Honor and Respect our Farmers the Local Way

sugarcanebw

Hawaii is known as the melting pot of cultures.  Many people from diverse regions of the world came to our islands for one common reason…  To start a better way of life.  The opportunity that brought them here was agriculture.

My family have had their hands in agriculture for a very long time.  My great grandfather was born in Hiroshima, Japan and came to Pahoa on the Big Island, where he grew coffee.  My great grandparents on my dad’s side immigrated from Okinawa and started their life on the Big Island of Hawaii to work on the sugar cane plantations over a hundred years ago.  Many other local folks have similar stories of relatives who came from the Philippines, China, Korea, Japan, Portugal, and other countries to give them a better opportunity.  The very diversity in Hawaii was created by agriculture.

With the blending of so many cultures, brought specifically for the industry, the groups of people placed on the plantations had to develop a new culture.  They didn’t share a common language or culture so a new one evolved over time.  That culture is what we know of today as being “local.”

Being local has its own set of unstated rules about how we treat each other and how we interact with each other.  Local folks value respect for others.  Can you imagine if the Chinese workers went up and told the Japanese ones that they didn’t like something about them?  Plantation living meant maintaining harmony and working together towards a common goal.  It was key to the success of the plantations here.  A plantation could never function if there were such uprisings of people against each other.  Coexistence and interdependence was key to everyone’s survival and way of living here.

Fast forward a century later and see what has happened.  The plantations are no longer here and a new kind of agriculture has replaced those lands.  Technology has advanced how we farm and how we take care of the land.  Farming has built an evidence base to expand on.  Agriculture still remains a huge industry here and is still what makes the country country.  However, what has changed is that certain people have started to attack it.  Agriculture is essentially a tapestry of what makes Hawaii unique.  A small group of people, who don’t share our plantation and farming roots, have decided to unravel at the threads of what made us who we are by using fear and misinformation.  Local people have never experienced such kind of tactics and stand at a crossroad as to how to handle this.

Many long time local farmers have decided to remain quiet, while others, have decided to speak up.  The ones who have spoken up have paid the price by being ridiculed and disrespected by these activists.  They’ve decided to lay low and hope that the tide will change soon since activists have succeed in destroying reputations on the social media.  Local folks don’t like being the target of this kind of behaviors and just endure quietly.  Leaders are not hearing these voices as a result.

These activists and aligned politicians have essential decided to unweave the very thing that made our islands what they are today.  It is very clear that they don’t understand or embody what it means to be local.  Richard Ha, a long time farmer who owns Hamakua Country Springs Farm, calls these locals the “rubbah slippah folks.”  They want their Hawaii, not the local style Hawaii that those of us born and raised know of.  They are also taking advantage of the fact that local folks just don’t speak up.  It is so against typical rubbah slippah folks to stick their necks out for something.  The level of respect of the activists are clearly zero.  They are essentially coming onto local folks’ farms and dictating what and how they want their food grown.  What local person would ever think of doing that?

Right now, local family farms like my dad’s and others are at a huge junction as to what will be their next action.  Local farmers and ranchers are being put in positions where they have no choice but to speak up for themselves against a public, who have little to no ties to their work or agriculture.  Even our faithful customers don’t know how to help in this environment.  There is a new culture being formed, as to what values the new generation of farmers need to possess.  The new local style of handling this needs to be, “SPEAK UP for what you love and honor!”

I am only a single person, who decided to take a leap and speak up.  I have created a simple way for others to do the same.  Please sign the petition to give your support to the farmers of our state and let our leaders know that the local folks aren’t going to sit back anymore.  It’s now our turn to be heard!  That is how I will honor and respect my roots in agriculture!  Will you do the same?

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GMOs Does Not Mean God Move Over and Here’s Why

Here’s another thing that I hear frequently being stated by many of the anti-GMO activists, “Stop messing with the DNA in our food!”  Mark Fergusson, the CEO of the very much anti-GMO Down to Earth Markets also called it, “God Move Over.”  I just hate the fear mongering that’s being said about a technology that can do so much for growing food and decreasing our impact to do so.

The goal of the anti-GMO supporters really is to take advantage of the fact that most people have little to no clue as to what GMO really is.  When there is a huge number of people who are not literate in biology, chemistry, and basic genetics, you have a nice market of people to target with fear and doubt about this technology.

The activists from the Food Babe, Babes Against Biotech, Hawaii GMO Justice Coalition, Earthjustice, and the Center for Food Safety, will also go on to state that genetic modification of our food stuffs is going to mess up people in some form or fashion.  They love to use emotion evoking phrases like, “it’s being shoved down your throats,” to “it’s killing our keiki and kupuna,”  We also can’t forget those syringes stuck in food and skull in crossbones bit that they want on this GMO label.

Why are these people so afraid of this thing called DNA?  It’s probably because they don’t understand what it is to begin with.

I know that videos are great ways to teach people a thing or two about what DNA really is.

Then when you get a better understanding DNA, let’s talk more about genetics.

I hope you kind of got a general idea of DNA and basic genetics.  Now here’s a great video on the story of biotech papayas and how it all comes together.

Note that even with this modification of the genetics, the composition of the papaya is not significantly different than the conventional type.  Also note that the transgenic papayas have disease resistance built into it.  It is developed to resist the papaya ringspot virus that is spread by an aphid.  Even though Gary Hooser has told so many people that GMO means pesticides, it does not at all.  It is a technology that can be applied in many different ways.

