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GMO Free Hawaii Response to Hawaii Crop Improvement Association’s News Release on Monsanto Marches

Alicia Maluafiti,  Executive Director of the Hawai’i Crop Improvement Association sent out a news release on 3/16 responding to the Monsanto Marches on Kauai and Hawai’i Island.  While everyone is entitled to their opinion in the US, we do disagree with her “assessment” of our actions and would like to provide our own reality check.

Photo from the GMO Free Hawaii Facebook page

Photo from the GMO Free Hawaii Facebook page

Alicia:   “Organizers of these anti-GMO and evict Monsanto marches are creating a hostile environment in our communities by using scare tactics and spreading misinformation.” 

Our Response:   Actually,  the marches have been very peaceful, and the “scare tactics and misinformation” have been folks just telling the truth.  The truth about genetically engineered crops is actually pretty scary:  Superweeds on Moloka’i, high fructose corn syrup linked to autism, lack of long-term studies on health effects, increased use of herbicides and pesticides leading to severe problems with our pollinators to name just a few!

Alicia:  “It is not pono to rally support for an agenda by repeating myths and exaggerations to our Hawaii communities.”  

Our Response:  The communities “agenda” in speaking out and holding marches is that we care about the health of our families, our lands, our food, and our communities.  One doesn’t need to exaggerate about Monsanto and it’s poor record of community health in communities all across the US.   But, why pick on just Monsanto when we also have companies like Dupont/Pioneer, Syngenta, BASF, Dow Agrosciences, conducting experimental genetically engineered field trials in Hawai’i?

Alicia:  “It is also unfortunate that misleading and false claims made by these activist groups are often repeated by mainstream media without verification of their accuracy.”  

Our Response:  There are also often repeated “misleading and false claims” such as “GMOs can feed the world,” or “farmers need all the tools in the toolbox” which justifies contamination of conventional and organic crops which are inaccurate and unverifiable.

Alicia:  “We value the concerns of the public and work to address these concerns through informative and respectful dialogue based on facts and proven studies.”  

Our Response:  Do you value the health concerns of the people of Waimea, Kauai or Kaunakakai, Moloka’i?  The biotech industry seems to value the studies done by industry scientists, and doesn’t allow independent testing of seed or genetically engineered products.

Alicia:   “We also respect freedom of speech; however, we believe the community would be better served if they were provided facts instead of myths and false accusations.  Some of those facts include:”

Alicia:  “To date, people have consumed more than 3 trillion servings of foods produced using biotechnology, without one documented case of illness resulting from these foods.” 

Our response:  The obesity rate in the US has tripled in the time GE foods have been on the market, with 70% of adults  and 30% of children overweight or obese.  According to the CDC,  1 in 3 children today are expected to become diabetic and experience the adult diseases of hypertension, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, in their youth.  Autism has increased 78% from 2002-2008, childhood cancers have increased 25% since 1989, and obesity has increased 171% in children ages 6-11 from 1989-2004.

Alicia:  “Seed farmers keep agricultural land in agricultural use, with plenty of land available for other farmers. Seed farmers own or lease approximately 5 percent of the available prime agricultural land in Hawaii.”

Our Response:  I think the point she is trying to make is,  that we don’t have very many farmers anymore,  so someone using the land is better than no one using the land.    However, not all land use is “pono.”  The increased use of 400 million pounds, of herbicides sprayed upon the land in the US has not increased the fertility of that land, and indeed has destroyed microbial life and contributed to polluted waterways, decreased aquatic life, and superweeds.  This is not myth or misinformation, these are just the facts.  Universities have done many studies on these topics.

Alicia:  “GMOs are some of the most extensively tested and federally regulated of all crops, so we actually know more about their safety than many other types of crops, including conventional and organic.” 

Our response:   The only testing that has been done on GE crops has been done by the companies themselves.  Everyone knows the FDA, EPA, and USDA don’t test, they rely on companies to test and report their findings.

We would like to pose a few question to Alicia and the HCIA:

1.  How is your organization funded?

2.  How would you address the problem of Superweeds on Molokai and Kauai?

3.  How would you and your organization address the problem of soil erosion (into the reef or airborne soil dust storms) on the Island of Molokai?

For the following questions please see this study:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22101424

and this article

http://www.ithaka-journal.net/herbizide-im-urin?lang=en

1.  Currently, GMO products tested and grown in Hawaii are intended to maximize the effect of glyphosphate products, isn’t that correct?

2.  Isn’t it true that recent scientific studies show that glyphosphate is contaminating aquifers, wells and springs nationwide and worldwide?

