The Evolution of a Family Farm

My family has close to 80 years of farming experience.  My grandfather started it all.

My grandfather, Thomas Yushin Kamiya, as a young boy.

  

My dad collecting grass for his water buffalo.

  

My Uncle Paul with one of their dairy cows.


 

Fields of bananas planted.

 

My dad with my grandmother outside their old house.

  

Cattle grazing in the pastures below the Koolau Mountains.

  

My grandparents cattle roaming the pasture.

  

My dad, as a teenager, driving an old military jeep.

  

Back in the 50’s, my dad learned to hunt.

 

My grandma tended to her dairy cows every morning.


 

The old family house that sat beside the Koolau mountains between rice paddies.

   

My grandparents farming in Waikane Valley. They grew beans, sweet potatoes, cucumbers, and bananas.

 

Our farm manager’s son helping out with the planting.

  

My dad plowing the field to get it ready for planting.

  

The trees that was saved by science.

  

Farming is a family thing with my mom and daughter processing the fruit.

  

Farming is a business and it takes HR skills and some marketing savvy to sell your goods.

  

Our farm manager, Neil, resting in the shade after a day of picking.

  

If it’s not picking or planting papaya, it’s fixing stuff.

  

My dad on his 1974 Ford tractor.

  

My brother, the next generation, planting next year’s crop.

 

My dad with my daughter, the next generation of farmers.

 

 
 

 

You Can’t Get on a Canoe Without a Real Plan

You Can’t Get on a Canoe Without a Real Plan

  
As I was looking at my dad’s papaya seedlings the other day, it really made me realize how things in nature are a reflection of our own lives in many ways.  

  
Every single papaya came from a single seed that was carefully bred and planted with care.  My dad crossed his Kamiya line with the Rainbow papayas to get his customer favorite, Kamiya Gold.  This little seed was carefully dried up and stored until it was time for planting.  

The papaya seeds were then placed into vermiculite to help sprout them in the protection of his greenhouse.  If it weren’t for this, the seeds would be attacked by slugs, snails, birds, and the elements at this early stage.  As these seedlings grow larger and stronger, they are transplanted into larger pots, and eventually grow large enough to be field ready.  Daily care is needed daily to ensure strong and healthy plants.

  
In addition to preparing the seedlings, the field must also be readied for planting.  This in itself takes months to prepare. Cover crops are grown after each field is plowed back when the trees get too tall to pick.  The crop itself takes months to grow. The soil must be plowed after cover crops have matured to encourage breakdown of the organic matter.  It will take sometime for the bacteria to fully compost the cover crop to replenish the soil.  Drip lines are also put in and the field is marked to set the proper row widths. Once the field prep is done, small holes are dug to place the foot tall seedlings into.

  
Once that field is planted, the trees will need fertilizer, pest control, and watering.  Dead leaves are picked off the trees to prevent damage to the fruits and some are even thinned out to ensure enough space for each one to grow.  After about a year, those trees will be ready for harvest.  

  
I realized that our lives are very much lIke these plants.  Everyone has the potential to develop and give back to others, just like the trees nurtured from the seed to plant.  We all start off on the same but the experiences we have and the inputs we are provided or denied, shape us throughout our lives.

Like seedlings, people have some set basic needs to even start off right.  Plants need medium, air, water, and sunlight to even start growing.  Once it uses its own food store and grows larger, it needs other elements to grow and produce fruits.  People are no different as they need the basics of food, water, and nurturing.  Without these to start with, neither plant nor people will be able to thrive.  The plants that don’t have the basic needs met will likely never be able to reach its fullest potential or will need extra care to make up for the effects not provided early on.  It’s the same for people.

As the person matures, just like a plant, their needs change but they will still need the basics and even more to become productive.  The trees will need more nutrients from fertilizers and some pest control to decrease the stressors on the plants.  By providing added nurturing, the trunks and roots become hardier to withstand the harsh elements.  People will need to learn skills via education and parental guidance and good role models to instill values that will keep them on the right path.  There will be constant distractors that can eventually stunt the tree and hindering its growth.   The added inputs set the foundation on which that person can excel upon just like the trees being able to provide delicious and nutritious fruits for years to come.