If you’re still feeling afraid of genetic modification in our food, let’s talk about the food we eat today.  Here’s a great example of two different types of tomatoes that have altered genetics done through selective breeding.

tomatoes

These clearly have different genetics to result in these two forms of tomatoes.  We can eat both of them and do you think our body can tell the difference?  No.  The compositions might be slightly different, and the DNA is different but our body can’t tell.

Of course, the next line that a typical anti-GMO activist might say is that these tomatoes don’t have fish genes in it.

The dreaded fish genes!

That’s a funny thought because if you were to eat fish, you are eating fish genes and have you turned into something awful?  Ummm…  No.  So even if a tomato might have genes of a fish, a common blunder quoted by many antis that is not true at all, would your body know this?  Nope.  Genes are not species specific!

If you watched the videos above, you might figure out that you can’t say that the genes is what’s making you allergic to something either.  If you think that there’s a new allergen that’s created by the genetic modification, you’d be wrong too because it is tested and tested for these potential issues.  Allergenic proteins are pretty well known and if detected, the trials are abandoned and destroyed.

The same anti-GMO activists decry biotech testing but then listen to Dr. Oz touting those exotic miracle cures.  He went from touting goji berries and now garcinia cambogia, which has no allergenic tests done ever but assumed safe.  Wouldn’t that worry you more to be consuming these untested things?  Nope.  Where’s the precautionary principle applied here?

The DNA fearing God Move Over crowd continues to cry about the evil of genetic modification and the need for the precautionary principle, but always misses a key point about this technology.  They are worried about what happens when they consume this GMO derived food product because of the unknown genetics.  If that is the case, why aren’t they worried about what happens when they consume banana genes or GMO free noni genes?  If one is afraid of messed up genes, then they should really fear things like heirloom tomatoes that have really altered genetics.

There’s a lot of DNA in many GMO free products that they should be worried about but don’t even realize it.  I’m more afraid of the bacterial genetics of what’s on some organic foods than I am of GMO corn or papaya any day.

 

Chemophobia of the Oblivious Anti-GMO Activists

I can’t tell you how many times I have been told, “If it’s not grown organically, then it’s poisoning the a’ina (land in Hawaiian).”  The GMO Free activists keep making this statement over and over and people start to believe it.  It is repeated over and over until it becomes a pseudo-truth that they all regurgitate at their social rallies.

From Big Island County Council Member Margaret Wille to Kauai County Council Member Gary Hooser and even Senator Josh Green, this is now stuck in the minds of the activists and seeping into the minds the general public.  These “leaders” have people thinking that chemicals are bad and we have to avoid them at all costs.  The activists then shout out, “I don’t want any chemicals on my food.”

I’m sorry to disappoint but everything in this world is made up of chemicals including us!  It really bothers me that people are saying these kinds of things, not even realizing that this shows a clear lack of understanding of science.  I sometimes wonder if the movement is not so much about being anti-science, but non-science.  That really is a better descriptor of these folks when they make comments that show their chemophobia.

What a lot of the GMO free folks really demonstrate with these statements is that they really don’t understand the concepts about chemicals and toxicity.  They automatically assume that if the chemical is derived naturally that it is safer and that is not the case.  They also think that anything used on a biotech or conventional farm is very toxic just because it is called a pesticide.  Little do they realize that just paying attention to what’s in our own homes, we have a lot of toxic things in our living quarters that work just like pesticides.  It’s time to educate people a bit on this issue.

Toxic Talk

Before we go on, let’s talk about toxicity for a bit here.  Here is the definition of it on Wikipedia:

Screenshot 2014-04-10 20.33.29

What is important to note with the concept of this is that there is a degree to which something can be harmed by the substance.  Certain substances like water and salt is vital to life but when taken in at high doses, it can prove deadly to organisms.  This applies to nearly every substance that we might ingest or be exposed to.  Like the ancient scientist Paracelsus noted, “The dose is what makes the poison.”

Ah, the dose that makes the poison is the key concept here.  Toxicity is also measured in something called lethal dose (LD) and is usually expressed in a measure called the median lethal dose or LD50.  LD50 refers to the amount of a substance it would take to kill 50% of the population of say rats or mice per milligram of substance to kilogram of body weight.  It is an indication of the lethality of a substance.  In general, the smaller the amount, the higher the lethality of the substance.

I decided to take yet another walk around my house to find “poisons.”  I bet if many of the GMO free folks did the same walk, we’d all find the same things too.

My Kitchen of Death

I started in my kitchen to see if I had poisons lurking there.  Sure enough, I found quite a bit of things that if taken in the right doses could be toxic to me.  Take a look at what I found.

salt

Right above my stove and purposefully added to food is a nice hefty, but toxic container of table salt or sodium chloride.  A GMO free activist would never believe it but this is much more toxic than RoundUp any day.  Table salt has a LD50 of 3000mg/kg vs. RoundUp at 5600mg/kg.

Eating small amounts of it makes food tastes great but too much isn’t good for us as we all know.

baking soda

I’ve seen so many natural fallacy sites and lots of GMO Free sites touting baking soda as the chemical free way to clean.  Please, baking soda is a chemical called sodium bicarbonate in technical terms.  Its LD50 is 4200 mg/kg and is much more toxic than RoundUp also.  If a small child were to consume just a few tablespoons of this, it would be extremely toxic and it’s stated right on the box.

dawn

Dishwashing soap is also considered a pesticide.  When you go to the gardening stores, you can buy diluted dishwashing soap that’s sold as soap spray pesticides for the same price as a large bottle of it.  Save money by making your own pesticides right from your own kitchen.

