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Hilo’s Anti-GMO March in March

(Part 1) (Part 3)

With the largest protest in Hilo, over the past decade, my local MSM rag, merely ran this blurb and pic on the frontpage, with no follow-on story…! Here’s a pic of the flyer that went up around town promoting it…March in March! One remarkable feature of this protest, that surprised me, besides the sheer numbers, over a thousand! Was the fact it was largely, organized and promoted, solely on Social Media, with very little radio and/or media play…!

Basically, it all started with this sordid episode, which prompted the entire inter-isle protest marches…

Why Is A Monsanto Lobbyist Serving On A Water Resource Panel?

Hawaii Senate President Donna Mercado Kim has chosen a Monsanto lobbyist to be on the group that recommends candidates for the state water commission.

The choice is a controversial one because the Commission on Water Resource Management controls the allocation of state water resources, and Monsanto, a huge agri-business company, has a major stake in how water rights are granted. The commission has been at the center of fights among developers, large plantation owners, environmentalists, the military and Native Hawaiian groups…

…Last week, Kim appointed Alan Takemoto, the community affairs manager at Monsanto, to the nominating committee.

The company, which tests genetically modified organisms on seed crops in Hawaii, recently applied to the water commission for a permit to use 2.6 million gallons of water a day from a new well in Waipahu-Waiawa. The permit was denied

But Kim, who records show also got $500 in campaign donations from Monsanto, defended the decision. As Senate president it’s ultimately her choice, but she said that she deferred to Solomon because she is chair of the Senate Water and Land Committee. Kim said that she reviewed Takemoto’s experience and that she believes he is qualified.

“He has this broad experience, and I thought it would be important that someone be representative of the agricultural community,” said Kim.

But Kim noted that his experience goes far beyond working for Monsanto. Takemoto has also served as director of the Hawaii Farm Bureau Federation and is on the board of the Agribusiness Development Corporation.

“Being one of four people, it’s hard for me to imagine that all three names will be all Monsanto people,” said Kim. “So I think there is a balance.”

As for Monsanto’s campaign contributions, she said that isn’t a concern…

Anti-GMO groups such as Occupy Monsanto and Babes Against Biotech immediately criticized the appointment on Facebook, circulating petitions and posters with such slogans as, “Hands Off Our Water!!!”

“Our major concern is that the lines between corporations and government are blurring right in front of us,” said Nomi Carmona, president of Babes Against Biotech. “And it’s an absolute conflict of interest for our Senate president to appoint a registered Monsanto lobbyist to a position where he would be appointing water commissioners.”

Ironically, I can personally attest to the fact that most of our county/state commissions and/or boards, are already stacked with corporate stooges…! Many of them serve on multiple commissions…!

Now, as one of the event organizers, Kea Kapahua, wrote about why she got directly involved…

March in March to Evict Monsanto

“As a Hawaiian, I am very concerned about our ‘aina, the land that feeds and sustains us, and the legacy we leave to our children and their children. When our ‘aina is repeatedly bombed with a cocktail of pesticides, this creates an unsuitable environment to grow healthy, life giving food. We are not able to care for our land and food properly and in return the land cannot care for us. This is important. I not only take issue with the devastation of our land, water and air, by these agrochemical corporations, but with the very act of crossing boundaries or barriers that nature has set up. It is unnatural to place the gene of a bacteria into the DNA of corn so it survives the repeated heavy spraying of herbicides. These corporations create an unwanted and uninvited prison for us; we live on an island, where are we going to go? What are we going to do when our water is too contaminated to drink or grow food? What about our limu and the fish we eat from the ocean? Just last year an estimated 50,000 sea urchins died off of Kaua’i’s west shore where a lot of the experimental GMO crops are grown. What about genetic pollution? The GMO papaya is the perfect example of the inability to contain life. Today, over 50 percent of the papayas on Hawai’i island have been found to be GMO contaminated. And what about the freedom to breathe clean air? On Moloka’i they are dealing with fugitive chemical laden dust storms. How can I not care?”

From the Oahu march…

Finally, here’s a response from the GMO industry…

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

“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.”

Btw, many of the protestors were ‘rewarded’ for their efforts, by Hilo’s Finest …!


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