When living things aren’t given the basics early on and don’t have the right foundation to start from, these organisms can’t fulfill its maximal potential to become productive beings.  As a farmer’s kid, I had everything I needed in life and learned the value of hard work, perseverance, and striving to always to do a good job.  It is our nature to thrive, seek opportunities, do things better than before, and develop relationships. We as humans are always seeking to nurture each other as it comes from our instincts.  Like my dad’s trees that had all the inputs needed early on and cared for throughout its life, they provide the sweetest and most quality fruits around as a result of using tried and true lessons learned over the years.  

Hawaii is a hot bed for anti-everything activism.  We have lots to be against here.  If you live on the Big Island, you can be against geothermal energy, the Thirty Meter Telescope, and open ocean fish farming.  Go to Maui and you can be against GMOs and sugar cane burning.  After that, you can head to Kauai and join the anti-dairy and anti-GMO folks too.  No matter what your interest, you’ll find something to be against.  It gets pretty tiring that everything new is being blocked. Simply being staunchly against progress isn’t human nature.

The act of blockading things and denying our own instincts are counterintuitive.  Many of us have a desire to help others in some form or fashion and to do things better.  It’s in us to strive for that.  However, like a plant being denied nutrients or a baby denied human touch and love, neither can ever fully meet its full potential if the basics aren’t provided.  The nature of blocking biotechnology to farmers who are poor or use old chemicals to protect their crops keeps everyone else who depend on that farmer from having a productive and reliable food source.  Halting the construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope on Mauna Kea delays the funding of scholarships and revenue for education in the poorest county in our state.  Using a nebulous term like sacredness to fight a battle shows they fight a war based in ideology and not one with a working and living vision for the future.

Without access to education, we all stand to lose when the children aren’t able to overcome the fearfulness of their parents.  They won’t be able gain opportunities to rise out of poverty and the cycle continues in the next generation.  Shutting down the sugar cane or biotech industry on Maui takes away from opportunities of hundreds of people who keep the lands in agriculture and erases a key link to our local roots.  Relying on misinformation to achieve such goals is also against people who have a conscience and sense of caring of others.  The anti-everything people accept misinformation, acts of vandalism, and threats against others who speak in support of advancement.  They can only see a world of black and white and in concrete, literal terms because they have never been exposed to the world beyond their own eyes.  Progress is frightening to those who live life through only what they read and see on the Internet or what their fellow family member tells them.  The world is scary when you haven’t fully opened your eyes and actually learned about what’s happening with technology and research.

We are always learning lessons throughout our lives of what works and what doesn’t.  We have learned to be more efficient and do much more with less.  We use technology to achieve this.  It is in our nature to continually ask questions and find answers to them.  Those who choose to be willfully ignorant and don’t truly research what’s happening around us are like stunted plants who never fully produce anything tangible for others.   We also desire knowledge and value education as a society where everyone has equal opportunity to achieve a higher goal and give back to our communities.  

It’s time to stop and think about the anti-everything mentality.  It is totally opposite of what the human spirit wants to become.  In societies where this was crushed and it was not considered a value, have people flourished and led the world in helping others? Have these societies nurtured their people to willing give back and care for others? The truth is that the anti way of thinking has crushed the human spirit and by doing so, has people forgetting that those who live with freedom should use it for the betterment of others in this world.  There is plenty of suffering around us and why should those with everything be the ones adding more to it.  The sad thing is Hawaii is turning into a place where a loud minority are willingly crushing spirits and dreams of the few who have that desire. 

We need people who are willing to go up and beyond what is the norm here in Hawaii.  We can’t let naysayers with no strong vision for the future dictate policy here in Hawaii.  They take away dreams and aspirations of our young people and close off minds with fear and unsubstantiated beliefs. Nor do these people ever offer facts since that will cause people to question their movement.  