Some people have tried using the homemade recipe for weedkiller that uses dish soap along with some salt that is effective.  That is likely much more toxic that the RoundUp you find premixed in the stores.  That’s why it makes a great weed killer of all weeds!

bug spray

I do hate bugs and will admit to using pesticides.  This stuff works great to keeping the bugs out of my kitchen and foodstuffs.  Who likes having roach infested cupboards?  I’m sure many other GMO free folks have a can or two of bug spray available for the same reason.  We live in Hawaii where cockroaches are the size of B52′s and we don’t believe in coexistence with them!

coffee

Now why would I put coffee here?  Coffee contains a pesticide!  Yes, indeed, caffeine does kill!  How many millions of people consume coffee yet are fine?!  Caffeine’s LD50 is at 192 mg/kg.  Yes, it is much more toxic that RoundUp is!  The GMO free folks drink this organically but fear pesticides!  The irony of it all!

choc chips

Chocolate chips indeed have some chemicals in it that is toxic, yet we consume it with no fear at all.  The chemicals found in it are theobromine and caffeine.  We all know that keep the dog out of chocolate or they will get sick and it is all thanks to this chemical.  Theobromine has a LD50 of 1265 mg/kg and yes, it is more toxic than RoundUp!  The amount of theobromine in chocolate chips is quite small so you’d have to consume a lot of it for it to be toxic.

tabasco

Believe it or not but that hot sauce you douse your food in contains something toxic.  That chemical is called capsaicin.  It is naturally occurring and found in hot sauce, to kim chee, to even that muscle rub.  Some people love eating this pesticide!  It has a LD50 of 148.1 mg/kg to 161.2 mg/kg in rats, making this much more toxic than RoundUp.

 

iron

Iron is an essential nutrient to our functioning but in too high of a dose is very toxic.  It’s LD50 is 250 mg/kg in mice and 300 to 1100 mg/kg in rats making it much more toxic than table salt or RoundUp any day.  Anyone can buy this in the store too!

tylenol

The very things we give our children to make them well can also be toxic.  I found a bottle of acetaminophen in my kitchen cabinet.  The LD50 for this pain reliever is at 700 mg/kg for rats which shows that it is more toxic than the GMO free folks’ RoundUp.

ibuprofen

I’m sure many parents have a bottle of this in their medicine chest.  Ibuprofen has a LD50 at 800 mg/kg in rats making it also more toxic than RoundUp.  I personally like using this to really help my kids feel better and know that it works but is also toxic at high doses.  I’m sure other GMO free parents do the same and have no second thought about it when it comes to sick kids.

aspirin

Some folks take these tablets daily not realizing that it is more toxic than that dreaded weedkiller.  Aspirin, also known as salicylic acid, has a LD50 of 1360 mg/kg making it less toxic than iron and all the above pain killers listed.

Bathroom of Poison

 Screenshot 2014-04-11 22.16.41

There are a lot of potentially poisonous things found in my bathroom but oh, so necessary for cleaning or health purposes.  Remember, that if used in the right amounts will make things toxic to us.  Using these chemicals sparingly as needed actually does wonders for our home and bodies when needed.

The Garage of Gloom

 antkiller volks terro raid

I hate bugs in my house.  I admit that I hate letting nature take its course in my living quarters.  In Hawaii, the bugs will take over as it is their tropical paradise also.  I have those horrible pesticides to stop letting nature take it’s course over my home.  Am I afraid of these pesticides?  Nope.  Kills bugs so I love them.

oilspray oxy lysol 409

When it comes to cleaning up after dirty kids, dogs, and an old person, I’ll be honest that going chemical free as the antis love to harp on, doesn’t cut it for me.  Wiping down a toilet with vinegar and baking soda just does not do the job at all.  It takes some good germ killers that if taken in too high of a dose, this stuff is toxic.  I bet a lot of anti-GMO activists who marched had homes that had these chemicals in it!  All bought at Longs CVS on sale!

volks sluggo

I garden as a hobby for fun and yes, I use chemicals on my plants.  These indeed are toxins when taken in too high of a dose but so necessary for my plants to grow happily.  I give my gardenias a nice spraying of Volck’s Oil every few months to kept the sooty mildew that those pesky scales create.  If I don’t spray it, I get no flowers.  I also use snail and slug killer in my lettuce and greens boxes so that I have less worry about rat lungworm disease that is very dangerous for humans.

adams fleatick

I am sure that other anti-GMO activists who have pets must have pesticides like these in their homes.  With the warm weather all year long, the fleas and ticks love our beloved pets.  I don’t believe in coexistence with these blood suckers so I kill them and keep them out of my home.

comboguard

Dear golly goodness, I even feed pesticides to my pooches too.  What an awful owner to be feeding poisons to my dogs!  Well, I hate fleas and critters so the pooches have to eat these pesticide pills.

glaze rainx

I love keeping my car shiny and sparkly and have yet to find chemical free things to do this.  For now, I use my favorite resin glaze and Rain-X headlight polish to keep my car in tip top shape.  I apply this directly to the car and my skin comes in contact with this stuff.  Oh, the exposure to toxins!  Hmm.  Toxins or rust?  I pick toxins to keep my car nice.  I bet a lot of of antis do the same thing since I’ve seen them with some nice GMO fueled cars and trucks!

bleach

I like my clothes fresh and clean and a bit of bleach helps to accomplish this.  It’s toxic in the right dose.  It is also known as sodium and calcium hypochlorite.  Its LD50 is 192 mg/kg making it very toxic indeed.  Let’s not forget that that this is also used in food preparation, and even though it is synthetic, it is approved for use on organic food processing.  We even drink it and even swim in it!  It kills the germs that can make people sick which is why we use it.

