Despite the rain and wind, close to two thousand [not “hundreds” as per The Garden Island] showed up yesterday at the March in March to Evict Monsanto (and friends) in Poipu, Kauai, to protest the invasion of GMOs on Kauai and throughout Hawai’i. Energy was amazing, and the march led into a party at Poipu Park with live music and heaping platters of local non-GMO foods. The above slideshow of the event and related imagery was taken from a variety of sources including: Regenerations International Botanical Garden / Mac James; Carol Ann Davis; Samuel Morgan Shaw; Jamey Kauai; Danny Hashimoto; Carol Ann Davis; Justin Zern; Forest Shomer; Geoff Morris; Bill Collins.*
This is a ripe moment, at least in the initial step of labeling GMOs in Hawai’i, as the labeling bill HB174 has made it through the House, and is now waiting on the Senate. Sure at this de-evolved stage the bill will now only label imported GE produce (essentially useless), but to keep optimistic we’ll consider it a symbolic beginning. And there are a number of important related bills on the table that range from pesticide usage, genetically modified organism quarantine, and water rights. We will soon learn if our representatives are indeed there to represent the people or the chemical companies. Hawai’i residents are watching, taking names, and no one’s vote will go unnoticed.
At the same time, the heavily sprayed GMO fields are spreading from the West side of Kauai all the way into Lihue and the East side of the island (with similar pandemic scenarios occurring on all the islands). The Syngenta herbacide Atrazine (aka the 21st Century’s DDT), which is sprayed on all the GMO corn, has saturated the groundwater and is now present in the drinking water of Waimea. At a recent community meeting on the subject they discussed a few of the issues:
“If you are a male exposed to Atrazine, your testosterone goes away, so you’re demasculinized, or chemically castrated…. And you’re also feminized because you’re making estrogen, which you should not be doing as a male…. We know that the sperm goes away when you give a fish Atrazine, when you give a frog Atrazine, when you give a reptile Atrazine, when you give a bird Atrazine, when you give a rat Atrazine. Testosterone goes down and the sperm goes away and now this correlation says there’s an association in humans as well.” –Tyrone Hayes, Atrazine expert, Biology Professor UC Berkeley (Syngenta actually paid him to do studies, then tried to pressure him not to release them)
It’s also associated with birth defects, low birth rates, premature births, and the Atrazine legacy apparently carries on for generations. One might think it was necessary, but corn yields have gone up in Germany and Italy since it was banned in 1991. Swisse-based Syngenta can’t even use it in their homeland, as it’s been banned across the entire EU. Watch Huffington Post Investigative Fund’s: “How Safe is Atrazine”.
Even if you don’t drink the tap water, it’s in your shower (activated charcoal filters are necessary to remove it), you’re watering your garden with it, it’s in the rivers your kids swim in and the waves we all surf, and certainly some of the local fish we eat. Atrazine also evaporates quite well into the atmosphere in what they call volatilization drift:
After drifting, it comes back into our waterways via rainfall. Atrazine has been found in rainwater more than 180 miles from the nearest application area.
There ya go North Shore Kauai. Add to that mess some Round-up, 2.4.D Herbacide… and who knows what else, to what degree, and how they interact.
Thus far Synergenta, Monsanto, Dow, Pioneer, Dupont have limitless and unregulated dominion, and the islands are ripe for their rape and pillage. They are still maneuvering to gain control of the water on Kauai – seeds and food first, water next = dependency for all. (Click here to read about the cozy situation between State Senator Donna Mercado Kim, Senator Malama Solomon, Monsanto Lobbyist Alan Takemoto, the Commission on Water Resource Management, etc.).
These crops aren’t a part of some sustainability for the islands, as most of them are test crops / foods that are exported from Kauai. In fact, GMO seed is now the most valuable crop in the state (exceeding flowers, aquaculture, coffee, veggies and taro combined!). No, it doesn’t benefit the state as much as one might think, as like any good corporation they finagle their way around paying taxes:
About half the land used for GMO production on Kauai are public lands upon which zero property tax is paid. But they refuse to disclose to the public what they are growing or what they are spraying on these public lands. These large transnational corporations transfer their end products to related subsidiaries, benefit from Enterprise Zone and other GET exemptions and consequently pay zero GET tax on the products they produce. –former State Senator, current County Councilmember Gary Hooser
And despite what they want people to believe, these chemical companies import many of their field labor and specialists.
Biotech companies are operating on prime agricultural land without producing an edible crop, in a state that currently imports 85 percent of its food. ‘These crops employ a small number of biotech specialists and a somewhat larger number of field workers who could just as easily be employed growing food that we can eat,” says Paul Achitoff, a lawyer with Earth Justice. –Honolulu Weekly, “Bos GMO”
Locals who do work for them have to have a sit-down with their soul and ask themselves if a business immersed in poisoning the environment and unleashing seeds modified with viruses, bacteria and chemicals in open field propagation is worth their own personal gain. The term sell-out has never been more apropos.
Thanks to Dustin Barca, Walter Ritte, Ohana O’ Kauai, GMO-Free Kauai, Babes Against Biotech and everyone involved. Click here for the schedule of the upcoming marches scheduled consecutive Saturdays of the month on Big Island, Maui and Moloka’i. A`ole GMOs!
Check out Leslie Larsen’s video of the event:
* We tried to credit each photo but because it’s in slideshow mode the specific credits only show up in the Google searches – if you’d like your image removed simply let us know. Mahalo!