My dad said that we talk about the crabs in the bucket mentality thinking it’s the lowest ones pulling people down.  He said it really is the top ones, the leaders, who are not fighting to get out of that bucket and lead people over and out beyond the comfort of that bucket.  The mentality that science is propaganda and progress can be denied is what’s going to sink Hawaii’s ability to get anywhere in the future.  How can we ever grow our base of innovators, problem solvers, and community contributors to make Hawaii better when being anti-everything is gloryfied? It’s just ain’t cool to protest and not have a real plan for everyone.

Even the early Hawaiian canoe voyagers knew that they just couldn’t jump in a canoe and paddle out aimlessnessly into the vast ocean.  They studied the stars, weather, and ocean to gather knowledge and developed a plan.  They even figured out the best design of a vessel to take them on this adventure.  They planned this voyage with the intent of living in a new place by bringing along animals, plants, and other supplies to sustain them when they get there.  A lot of thought and effort went into this plan before it was ever launched.  As a result of good planning, cooperation, and leadership, the Hawaiians managed to make it here and establish their unique culture.

Humans are always striving to be at their best and get somewhere in life.  My ancestors had that same idea which is what brought them to Hawaii.  The ancient Hawaiians also did the same things when they headed out in their canoes.  No one would have ever been here if our ancestors sat around protesting and never coming up with a real plan.  The journey of getting to our destination and striving towards a vision didn’t start with protesting the thing of the moment.  We are here because of a lot of thinking, nurturing each other, and leaders with the guts to inspire us to get somewhere.  That’s the culture needed now.

  

You Can Never Know What Plantation Days Meant From Google

You Can Never Know What Plantation Days Meant From Google

  
I received some really lovely comments again from my last blog about not finding malasadas at Whole Foods.  Once again, the activists tend to prove my points time and time again that these people do not understand local culture in Hawaii.

The first comment calls my post a “bigoted rant.” Of course someone blogging to “changeamerica2012″ surely knows the history of Hawaii and why we have such a unique and diverse culture.  I bet he’s eaten all of those foods I posted on it too to learn about this “ethnic pride.” Granted, I posted food from many cultures that he can’t quite figure out exactly what ethnicity I’m referring to.

  

The second comment is long but pretty funny in that I’m a liar and work for Monsanto but then I’m right on point.  Heck, if I worked for any of the seed companies I would have to abide by their social media policies and probably can’t be calling this stuff out. The long rant goes on and ends with we should work together.  First, I’m a liar and deceitful. Then my grandparents were suffering plantation slaves, and now I’m right about culture and we should work together.  Huh?! 

Of course this person admits that he or she only knows plantation life from what they researched.  They never lived it and appears to have never talked to anyone who did either.   And who is not wanting to work together when these people are seeking bans of everything that created this beloved local culture? 

                   

I’ve known it for sometime about the true origins of the anti-GMO folks are not from here.  The activists themselves denied it but the facts are slowly emerging about these groups after the moratorium on GMO growing on Maui was voted in.

  
One of the first places SHAKA showed up at was a website called the Galactic Connection.  It touts aliens, ascension, and other conspiracy theory type stuff.  The site of course sells stuff too!  For just $144, you can have your Matrix Implant removed.  There’s even a essential oil pack for $99 to prevent unwanted implantation.  What a bargain!

Not only is the SHAKA Movement found on that website, but they are also on Thrive Movement site too.  This is yet another conspiracy based group that believes in conspiracies and chemtrails.  Too bad the voters who supported this initiative did not take some time too really focus on what they supported.  (Note: Maui county even paid to get it studied thanks to Dr. Lorrin Pang.  He was also one of the authors of the moratorium.)
  

 It’s not surprising that when new people with their own ideas come to town, they don’t care about fitting it. They want everyone else to change to fit them.  That’s clearly what we are seeing with the latest attacks against the Hawaii Commercial and Sugar Company on Maui.  Some Hawaii folks love our cane sugar, which is non-GMO, but then want to shutter it.  It must mean they want sugar from GMO sugar beets or some high fructose GMO corn syrup. 