To sum it up, take a look at Doc Cami Ryan’s table on toxicity.

Still Chemophobic?

Should you now be even more afraid of chemicals after finding out all of this?  No.  We rely on these chemicals for sanitation, food preparation, bug control, and other helpful reasons.  Remembering that something is a toxin at the right does is what makes it important to remember.  The more you know, the less you have to fear.  If someone is making you fearful, cross check them and you will find a different story.

It’s kind of like how County Council Members like Gary Hooser and Earthjustice attorney Paul Achitoff will go to rallies and tell people that GMOs are poisoning them and it’s being shoved down peoples’ throats.  Shortly after that, they sit together and have a GMO meal at a GMO restaurant.  Get off the fear mongering bandwagon and question what’s being said and actually listen to the answer.

 

 

 

 

 

Those Smart Papaya Farmers Know GMO

One terrific benefit of being a farmer’s daughter is that I do get paid in the form of some “junk” fruits.  Junk meaning that it can’t be sold in the store because it isn’t the right shape or size or has some cosmetic blemish on it.  The fruit itself are perfectly fine but just ugly really.

Some of the fruit I got this week for shilling for the farm was amazingly huge.  Here’s one of the mega ones I ate the other day.

hugepapaya

This beauty weighed in at about 2.5 lbs and had a deep orange flesh that was super sweet.  The Brix reading was about 14 which makes it super sweet and delicious.  The flesh was really fleshy and so ono!

My breakfast tomorrow will be this nice beauty that my daughter is holding.  It is nearly the size of her head and just as gorgeous.  It is just under 2.5 lbs also.

kygiantpapaya

The more I look at the size of these fruits, it made me realize that yes, farmers are smart folks.  They choose the GMO seeds to grow strong healthy trees that yield great fruit like these.  One fruit makes for 2 or 3 servings and it all came from one tree.  That’s a smaller environmental impact when you have a super productive tree indeed.

Just look at the fruits and how productive they are.  It is clear that those smart papaya farmers who choose GMO really do know why GMO has saved their industry.

 

The Right to Know Should be Pay Attention Instead!

Scarlet, my 15 year old GMO eating dog who is still alive!

Scarlet, my 15 year old GMO eating dog who is still alive!

Let’s face it that the GMO war in Hawaii is still raging on with Maui on the hit list right now by the anti-GMO activists.  The mainland funded SHAKA Movement is going full force over there trying to do the same thing that happened on Kauai.  The pictures and the videos are still posted on the social media documenting the so called “outrage” of the people.  It is really amazing to me that people really don’t pay attention to the things in their daily lives that is created by this GMO technology that they feel is poisoning them so much.

I decided to pay attention and take a look at my own life and see where I actually use GMO products.  I bet that many of these protesters live quite similarly to me.  I get my household stuff from Ross, Macys, Sears, and the local Longs CVS.  I went room to room and around my home to see where I could find those pesky GMO things!

I started off in my bedroom.  I went through my drawers and picked out my clothes for tonight.  I found a nice cotton pajama top and bottom along with cotton underwear.  I can’t afford organic nor would want to buy it.  My GMO cotton night clothes came straight from Macy’s where it was surrounded by tons more of it.

The nice sateen cotton sheets that I sleep on is made from GMO cotton too.  The bed sheets as well as the comforter that tops my bed is all GMO derived and made in India or Pakistan.  Even the cotton mattress pad is GMO!

I’ve learned from Farmer Ravi, and Indian cotton farmer, that he appreciates the Bt cotton seeds since he no longer has to buy highly toxic pesticides to grow it.  He also told me how the pesticide companies there were fighting the agribusiness companies trying to bring in this technology there.  The pesticide companies are different than the agribusiness companies and aren’t the same entities.  I’m happy knowing that some farmer in India didn’t have to expose themselves to old highly toxic chemicals to grow the very textiles I use in my daily lives.

When I peeked into my husband’s dresser drawers, I found that even his clothes are all mostly cotton.  We’ve never bought anything organic as we can’t find it here and it’s likely out of our price range.  From his underwear to his undershirts, it’s all GMO cotton!

Next I went into my kids’ dressers and found the same thing.  Nearly all of their clothing is cotton and all GMO too!  Some are made in the US and some across the world from us.  The farmers that grew it didn’t have to use excessive amounts of pesticides to grow it, which is a wonderful earth friendly though really.

I walked to my bathroom and once again find GMO cotton everywhere!  From my fluffy white towels from Costco, to my shaggy floor rugs from Ross, to my facial cotton pads and my mommy diapers as my kids call it, everything is cotton!

As I look closer to my Herbal Essence shampoo, it too has some form of GMO in it.  There is corn silk extract listed as one of its ingredients.  Wow, GMO shampoo that smells great and washes my hair clean.

My deodorant also has cornstarch as one of its ingredients to keep me fresh and dry.  I am putting GMO right in my pits!  This is amazing!  I’ve been using this for years and really had no clue until I took some time to read the label today.

My dogs get a little night time treat so I took a minute to look at the ingredients of their treat boxes and sure enough, there’s some corn meal listed in it.  I’ve fed it to them for years and they are fine and happy to receive it.  My rescued dog, who has been fed GMO her whole life, has reached the ripe old age of 15 human years this year with no problems at all.  She still runs around the yard like a puppy and is as happy as can be.  I’m lucky that this GMO has kept her healthy and my vet bills low.

