zuckerberg from Colonizing Kauai” has more than 1 million signatures, which is half a million short from its goal of 1.5 million.
“This is inhuman. It is sick. He needs to be stopped. He could literally build a house anywhere else. There are plenty of open spaces no one has claimed. Yet he has to pick a place where people are trying to make a living and support their families?” the petition by the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands stated. “It’s disgusting. Don’t let the privileged steal things that don’t belong to them any longer. If you sign this petition, you could potentially save lives and families. Don’t stay silent about this just because he’s rich. The rich have enough already.”
For Zuckerberg and Chan, Hawaii is their second home away from their primary mansion in Palo Alto, Calif., with their two daughters.
Their mission is to preserve wildlife in Lepeuli, keeping open to the public.
“We have been working closely with a number of community partners to promote conservation, produce sustainable agriculture and protect native wildlife at our ranch and in the surrounding areas, and look forward to extending that effort to Lepeuli in the months ahead,” they said.
However, locals have a long history of butting heads with Zuckerberg who has been a resident on the island since 2014.
As Business Insider reported, “Zuckerberg filed a lawsuit against Hawaiian families who had legal-ownership claims on parcels of land within his property. Zuckerberg said at the time that he’d filed the suit to ‘make sure smaller partial owners get paid for their fair share too; but residents described the move as ‘neocolonialism.’”
READ MORE STORIES FROM CHANGING AMERICA