The same kind of fear mongering is happening right on cue.  People are claiming that the cane burning is carcinogenic, toxic, and killing people.  I’ve even seen comments claiming  clusters of illnesses around Maui.  Oddly enough, Pacific Business News reported that Maui county, followed by Honolulu, then Kauai, were the healthiest places in the state.  How did the County’s health drastically change?

The anti-GMO turned anti-sugar cane burning club don’t care for facts or provide any alternative should their wish come true.  They love to use disinformation tactics and say things to divide communities and not create any opportunities for collaboration.  That is what I really despise about this type of activism.  

It’s sad that even some local folks are joining in on all of this divisiveness. This was a comment made when it was announced that Pioneer was closing one of its Kauai locations.  

 
 The things that these activist don’t realize is that people have to start somewhere.  Many times, it’s in agriculture.  They work and provide for their families who get educated.  In turn, these are our doctors, nurses, caregivers, teachers, and other skilled professionals.  Many of the ag workers further their skills and grow much of the fresh produce we find at farmers’ markets. These people really are some of the most productive and hardest working people I know and have been totally disrespected by the anti-everything know-it-all-but-really-only-talk club.

When you start with nothing and is presented with an opportunity, you value it.  One learns to rise up through hard work, it’s a valuable lesson that leaves a lasting legacy for all generations.  Those lessons are usually passed on in every subsequent generation.  

When you have everything you need and never really had to earn it, it’s hard to fully appreciate it.  It’s too easily taken for granted.  Our freedom from farming is due to all the immigrants now and in the past who built up our state with dedication, perseverance, and a vision for the future.  We should never forget that many of us are here because of those who came before us.  Know and appreciate our roots so we know where we are heading in the future.

You Won’t Find Malasadas at Whole Foods

 

Malasadas,a local favorite brought to Hawaii thanks to the plantation days.

 
It is of no surprise that the SHAKA Movement activists have decided to change its focus from GMOs and pesticides to another agricultural entity.  Hawaii Cane and Sugar is being attacked by the activists with regards to their practices of cane burning.  I’ve been seeing some really ugly comments happily hoping to send people who work on these farms back to where they came from.  The activists have offered no alternative and show no sense of community in helping those displaced should they get their way.

These people show little desire in wanting to understand local culture and the importance of agriculture in Hawaii.  If they don’t like it, then it has to go.  They do not know the stories of devastation of plant diseases upon papaya farmers or the loss of work when the sugar cane or pineapple fields were shuttered.  They never saw old communities suffering from the closures of these farms.  They probably don’t even know of anyone who lived through all of this.  The sad thing is that these same activists will proudly announce on their car bumper to “Keep the Country Country,” but then attack the people and entities who do keep it that way.

I somehow feel like these activists are creating their own sense of culture, which I see it as the “malama the aina” culture.  They talk about how we all have to care for the land but then fail to realize that if you don’t care for the people or educate them, how can they possibly know the best way to do so?  It’s a pseudo-culture that tries to take Hawaiian wisdom and mix it with the go green thinking trend.  It’s not a really deep culture but one based on social media memes and what’s hip at the moment

A genuine culture goes much further than opinions and is usually deeply rooted in knowing the history of one’s ancestors.  Through learning and sharing of stories about failures and successes, the future generations can have a guiding set of values and expectations that create a strong foundation to move forward with.  It is these values that keep people on the right path for their entire life and is easily passed down to the next generation.  The simplicity of these lessons are clear: hard work, honesty, appreciation, and accountability.  These were lessons learned through life on the plantations.  These people also seem to have no respect for hardwork either.

The new natives definitely like to mock plantation life in Hawaii.  They’ll say stuff like it was no different than slavery or just a bunch of ignorant people who didn’t know any better.  I despise the stuff they say about it because they are clueless in the results of the plantation days.  So many people immigrated here with nothing and worked their way up and held high expectations to get their children educated.  They obviously had a vision and instilled it in their children.  Those kids are now the leaders in our state and well respected professionals. The workers who come here now aren’t any different.  Their children are now community contributors as nurses, doctors, and other professionals.  The enduring lessons learned from those plantation days live on in so many generations that we sometimes forget our roots.