I stopped by my kid’s mouse cage to feed their beloved pet, Pip.  Pip’s been alive nearly a year eating GMO corn and healthy as ever.  He looks nothing like Seralini’s frankenrats at all.  I still feed him his GMO feed everyday and toss in a few GMO treats that he takes happily.  He is free of any lumps!

My two cheeky lovebirds, Papaya and Charlie, are snuggled together in their GMO cotton sling bed that I made them and are perky and cheery as can be.  They love it when I put in some GMO sweet corn as a treat.  Papaya is 15 human years old and Charlie is 3 human years and are peppy and sassy, even with all of the GMO treats.

I then stopped by my kitchen and took a closer look at what I have in the cupboards.  Sure enough I have plenty GMO food in there from Spam for my musubis to my favorite Hawaiian Hula GMO papaya seed salad dressing mixes.  I also have GMO corn tortilla chips for nachos this week along with GMO chymosin cheeses of all sorts from Costco.  I have GMO canola oil for making salad dressing under my sink.  I keep a nice stock of GMO condensed sweetened milk to make my heavenly seven layer bars with some chocolate chips that likely have some GMO sugars in it.  I even have non-GMO flaked coconut that’s dusted in some GMO sugar that tastes great toasted.  My cupboard and refrigerator is chock full of GMO food items.

I tidied up the kitchen and saw what I can use to do the job and found Mrs. Miwako’s GMO kitchen towels and Williams Sonoma dishcloths that are all GMO cotton.  My Japanese cotton steaming cloth is GMO cotton and great for making my favorite sticky rice dish, sekihan.  I still can’t see how GMO is so bad and evil as everyone makes it out to be!

I took a look at the containers of fish food and found that it too contains GMO corn meal and some soy in it.  My fish that I got from the farm fair last year is still alive despite consuming it for the majority of its  life.  My goldfishes are also thriving on the GMO fish food and seem to be surviving attacks by our crayfish all along.

I checked on my grandma this evening and discovered that she has vials of GMO right in the refrigerator.  She uses GMO derived insulin to help treat her inherited form of diabetes and has been injecting it for years.  She probably would have had her toe amputated or blinded by the disease if it weren’t for this GMO insulin.

I thought I’d load up my car for tomorrow and realized that there’s GMOs being burned in my daily commute to drop kids off and pick up my grandma from day care.  I washed my car too and used the GMO cotton rags to polish it to a nice sheen with synthetic chemicals that do the job.  I used a lot of chemicals from headline polish, tired shine spray, Rain X, window cleaner spray, resin car wax, back to black spray, WD40, silicone spray, and Armour All spray.  I know that there’s a lot of drift from these chemicals and I breathed it in once a month to keep my car clean, since I do like a clean car inside and out.

I found some cans of paint in my garage too and lo and behold, there’s GMO soy in some of them.  The left over newspaper kept from my guinea pig’s cage also has GMO soy ink on it.  Mr. Pig’s cage has been lined with GMO soy ink paper for years and he’s doing just fine with this exposure.  Heck, I’ve been touching this GMO stuff for years every morning when I read the paper.  The paper itself might even be GMO!

I’m not jumping up and down or making a protest about GMOs anytime soon.  It is everywhere and it really has made those farmers across the world have an easier job growing it for us to use.  The farmers here in the US also have benefitted from GMOs and we are the beneficiaries of their ingenuity and hard work, like it or not.  We’re pretty darn lucky if you ask me.  I can’t understand how people can say this GMO is okay but this one isn’t.  How does one pick and choose which type is better than the other?

Stop and look at the world you live in.  Is it as bad as you really perceive it to be?  I don’t think so when you can have plenty of time to march because a farmer clothed and fed you.  The seeds that grew those products had its roots planted here in Hawaii and I really think it’s a neat thing to realize.  What I am protesting is this right to know should really be my right to ask you to pay attention to what’s around you!

 

 

 

 

End the GMO Paranoia: Knowledge is the Key to Fighting Fear

Having worked in mental health for several years, it is really disturbing to me to see so many Hawaii folks wrapped up on the fear brigade against biotechnology.  I’ve seen so many people tormented by paranoia that their perceived.  Based on the kind of signs and posts people are putting the social media, it is pretty clear that: 1) They feel that they are being poisoned, 2) They don’t know what is legitimate sources of information or how to research it, and 3) Being told the same message over and over again makes them believe things without question. One of the biggest problems that I see in the whole issues around GMOs here in Hawaii is that the issue has been made very complex.  Joan Conrow chronicles this tale of a campaign of manipulation and misinformation by her post, “Feasting on Fear.”

The entire GMO issue has really become a huge tangled mess of information that an average person can’t figure out where to start to research some of the frequently repeated claims being made by the activists. To help those not well versed in the Hawaii GMO issue, I’ll list out some of the frequently stated claims that the anti-GMO activists keep making and refute it with some sources that don’t invoke fear but impart knowledge.

 

“I have a right to know what I’m eating”

This battle cry that people had a right to know was started back in 2012 with Representative Jessica Wooley’s push for a label of genetically modified foods.  She even brought some very well known organic lobbyers to Hawaii like Andrew Kimbrell of the seemingly innocuous Center for Food Safety.  Hawaii SEED also brought in Vandana Shiva to spread their propaganda about his so called right to know.  Many involved in the  push for this “right” really were saying something else of what their true intent was.  It really is a means of a ban. The truth of the matter is that the FDA did not pursue labeling because if the product was not shown to be different than conventional, there was no need for such a label.  This is also stated in the AMA guidelines for GE foods.  There is voluntary labeling guidelines available.

