We the members of GMO-FREE Hawai`i Island, would like to briefly share our thoughts on some of the concerns raised about the evolving genetic engineering industry. No one has all the answers in this unfolding drama, which is why we rely on the precautionary principle.
Plant pollination follows common rules of nature and we base our opportunities to maximize pollination accordingly. Yet these “rules” are constantly broken even in nature. A good example is the vanilla orchid whose pollinator, one solitary bee, is now thought to be extinct. All commercial vanilla is now hand-pollinated. However now and then a few vanilla blossoms that are not hand-pollinated become fertilized, possibly by the visitation of an errant insect. Nature can break the rules. We support taking a precautionary approach to this evolving technology.
Contamination is the issue that makes a mockery of co-existence. We know that genetically modified corn has been planted in O’okala, Honomu, and Pepeekeo which is a violation of The Hamakua Agriculture Plan that was adopted by the community in ####. The community was not notified when Big Island Dairies began growing the genetically modified corn on the Hamakua coast and can not protect their crops from the threat of contamination.
Kaua‘i is the poster child of an agricultural industry that is out of control. Deluged by tons of restricted use toxins, with no buffer zones and absolutely no accountability by the industries. Neighbors end up fighting neighbors over the impeding threats in a job challenged economy. Could that possibly happen here?
The GMO papaya industry worries about the “perception” of their product as the GMO debate gathers headlines on Hawai’i Island. Yet the reality is that GMO’s are being challenged and debated worldwide and this “unwanted attention” has nothing to do with Bill 113. Those of us who have concerns have long avoided the genetic papaya. Please be clear that we do not dislike the papaya farmers, we understand their situation and hope an eco-friendly farming alternative that is less toxic will become a more viable option in the future.
The genetic food revolution came to us with the promise of reducing toxic pesticide, herbicide, and fungicide usage. While initially this is true, over time weeds, bugs and viruses will/have adapted resulting in an increase of these toxins. Which have created new super bugs and weeds that require stronger solutions affecting environmental and human health. The new “stacked” toxic traits in genetics are symptomatic of the toxic treadmill that industrial farming is based on. Hawai‘i Island is already awash with toxins from the pineapple and sugar cane industries, haven't we learned anything?
Buying patented seeds that cannot be saved is a recipe for dependency. Industrial consolidation of the seed supply means fewer varieties will be available worldwide, a decline in locally adapted seeds, and loss of landrace varieties that have been preserved by Cultures around the world for use in times of natural or catastrophic environmental changes. Fewer choices for everyone. The whole concept of control of the food supply, until recently was only fodder for science fiction, is on the path to reality- thanks to patents of life forms and corporate monopolization in agriculture.
It is our kuleana to malama i ka ʻaina (to take care of the land) for future generations.
The biotechnology industry claims to be the "way of the future", capable of solving all of the world's agricultural problems. However, the track record of these agro-chemical companies are littered with long term destruction of the environment. The problem is that the biotechnology industries economic vision destroys the natural propagation of life and is not in sync with Hawai`i`s (the world`s) vision for economic, environmental, social and political wealth. Real technological contributions should benefit the land in harmony with natures’ ways. Technology alone will not eliminate labor, pests, or disease problems inherent in agriculture. Economic wealth should not come at the expense of our environmental, social, or political wealth. Branding our island, as a non-gmo agricultural industry will add both appeal and value to Hawai`i Island. Our future depends on conscious choices focused on ecological health.
The rights of nature and the "natural human" should be above corporate interest.
Last Updated: September 26, 2013