A huge reminder of those plantation days is usually found on our tables when we sit to eat.  Much of the local foods we love is a reflection of our humble roots and our countries our ancestors left.  We would have never had the rainbow of flavors if it weren’t for those awful plantation days.  Of course we know that the new natives have no appreciation of this and enjoy the native foods of ancient cultures, like quinoa and amaranth.  Just looking at what my favorite foods are, it really shows the results of many people from around the world sharing their own culture with one another.  Our local foods reflect how agriculture has had a huge influence in Hawaii.  If we don’t help to protect it, we chip away at our roots.  I personally really love my local style, unlabeled GMOs.  It’s pretty obvious that I sure won’t find those haupia (Hawaiian coconut pudding) filled Malasadas (Portuguese donuts) at the Kailua Whole Foods anytime soon.

 I’m thankful for those plantation days.   If it were for my great grandparents and others for taking that ride across the ocean, we would never had local style.  Do you enjoy the rainbow of local foods?

  An assortment of poke from Fresh Catch.

Spicy Korean pork plate from Bull Kogi.    

The ultimate local favorite, Spam musubi.

  

A summer favorite, pickle mango with some ling hi mui seed.

  

Puerto Rican pasteles from a neighbor.

  

Okinawan fried soba from Utage Restaurant.

  

Steamed mochi rice from Happy Days Chinese Restaurant.

Soft and sweet mochi from Nisshodo Mochiya.    

Furikake popcorn found at Longs Drug Store.

Assorted Japanese rice crackers, Chinese preserved seeds, dried seafoods, and other local goodies found at Longs.

Diamond Bakery cookies and crackers.
   

Tropilicious sorbets and ice creams in local flavors. 

 

Taro Brand Poi in its famous bags.

  

The local favorite, katsu plate lunch.

  

The delicious loco moco plate.


The L&L Drive Inn original saimin burger.

  

The Honolulu Cookie Company dipped shortbreads.

Yokan, a Japanese bean dessert.

  

A Japanese teishoku style lunch from Yohei Sushi in Honolulu.

Mochi and manju from Nisshodo Mochiya.  

   

Big Island Candies Crunch Bar made with Mac nuts.

  

Ono Ono kalua style meats.

  

Lomi salmon and poi that’s already prepared.

  

Chinese style prune mui preserves made by my mom.

    

Deluxe Bakery eclairs from my favorite pastry shop.

  

A local favorite, POG, passion fruit, guava, and orange juice.

  

Samurai Hawaiian Frost sherbet bowls.

  

Halo halo, a Filipino favorite, from Times Supermarket.

  

Golden Coin, a Filipino food and bakery, taro rolls.

A Hawaiian plate with poi, Okinawan sweet potato, kalua pig and cabbage, lomi salmon, and brown rice.  

This is local style. This is reflects Hawaii.  This is my roots.  If you feel ono for these foods, you’ll know what I mean.

**And these people prove my point again.**

  
   
       

     

 

The Power of Words

I’m one who will change my stance when the facts are presented.  When the news came out that there was a bullet hole in a telescope door, my gut feeling was that the threats posted on the social media did materialize.  It was with great relief that the facts came out that the hole was caused by an intake valve.  

I corrected my post online as I feel that it is the right thing to do and people deserve some sense of integrity to own up to my mistakes.  It’s only fair that I take responsibility for what I say and take corrective action to make it right.

It’s relieving that the hole was not caused by a gun.  I’m still leery of the threats being made against the people and the project.  The facts still remain that ugly things have been said.  Whether it be the anti-GMO threats of crop destruction of the threats made against the TMT workers, these words have been uttered by individuals.  Misinformation has been spread and not corrected.  I am able to correct mine and ask others to do the same whether you’re in support or against it. 