No Labeling Needed When Consumers Know the Whole Truth

 

“If it is so good for you, why don’t they just label it?”

This is a frequent comment made by many anti-GMO activists.  The basis of why many farmers are hesitant to label their for, even though there is no compositional differences than conventional, is the fear that has been created by the opposing industry.

Here’s some great sources on why people are fighting the labeling.  The heavy laden fear tactics being carried out the anti-GMO groups like the Organic Consumers’ Association and the EarthJustice have created a huge stigma against something that has no compositional difference.  Simple curiosity of wanting to know something also does not necessitate the need for a label under the FDA.

Jimmy Botella’s “Waiter, There’s a Gene in My Soup!” Video

Why Labeling GMOs is Bad for People and the Environment

California’s Anti-GMO Hysteria

The GMO Labeling Debate

GMO Opponents Use Fear and Deception to Advance their Cause

“GMOs means pesticides”

When the anti-GMO club starts stating this, it only shows me that leaders like Gary Hooser and others really have no clue as to what they are talking about.  The very term, genetically modified organism does not automatically mean a pesticide.  It really is a technology.  The genetic engineering of insulin to treat diabetes is completely different to that of the GE of papaya as is also applies to the corn.  To group the entire technology under a big black dark umbrella of evil is completely misguided and a part of the disinformation campaigns of the fear mongers.  Just because Gary said it 100x doesn’t make it true.

How GMOs are Created

Use and Impact of Bt Maize

How Bt Works

The Promise of GMOs

GMOs Would Feed the World With Fewer Pesticides

Why I’m Going to Hawaii to Defend Maize Winter Nurseries

“GMOs Have to be 100% safe!”

This frequently thrown out phrase is invoking the precautionary principle that translates into, “Do do anything until it is 100% proven safe.”  It is also know as the paralyzing principle.  Nothing is ever 100% safe, ever.  Learn more about why this principle doesn’t make any sense to apply it in nearly any sense.

Impact of the Precautionary Principle on Feeding Current and Future Generations

By Removing A Risk, Are we Limiting Finding Solutions to the Problem?

“We Don’t Need any Chemicals on Our Food!”

When people start resorting to this commentary, it really shows how far the understanding of food production we really are as well as a basic understanding of science.  We are all made up of chemicals!  Everything we eat are chemicals!  Not all chemicals is bad either.  Chemicals join together to form substances.

People have been told that chemicals are being applied to our food.  Yes it is.  On both organic food and conventional.  The growing of food includes reducing pests like weeds and bugs, hence the need for its applications.  The pests stress the plants and can cause or make the plant prone to a host of diseases or increase naturally produced toxins that are harmful, like mycotoxins.  The less stress on a plant also helps to increase the yields and quality of the produce.  These inputs are necessary to get the end product, which is what we eat.

We Need Good Science, Not Chemophobia

The Dose that Makes the Poison

Naturally Occurring Toxins in Foods

Mythbusing 101: Organic Farming > Conventional Farming

“There are real dangers caused by GMOs!

Many of the believers of the anti-GMO movement likely got their sources of information from movies like Seeds of Deception, Genetic Roulette, OMG GMO, and so on.  These are movies folks, not a documentary and they don’t provide any resources to back their claims up.  Movies are also created to stir emotions and don’t necessarily reflect any facts because that is what it’s intent is.  If you are scared after watching it, you’ve taken it hook, line, and sinker.  The claims made in these movies are outrageous but some people, actually the Millions Against Monsanto haven’t figured out how to take a skeptical look at it.

Can your Rose Catch Your Cold? The Threat of a Killer Viral Plant Gene is the Latest Anti-GMO Rant

Press Digs into the Anti-GMO Study

GMOs Causes Leukemia! Think Again

FSANZ Response to Study Linking Cry1Ab Protein in Blood to GM Foods

Condemning Monsanto with Bad Science is Dumb

Was the Seralini GMO Study Designed to Generate Negative Press?

More Junk Science is the Carman Pig Study: Seralini 2.0

Fake Anti-GMO Study Stokes Alarm

Letter to the Editor Re: Seralini Study

GMO Opponents are Skewing the Science to Scare People

RoundUp in the Air: What the Report Really Says

 

“Monsanto Has Bought the Government!”

As soon as someone utters, “Monsanto.” You know these folks have not done their due diligence in researching out the truth of the matter.  These are the same people that believe in the big pharma conspiracy and chemtrails.  Monsanto has become the straw man of sorts for them and the big bogey man of evil.  It’s really quite sad that they keep dropping the M bomb not realizing they’ve automatically invalidated their whole stance against GMOs.  Even Senator Brian Schatz and Representative Tulsi Gabbard joined in on this.

Exposing the Anti-GMO Legal Machine: The Real Story behind the So Called Monsanto Protection Act

Argumentum ad Monsantium

I Love Monsanto *note on language*

“Anyone Who Supports GMOs are paid!”

When the anti-GMO club has no other arguments left, they will cry this out.  (By the way, I received NO money in any form or fashion to blog any of this, even though it would be nice.  I am just losing patience for the crazy things being said by lots of people and it’s time to lead them to real information.)  When anyone does the cry’er o shill bit, it simply means they have no facts, evidence, or anything else to support their stance.

Shill Gambit-RationalWiki

Why Calling Someone A Shill Betrays the Weakness of Your Position and Your Inability to Defend it

Logical Fallacies-The Shill Gambit

“Stop messing with nature!”

Let’s face it, farming is not natural.  Nature isn’t feeding us and humans have been tinkering with nature for since 10,000 B.C.  It shouldn’t be surprising, but it is, that we have advanced so far with the growing of food.  Wikipedia has a great source of the history of agriculture that you can read through.