3.  Isn’t it true that glyphosate actually doesn’t break down rapidly in the environment, and is continuously building up in concerning quantities?

4.  Isn’t it true that although glyphosate is the mostly widely used herbicide in the world, we know very little about its long term effects to the environment?

The March to Evict Monsanto will have its 4th of 5 marches this Saturday in Maui. The final march will be in Molokai on Saturday, March 30th.

Mahalo,
Justin Avery
GMO Free Hawai`i Island

1.  Journal of Clinical Epigenetics  – http://www.clinicalepigeneticsjournal.com/content/4/1/6  (Study on High Fructose Corn Syrup)

2.  PAN:  “A Generation in Jeopardy:  How Pesticides are Undermining Our Children’s Health and Intelligence”  www.panna.org/publication/generation-in-jeopardy

A Generation in Jeopardy: PAN’s groundbreaking report examines how pesticides are undermining our children’s health & intelligence.

3.    “Patented Seeds vs. Free Inquiry” Council for Responsible Genetics February 2013   http://www.councilforresponsiblegenetics.org/GeneWatch/GeneWatchPage.aspx?pageId=456

 

Hawaii Crop Improvement Association Statement on Anti-GMO Marches Across the State

Hawaii Crop Improvement Association statement on Anti-GMO Marches Across the State:

HCIA

“Organizers of these anti-GMO and evict Monsanto marches are creating a hostile environment in our communities by using scare tactics and spreading misinformation. It is not pono to rally support for an agenda by repeating myths and exaggerations to our Hawaii communities. It is also unfortunate that misleading and false claims made by these activist groups are often repeated by mainstream media without verification of their accuracy.

“We value the concerns of the public and work to address these concerns through informative and respectful dialogue based on facts and proven studies. We also respect freedom of speech; however, we believe the community would be better served if they were provided facts instead of myths and false accusations.

Some of those facts include:

  • To date, people have consumed more than 3 trillion servings of foods produced using biotechnology, without one documented case of illness resulting from these foods.
  • Seed farmers keep agricultural land in agricultural use, with plenty of land available for other farmers. Seed farmers own or lease approximately 5 percent of the available prime agricultural land in Hawaii.
  • GMOs are some of the most extensively tested and federally regulated of all crops, so we actually know more about their safety than many other types of crops, including conventional and organic.”

Alicia Maluafiti, Executive Director of Hawaii Crop Improvement Association

Big Island March to Evict Monsanto on Saturday March 16th

The Island of Hawai`i will be the 3rd of 5 Islands across the state to host a, “March in March to Evict Monsanto,” on Saturday, March 16, 2013.

Stop Monsanto

The march encourages Hawai`i residents to support and celebrate food sovereignty and investigate land stewardship practices by landowners such as Kamehameha Schools that is leasing 1,033 acres of land to Monsanto. Hawai’i is the global research lab of the world for genetic engineered organisms (GMOs) testing with over 5,000 open-field experiments statewide.

This is a free community event for all ages. There will be face-painting, a non-GMO pot-luck, a mini Zumba class with UH Hilo Dance Instructor Kea Kapahua and other island Zumba Instructors, a non- GMO seed exchange, informational tables, and dance troupe- Rebekah Duncan and the Kealakehe Dance Team will all be a part of the event.

Participants are invited to signwave at the Kamehameha Statue in Hilo at 9am. At 9:30am we will leave the statue, pass by the Hilo Farmer’s Market, and cross the street to the Mo’oheau Bandstand. Esteemed speakers will speak from 11-12pm on issues concerning the growing of genetically modified crops and the impact they have upon the `aina. Food sovereignty activist Walter Ritte, Senator Russell Ruderman- owner of Island Naturals, and UH Manoa professor of agriculture Dr. Hector Valenzuela will speak. Lono Kanaka’ole Trio, Darryl Castillo, and Chris Berry and Friends will be playing music.

We invite the community to participate in the march and rally to show solidarity for a future free from genetically engineered crops growing on the islands by Monsanto, Dow, Dupont/Pioneer and Syngenta. All of these crops are shipped off island, most of which are for animal feed and research. Also, these companies do not pay taxes on these exports. These open fields near schools and communities are doused regularly with large quantities of toxic industrial chemicals, some of which are banned in Europe.

The event is free and open to the public.

March in March to Evict Monsanto is the vision of the Hawai’i GMO Justice Coalition and Professional Surfer and MMA fighter Dustin Barca. Sponsored in part by the Sierra Club-Moku Loa Group, Know Your Farmer Alliance, Kailani Pool Service, Island Naturals, Da Hui, Kulture Tattoo, Food Democracy Now, Babes Against Biotech, and Millions Against Monsanto.