The quick correction to the story really tampered down the tone on both sides which shows the power of addressing potential misinformation in a timely manner.  

Wouldn’t it be such a nicer world if we all could correct misinformation and stop the spread of it?  

The Right to Know Says I’m not Responsible

 Apparently, politicians must be reading my blog because I just received this letter a few days ago. Representative Tulsi Gabbard is clearly misinformed when she states that GE ingredients need to be labeled and she’s using taxpayer dollars to achieve this.  (GE is a plant breeding technique, not an ingredient!). I’m not totally surprised that my own congress person is pursuing this as her own family has a vested interest in the health food market.  She has also received many contributions from the industry that stands to benefit from this kind of legislation.  Despite all of this, she’s not called a shill and is  more of a real shill than me!

The more I started thinking about this right to know, I realize why I take issue with it.  When people start demanding that the government be in charge of enforcing labeling of a product based on curiosity and not on evidence, it reflects upon a societal problem.  It really absolves the individual from taking personal responsibility for learning the facts.  The issue goes way beyond just the aspects of rights.  It amounts to a loud bunch of people who already don’t trust the government to regulate labeling.  I suspect that the labeling they want won’t magically gain their trust in any case.  

There’s a lot of discussion that the right to know movement is being pushed by the millennials.  This generation is at least two generations away from the farm and really haven’t been exposed to what it is really like to work hard and to start from the ground up.  That’s is clear when you have anti-GMO leaders like Ashley Lukens, from the Center for Food Safety, proudly professing that she works a set schedule so that she can get her yoga hour in daily.  Must be nice to have the luxury of that “me, myself, and I” time in since her crops don’t depnd on her.  The sweat she makes helps only herself and doesn’t give back to anyone else.

Like Ashley and her GMOs means pesticides bit, the right to know folks are really quick to inconvenience everyone else for the sake of labeling GMOs.  They demand that farmers have to completely change the way they grow and harvest their fields.  It will cost them a significant amount of money to do this.  Not only does it add more costs to farmers, but also to food manufacturers who have to revamp all of their labels.  The government and the taxpayers will also be affected in needing to test or regulate the labels for accuracy.  The papaya farmers have to purchase little labels and be sure it’s stuck on properly or risk getting a fine.  Not only do farmers and food manufacturers have to modify their work but it will all land up costing the consumers, especially the ones who are most in need of affordable food.  Many will incur some kind of cost in the form of time or money because of someone’s curiosity and refusal to learn the facts.

I think a lot of this may stem from the way our children are learning facts in school.  There is a high amount of pressure for schools to score well on tests.  My daughter exemplifies this when she shows me her homework and asks for the answer to be given to her for her test.  Instead of thinking  the task through to figure it out, it’s easier to just be given the answer than to think.  As a mother who wants to enable my child’s critical thinking skills, I don’t give in to this.  I walk through the process with her to provide here with a foundation to help her.  Learning about life isn’t simply about getting an answer.  

The world does not need more people who do not take responsibilty for their own learning.  America was not made because of people sitting around protesting.  The movers and doers were the ones to create their visions and dreams because they took initiative to do something.  We live in a great country because of great leaders who demonstrated the values of hard work and sacrifices and inspired others to do the same.  We have a reaped the benefits of those innovations.  It’s sad in this day and age that these values are not encouraged by leaders like our own President to even Representative Gabbard.  I just don’t get that sense of inspiration from our leadership at all.  What do we teach our young people when we don’t listen to those doing the real work and choose to listen to the squeakiest wheels? 

I get really irked with this kind of attitude pervading our society.  Why are people not taking some responsibility for themselves? From the college student who takes our $200k in student loans to pursue a degree that could never land a career to pay for it, only to default on it.  The information on the degree you’re pursuing is available and not doing your due diligence ahead of time costs everyone.  It will take resources from those pursuing real careers who did their homework and kept their word to repay the loans.  