We’ve also had great advances in agriculture also in the last century that has revolutionized the world.  One key person that few people know of is Norman Borlaug.  He is the father of the Green Revolution that changed how we grow things more efficiently.  No longer do the majority of people have to grow food, but it has made farmers look towards more efficient ways of farming to minimize their environmental impact.  This is why farmers keep stating the phrase, “Feed the world!”  The 1 to 2% of the population is feeding the majority because of technological innovations.

When technology advances far faster than the average person can follow, we have a huge population who have little to no clue as to what has been happening.  In an attempt to bring those who want to learn up to speed, here are some of my favorite resources about understanding evidence based science and genetics.

The Scientific Method by Science Made Simple

Are GMOs Safe? Independent Science Organizations Weigh In

Massive Review Reveals Consensus on GMO Safety

What is DNA?

What is a Gene?

Norman Borlaug: A Lifetime of Fighting Hunger

Greatest Man to Ever Live: Norman Borlaug *note on language*

As you can see, the issues surrounding GMOs has really become a mangled mess of misinformation by people like the Babes Against Biotech and now the SHAKA Movement in Maui.  There’s a lot to learn about what’s being said and confusion as to know what the truth is.  If you notice carefully, I do not put sites like Sustainable Pulse, a Babes Against Biotech favorite propaganda site with cherry picked information, or Natural News.  Nor do I use Real Farmacy, Dr. Mercola, Green Med Info, Natural Cures Not Medicine, and so on, as they all use cherry picked info to get you to believe in the fear around this technology.  Even science sounding sites like Earth Open Source and the Union of Concerned Scientists are another bunch of fear mongers out to scare you.

If you got your information from a meme on Facebook, don’t just believe it.  Research it but do it right.  Google works wonders if you know how to use it.  If you’re wondering about something being posted, add the word “debunk” to it and you will see a different picture.  The first clue to know you’re being taken for a ride is to ask yourself if what you read scares you.  If so, do your homework and research it out more and avoid the sites listed above.  End the fear and paranoia with real knowledge by doing your homework!

If you still are afraid of GMOs after reading this, ask yourself if you’re afraid to eat a banana.  That indeed is a modified organism and have you turned into a banana today?

The Real Tragedy of the GMO Free Marches

From Maui Now with Dustin Barca

Last week Sunday was yet another march against biotechnology on Maui.  There were quite a bit of pictures and videos posted throughout the internet showing several hundred people.

That makes me really sad to see that.  They were there to protest perceived evil corporations, alleged poisoning of the aina, and for saving humanity against chemicals.  These marchers were joined by this common cause that they felt compelled to have anger and hate towards.  They have been told over and over again that they are being poisoned and float in a state of persecution and paranoia.

These people joined together through the modern technology provided by corporations.  Many found out via Facebook and Twitter that there was to be this march.  Some even used corporate made planes and cars to get to that meet up.  They used ethanol fuel derived from the very thing that they were protesting.  There had to be a few that drove in GMO derived electric car batteries too.

As I looked closer at the marchers, I started to see that these people are not aware of the extent of how biotechnology is woven in our world.  I saw one of the leaders of the march, Dustin Barca, wearing leather shoes and cotton fatigues that likely came from GMO cow hide and GMO cotton grown in India or Pakistan.  Lots of people wore jeans and clothing that weren’t likely from organic cotton sources either.

It is pretty clear from the photos that were taken on corporate made devices and the marches were recorded on high tech cameras like GoPro ones.  Many used WiFi with it’s radio waves surrounding them with no idea of what they are being exposed to.  They downloaded videos onto corporate supported sites like YouTube and others to share their adventures to followers.  These marchers refuse to accept technology for farming but easily accept it in any other form or fashion if it supports their cause.

People also carried water bottles that came from GMO corn derivatives and had no thought in the world of how it was made.  Some even left the march and went out to eat at a GMO restaurant.  They screamed at how GMOs were being shoved down their throats and want it labeled, but go out to eat without any consideration of what they just said.

They walked in the hot sun under a lot of solar radiation with no fear in the world of what it was doing to the DNA in their skin.  They willingly exposed themselves to something that has proven harmful and modifies our genetics but all natural.  There was no screaming or yelling that they were having their DNA altered without their consent.

The marchers had signs that they didn’t like the chemicals being used on the seed farms.  There were hundreds of signs that were used in these marches.  What happened to them afterwards?  Did they save them to use for another march or was it thrown into the landfill where it can’t be recycled?  What impact did these hundreds and signs have on our aina?  Did it beautify our beautiful landscape or add to the trash pile of useless things and add blight to our islands?

Chemicals are very scary to these people even though they likely used them to protect their skin from the naturally occurring DNA altering radiation.  The marches willingly subject themselves with chemicals in sunscreens to stop the mutations caused by the natural radiation of the sun and have no fear of being exposed for hours at a time.

Signs were carried and painted on with some GMO derived soy paint or some artificial mixtures of chemicals used for acrylic paints.  They rinsed the brushes that contained these paints and added chemicals to the water sources that entered the sewer systems.  Not a blink of the eye occurred while doing such a thing with chemicals.  Some signs, like the surfboard, was sprayed with spray paint, which that user likely had some chemical drift from that they inhaled.  That person survived to protest that day despite the exposure.

