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:

and this article

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.

Justin Avery
GMO Free Hawai`i Island

1.  Journal of Clinical Epigenetics  –  (Study on High Fructose Corn Syrup)

2.  PAN:  “A Generation in Jeopardy:  How Pesticides are Undermining Our Children’s Health and Intelligence”

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