This same absolving of responsibility is also seen in interns who tells their instructor that they didn’t learn a certain skill in school when asked to perform.  Instead of actually initiating a simple question of how one can prepare for the internship, they simply take cop out of stating, “I didn’t learn that.”  These people want to have their hand held to become skilled and are not able to take their schooling and figure out how to apply it in practice.  That person tries to make it someone else’s problem that they didn’t take the time to learn how to apply the knowledge provided to them.

Even the anti-GMO professor at UH, Dr. Hector Valenzuela, shows the same  behavior of not owning up to his actions and now stating that he’s the victim of harassment.  He proudly joined along with the Babes Against Biotech and shamelessly Marched Against Monsanto in Waikiki.  Neither he or any of the BAB members bother to tell their followers that Natural News or Dr. Mercola was not well vetted information.  They simply stopped posting it when I pointed it out that they tout pseudoscience.  Both Hector and Naomi Carmona never apologized or have ever owned up to all the harassment they incited against farmers like Dean Okimoto or even our state senators for the past few years.  

Avoiding responsibility is clearly seen by the anti-GMO activists who have made hateful statements on the social media against anyone who speaks up against them.  When I would across these uglies, I’d screenshot it and repost it. If they can say it, they should be held responsible for what they say and do.  The funny thing is that when it’s reposted, these people call it slander.  Excuse me but if you post it, own up to it or don’t even even post it.  When it’s pointed out to them, they again try to justify their behavior by saying that the pro-biotech supporters have done the same so it’s okay for them to do it.  I ask them for evidence of this and have yet to have them reply back with anything. (Apparently to the anti-anything crew, it’s a monkey see monkey do world, and it’s just not their fault.)

The worst thing about this right to know movement is that the backers of it are ready and willing to deny the basic needs of food to others.  They feed people with illogical reasons as to why Golden Rice is not needed.  I’ve seen some Hawaii GMO Free members say that vitamins are better or just grow carrots or leafy green to prevent vitamin A deficiency.  If the answer was so simple, why hasn’t it been done yet? These people must not grow things either to realize why this isn’t feasible.  I bet they don’t even have children to know why fortifying rice is the most viable option in these countries.  

With so much information available to us, the right to know movement really amounts to people who really aren’t willing to truly do their homework on what is and isn’t modified.  It’s way easier to be fed the answer in the form of a label than to actually sort through fact or fiction.  This kind of thinking only discourages taking responsibility for one’s own behavior and encourages taking the easy route.  Simply reading something on Google and joining a march fulfills their idea of saving the world.  Your right to know shouldn’t mean imposing on those who are the professionals with the right credentials behind them to choose the best tools available.  That right doesn’t give anyone a free pass at spreading misinformation and posting hateful stuff against farmers and scientists either.  The right to know folks need to get off their butts and actually learn a thing or two from the right sources before they start asking others to bend over backwards for them.  

One hour of yoga isn’t going to save the world, but dedicating your life to learning more about the world and seeking the truth is a much better investment for your own piece of mind and others that are impacted by your actions.  Learning inspires others.  Learning from those in the field is the best way to get an appreciation of the hardest workers.  Demanding your right via protests and petitions only shows the world that a country of abundance is full of selfish individuals who care only for themselves and what they are eating. 

I am not defined by what I eat and nor should you.

  

Live the Words You Speak

Live the Words You Speak

It’s pretty clear right now that the anti-TMT activists aren’t about coming to the table to find common ground.  They want no part of Mauna Kea being “desecrated” by the telescope.  It is once again a black and white choice with no compromises, which is not surprising at all.

The parallels between the anti-TMT movement and the anti-GMO one are just too eerily similar.  It’s the same kind of tactic where ideology is being used to justify their stances.  The anti-GMO one believes that the multinational corporations are poisoning people and messing with nature. There is no evidence that supports this claim but so many think this.  The anti-TMT stance is that Mauna Kea is being desecrated as it is considered sacred.  Despite many actions like snowboarding and ATV riding occurring  up there that make it really questionable if that really is the case.  Some even feel that protecting the mountain equates to protecting their culture.