This event is highlighting the film created by the Hawai’i GMO Justice Coalition addressing the impact of genetic engineering in Hawai`I; Stop Monsanto From Poisoning Hawaii: Genetic Engineering Chemical Warfare.  The film will be shown at UH Hilo the Wednesday preceding the march on Saturday.

[youtube=http://youtu.be/uZgrOFjhzdg]

For more information about the event please contact Kea Kapahua at kristikea@yahoo.com or 808-896-5622.

 

GMO Labeling Rally at the Hawaii State Capitol

There will be a GMO Labeling Rally at The Hawaii State Capitol on Tuesday, February 21st, from 12:00pm – 5:30pm.

Schedule for the Rally:

  • 12pm Blessing Ceremony for Haloa the Taro Ki’I on the Capitol
  • 12:30 – 2:30 rally, music 6 speakers, free salad and snacks
  • 2:30 – 4:30 lobby legislators
  • 5pm Closing

[youtube=http://youtu.be/lWSrak3ohrg]

The Big Stink: US Fish and Wildlife Halt Illegal Mangrove Poisoning on Hawaii’s Big Island

Media Release by Sydney Ross Singer:

There’s a new smell in the air at the popular Pohoiki surfing and swimming beach, at Isaac Hale Beach Park on the Puna coast. It’s the stench of rotting mangroves, recent victims of illegal poisoning by the group Malama o Puna.

The 2-3 acre mangrove forest at Pohoiki, along with other small mangrove habitats on the Big Island, have been the subject of an herbicide experiment designed to study the cost effectiveness of eradicating mangroves by poisoning them and leaving them to rot, as opposed to the more expensive method of hand removal.

The experiment was funded by the Hawaii Tourism Authority and the US Fish and Wildlife. All the mangroves on the Big Island were to be poisoned and eradicated. Without public comment or awareness of the plan, Malama o Puna stealthily attacked mangroves throughout the Big Island. They were half way through poisoning Pohoiki’s mangroves when citizens caught wind of the project and began to make a stink.

Complaints from the Good Shepherd Foundation and the ad hoc group Save the Mangroves caused Fish and Wildlife to stop the work. There had been no environmental assessment (EA) or review by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for this project, making this an illegal poisoning of our shoreline conservation land. It may also be a violation of the Clean Water Act and the Endangered Species Act.

According to Hawaii Revised Statute (HRS) 343, an EA is required when state or county funds or land is used, and when the proposed action is on conservation or shoreline land. An EA would also be required under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). Since this also involved Federal money, there should have been both a Federal as well as a state EA.

Armed with herbicide donated by chemical giants BASF and Monsanto, Malama o Puna was given a nod and a wink and a green light from its “partners” at the Big Island Invasive Species Committee (BIISC) to go ahead with the poisoning.

BIISC is a cartel of government and private exterminators. It includes individuals at the US Forest Service, US Fish and Wildlife, US Geologic Survey, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources, Hawaii Department of Agriculture, University of Hawaii CTAHR, Hawaii County, the Nature Conservancy, Kamehameha Schools, Office of Hawaiian Affairs, and Malama o Puna.

Malama o Puna received a grant from its partner, Fish and Wildlife, and an SMA minor permit from its partner, Hawaii County. It had its application license for using the herbicide granted by its partner, the Hawaii Department of Agriculture. And the Department of Land and Natural Resources, another partner, looked the other way as the conservation shoreline it was supposed to protect was poisoned.

No public comments were taken, since an SMA minor permit does not require public notification. Clearly, BIISC cartel members did not want anyone getting wise to what was happening.

There was a time when environmentalists fought chemical companies to prevent shorelines from being polluted with poisons. Now, “environmentalists” partner with chemical companies to poison the shorelines. And the government agencies that should protect us from this are also partners, destroying the checks and balances that are needed for protecting the environment.

Mangroves are appreciated worldwide for their benefits of shorelines protection, support of coral reefs, water purification services, and habitat creation for small fish and other marine life. Hawaii’s mangroves were brought over 100 years ago to protect the shoreline, and studies have shown they increase local species richness and biodiversity.

Now, however, the poisoned and rotting mangroves are a source of pollution and stench, creating a public health and environmental hazard. Bathers at Pohoiki will be at risk from this pollution, which is a liability for the state and Federal agencies that partnered in the project, as well as for Malama o Puna.

Something is rotten in Hawaii, and it’s not just the mangroves.

For more information, call Sydney Ross Singer at 808-935-5563. Or email us at SaveTheMangroves@gmail.com.