Quite a few marchers wore tattoos and displayed them at their march.  These tattoos likely came from synthetic sources that they intentionally injected into their skin with no qualms about it.  The needles used to apply the tattoos were also disinfected with lab derived chemicals to prevent some spread of deadly diseases.  None of this crossed their minds.  The inks likely didn’t have any long term safety tests either but the marchers love to use it and aren’t afraid of it.  They then decry the precautionary principle but are willing take these unknown risks.

I did notice that some people had nicely highlighted or dyed hair also.  They directly applied chemicals to their hair and allowed it to be near skin so that their hair had nice colors and tints.  As I looked at some of the leaders of this movement, I find it hard to believe that they do not dye their hair.  I’ve never seen an older woman with jet black hair and such even curls.  There was not a thought in a world ever considered that this was a chemical and its impact on our aina and reefs.  It had to be rinsed down the drain and entered our waters with no thought of the real harm this could cause our earth.

The even sadder fact was that these people brought their children with them to protest something.  Kids got to be around adults screaming and cursing at Monsanto.  These kids even read the signs painted that GMO means death and they don’t even know what it means.  Kids should be opening their minds to what is going on the world but have slammed the door shut because of the fear and misinformation being fed to their parents. It only makes the next generation hide in a darker corner, so afraid of the science and technology dominating our world and the future.  They also will have a hate and distrust before they even had a chance to truly learn about the whole issue.

The protesters had lots of time to organize and plan these marches too and didn’t have to worry about where their next meal came from.  Some ate GMO snacks on the plane rides over that were offered on the flight.  Were they afraid of what it would do?  No, they ate it without question.  Did these same people have to worry leaving their farms to attend such a march?  No, they don’t farm and it’s pretty obvious with the time they have on their hands.  They directly benefit from the efficiency and productivity created by the ingenuity of the very farmers that they are protesting and don’t even know it.

So much human energy and resources have been put towards being against something.  They all walked together to protest but did they really do all of humans a favor that day?  Or was it a group of people that shared the same beliefs and ideology with no facts to base it upon?  Couldn’t this energy have been devoted to doing something good instead of sharing their common bond of fear and misinformation?  I think so.

The whole idea of people marching for this cause really shows how unaware of the impacts of biotech, and technology in general, has had in their lives.  These people will quickly make accusations against technology, but can’t even see how it has impacted their own lives for the better.  The tragedy in these social marches is that these people protest something they really have little to no awareness of and it obviously shows.

 

PBS Insights Contributes to the Farming Attacks

It’s amazing to me how PBS Insights has been supposedly leading the discussions about agriculture here in Hawaii.  When I’ve seen the past several episodes is extremely disappointing and actually infuriating to me.  From having an episode with Hector Valenzuela (aka Babes Against Biotech F*ck Monsanto sign holder) with social sciences candidate Andrea Brower and a magazine with Vandana Shiva on it, I am befuddled with where this station is leaning.  To add more insult is putting on Gary Hooser and his “18 tons” propaganda is totally disappointing.

These people are not farmers or the voice of farmers in Hawaii and why are they leading the charge to grow ag?  I somehow feel that it’s a ratings issue that they are trying to seek out.  Not only is that but there is also an unintended, or possibly intentional action, to continue to fuel the attacks against farmers.

The latest broadcast of PBS Insights included Mana Ai’s Daniel Anthony, Kanu Hawaii’s Kaleo Ten, DOH Peter Oshiro, and Center for Food Safety’s Kasha Ho.  (I can’t forget that Daniel Anthony posted a comment on a public forum telling Farmers for Choice to drink Roundup and that he’d bring the cup.)  Kanu Hawaii is a group that touts itself as “empowering people to build more environmentally sustainable, compassionate, and resilient communities rooted in personal commitments to change.”  Then finally the fact that Center for Food Safety is added on here, that already tells me that this is going to be full of misinformation from that activist group.

Watch the video here…

As I watched this, I had to shake my head.

  • Kasha Ho: “There is not enough land for people to farm on because of the agribusiness companies growing GMOs for export.” Of course she put NO facts out there which is typical of this group.  The reality is that there is 7% of agriculture land used by the seed companies and not all of it is GMOs.  Some of those lands are subleased to smaller farmers in ag parks to grow food.

 

  • Kasha Ho: “It’s about the right to know!”  No, it’s not about the right to know as stated by your boss.  Andrew Kimbrell, Center for Food Safety Executive Director stated, “We are going to force them to label this food, then we can organize people to not buy it.” http://bit.ly/1mIEOXN

 

  • Kaleo Ten: “Growing your own food is as easy as squeezing tomato seeds on some dirt.”  Um no, that isn’t always the case.  If it were true, more people would be growing their own and we’re not.

 

  • Kaleo Ten: “Eat local and then go organic.”  Organic isn’t any healthier than conventional and that is where the evidence leads.  That’s why the organic industry has to hit it hard with the fear mongering.

 

  • Host Mahealani Richardson: “Is wax safe to eat?” Um, yes, several fruits actually produce its own wax.  Food grade wax has been approved and helps with keeping the food fresh in shipping here.  Learn more about it from Best Food Facts.

It’s amazing to me that a publicly funded TV station is putting on activists groups like the Center for Food Safety.  They show science shows like NOVA and others that show what’s happening with technology and then feature the biggest anti-science folks on there.

Kasha Ho kept harping on get to know your farmer and so on.  How much do we really have to know?  Her comments made me think of this video.

Many of these guests kept harping on eat local grown and that’s going to help grow the local food supply here.  You’ve missed a huge part.  Where’s the farmer in this picture here?  How are we supporting our farmers keep doing what they do to grow local food?

It’s a crying shame to have this and saddening to me.