If these people are protecting their culture, why are they so hateful and disrespectful of their own people who support the TMT? A high school student, Mailani Neal, started a petition to garner support for the project.  What happened to her was really telling about the true intent of the activists.  

The price Mailani paid to speak out was extremely intimidating and just outright ugly.  Like the anti-GMO movement’s tactics, the activists did the same thing with sending death threats and bullying in an attempt to discourage her from speaking up.  Her own people were behind these attacks.

I can’t help but think that this idea of protecting one’s culture to the point of being mean to a fellow native demonstrates culture gone bad.  If Mauna Kea is the mother, would she allow her children to send death threats of bullying among her children? Would she support the loudest of the bunch of the crowd rip apart her fellow children? No mother would support such actions and stand by it.

There are even kupuna and so many Hawaiian leaders seeking to shut down the project claiming that the protection of their culture justifies that they take away opportunities from their young people.  Some have even encouraged their fellow Hawaiians to reject science.  These people feel that nothing should be built and none can consider the consequences of what would happen if they take things away.  They are ready to deny their own from fulfilling his or her dreams.

When has it become a culturally acceptable thing to say hateful things to the younger generation and dismiss their aspirations? Why are adults try to tell others to reject science when they themselves have all benefitted from it?  Why is it okay to spout misinformation and emotional arguments for the sake of protecting your culture? Would any parent want to see her child acting in that manner.  I doubt it.  These people are using Mauna Kea to act badly and take away opportunities from their own in the name of sacredness.

What is happening here is the same as anti-GMO protesters telling Kamehameha Schools to stop leasing lands to Monsanto.  Much of the leases help fund the school’s educational mission to improve the lives of the Hawaiian people.  I sometimes wonder if all of these protests are intent on denying education to the native Hawaiians.  It appears to be that way.  They must want no one to pursue higher education to gain further opportunities.  The message their action sends is that it’s better to not learn science as it conflicts with their cultural belief system.

Both anti-GMO and the anti-TMT protesters talk about rising up and not joining the sheep.  The thing with breaking away from that behavior of herding is that it may be freeing and exhilarating initially, but in reality, it leaves the rest of the people more vulnerable.  The ones most at risk from the predatory behaviors are those who break away.  They leave the group with their own goals with no real idea of the harsh consequences they may face in nature.  If the radicals encourage others to follow the emotion fueled bandwagon, they impact everyone.  When the adults break away with their children, it leaves everyone in danger to all the predators like poverty, drugs, and homelessness.  When leaders of our state try to appease these people, it only sends the message that this kind of behavior is acceptable and encourages more of it.  What will be left of our society when those who put everyone at risk is put in charge?

A culture is not defined in a mountain, plant, or a word.  A culture is defined by how people act and treat one another and the lessons we teach our children. Do we help our fellow person by attacking them for their opinions? Does our actions reflect on how we want our children to behave? Does our actions inspire our keiki to strive at being the best they can be? Are we setting the best example to others when we refuse to acknowledge the facts and collaborate? Are we preparing the right foundation for the future in the stances we take? Have we did our part to improve our well-being as well as others?

Culture is a living and breathing being. It’s not the ahus (altars) built or the taro grown or a mountain for that matter.  It’s how we live, the examples we set, and the goals we strive for. It’s advancing our knowledge and leaving a real legacy for our children to follow and continue with each generation.  It goes far beyond the sensationalism of selfies at protests and TV appearances.

Live the culture you speak of in word and action.  That will live on forever in your children and their children.  We can care for the land and do what is righteous but if the action taken seeks to destroy communities and divide families, we can never effectively function as an ohana.  Hawaii’s culture is one of lokahi, where seek bonds to work together for a greater good.  That to me is what a culture should strive for.  

The ahu was built by many hands workng together. It’s a symbol that the entire community must focus upon. Each rock has a different history in its origin, shape, and size. They all sit upon each other to build a greater structure. That is the epitomy of what our communities in Hawaii can become if we embody the symbolism of these monuments.