The Last Farmer Standing

The Last Farmer Standing

  
In a few hours, there will be lots of people gathering at the legislature in downtown Honolulu to talk about farmers.  They are miles away from any farm but many have an opinion about it.  Meanwhile, my dad, brother, and their workers are in the fields, are the ones living and breathing farm life.

As a third generation farmer, my brother is coming to the harsh reality of farming.  They have over 20 acres of trees planted and ready to be harvested every week.  With only 4 people, it takes hours to pick all of the fruits.  He just finished working over 12 hours and they still weren’t done.

On top of that, those same fruits must be processed.  That includes grading, cleaning, sorting, and packing it.  After that’s done, it all goes into the refrigerator to maintain it’s freshness to be ready for market.  Hawaii’s moderate climate can accelerate ripening that can lead to damaged fruit in shipment.

The next day of work means delivering it to stores.  With Honolulu’s bad traffic, there’s always delays along the route.  We are fortunate that there are dedicated customers waiting each week for them but they’ve run low on patience lately and complain of the short supply due to cooler temperatures and delivery delays.

Imagine spending nearly 24-28 hours working in the hot sun all day doing back breaking work only to have angry customers.  Do people have no idea how hard it is to get a single fruit into the store? Have we become so impatient and ungrateful towards those who grow our food? Is aloha running so low in everyone lately? Please tell me it’s not so.

Well, after a day of delivering, the work doesn’t end.  The bugs attack the trees and can destroy an entire field making the fruit unsaleable.  The weeds can sap nutrients from the trees and rob its sweetness.  One must go back to the elements and tend to that field that provides for your food and roof over your head.

You would think that you’d find peace and solitude tending to your field, but sadly, there is no peace there.  Homes now border much of the farm lands across our state.  Instead of getting friendly waves from your neighbors, you get to faces fearful mothers and others who think you’re poisoning them. Other neighbors stand on their porches warily watching you as you spray things like sulfur to protect against bugs. Because you’re not an organic farmer, they assume you’re polluting the air, even though you use exactly what organic farmers use.  

Then if you need to spray for weeds, it’s even more terrifying for the neighbors.  Forget the fact that their other neighbors probably use it and it’s used across the state on the highways, parks, hiking trails, golf courses, and by landscapers, to see a farmer use it is a heinous crime in their eyes.  They’d complain of dust and runoff if we forgo weedkiller so it’s a losing battle.

You might say why not hire more people to do the work.  It’s easy to say but finding the right people is hard.  Thanks to minimum wage hikes and mandatory coverage, the cost of more labor sometimes means no income for the farmer.  Medical coverage is very expensive and if the weather is bad or there’s too much bug damage, it’s tough making ends meet.

It’s even harder to find anyone who wants to work on a farm too.  The labor force used to be high school or college students.  They no longer want these jobs.  The ones who do want the jobs, former criminals looking for a second chance, can’t be hired because of our leasing agreements.  Labor is a major problem here that limits us tremendously.  There is also a lot of training needed for farming too and as soon as some catches on, they move on to another job.

My dad is also on the farm at 74 years of age.  He’s building sheds, driving tractors, packing fruits, delivering, moving bins, and literally busting his buns 12 to 14 hours a day at least 5 days a week and at least half a day on each weekend day.  His golden years are still spent on the farm and not leisurely relaxing like most retirees.  No one works as hard as that man, and yet he never complains about it ever.

My brother came with optimism and hope to farming but as times change, sometimes the reality sets in.  The public keeps talking about growing Hawaii and keeping it local but we aren’t even supporting the local farmers in word or action.  

Something needs to change or this will make us a three generation farm.  Will you help lend your support to the small Hawaii farmer in word and in action? For all the work that’s put into growing food, can you send some appreciation to your farmer when you see them or even speak up for them when someone says something incorrect?  

Stand up for what you love and show it.  Be grateful and appreciative to those who grew your food.  The time is now.  The Hawaii farmers need you now or we will just become another memory of that special local business that is no more.

Don’t let my brother, Mike, be the last farmer standing.  Support your farmers now!

Let our politicians know by sending them a message at sens@capitol.hawaii.gov and reps@capitol.hawaii.gov.  Take time to write a letter to the editor on behalf of the farmers.  We need your voices now!

Protect the Keiki and Kupuna 

I do a lot of training of new interns at work and have noticed a very disturbing trend.  I rarely see them asking how to best prepare for it prior to starting.  I somehow get the feeling that I’m supposed to be holding their hand to teach the everything despite having been educated for 3 years.  People need to come with a desire to learn and take initiative to be active in the process.  If not, how can one ever be a good professional serving their clients?

It’s no different for politicians.  One cannot best serve people if they don’t learn the facts.  I’m not surprised that the younger ones like Rep. Chris Lee of Kailua and Rep. Kaniela Ing are leading the charge for the Center for Food Safety’s anti-GMO, anti-agriculture bills.  Ing is even using this issue to fundraise for himself!  They clearly like the attention created by this outside litigator group over focusing on the real issues and haven’t learned to appreciate the advances made in agriculture.  

What is a major issue that needs to be prioritized here that will forever change the aina and affect the most vulnerable?  It’s not farms and it’s not pesticides.  It’s something more dangerous to our entire state if we don’t address it now.  In fact this problem will likely impact all farms and endanger all farmers and their workers.  It will also affect everyone’s ability to access beaches and parks if we do not educate people about it.  

If evidence led the way, the legislature would be making this a top priority and funding efforts to address it now.  The public deserves resources directed to actual problems that plague us and and work on stopping it.  Groups like the Center for Food Safety will not educate the public about this issue and the very tools needed to combat it.  They turn a blind eye to it.  Meanwhile, the danger remains  ignored.

The SHAKA Movement is no different with their tactic too.  Whether it be the fire ants or dengue fever, that is or no concern to them.  They continue to manipulate people’s fears around pesticides and GM technology.  They waste public resources that could be used to solve these problems.  

Then again, maybe history needs to repeat itself.  The organic industry really isn’t about the health or wellness of others.  In Uganda, they helped to block malaria spraying to maintain their certifications for organic cotton.  As a result of this fear campaign where people were told they’d be infertile and have other unfounded issues, some 2000 children die each day from malaria.  There’s no gray area to balance saving lives by going organic because it’s not based in evidence.  We can’t endanger lives because someone won’t use factual evidence.  That’s irresponsible and deadly.

So while Rep. Lee and Rep. Ing are busy peddling fear with the likes of alien believers of Shaka, the entire state’s aina and its people are left to the side effects of dengue fever and the little red fire ant.  We, the public, deserve better service than self serving charlatans that put us all in harm’s way.  

Politicians in Hawaii clearly do not understand the process of science.

A Terrifying World

A Terrifying World

Hawaii, with our population of just over 1.13 million spread across 7 islands, is apparently a great place to divide and conquer.  It doesn’t help that our school systems are struggling to perform up to standards and the university system has its internal battles.  Hawaii is the perfect place to unfold the Pesticides in Paradise aka anti-agriculture campaigns in our communities, since many newcomers have no understanding  of our agricultural systems or roots in plantations.

The state’s motto of perpetuating the land in righteousness doesn’t help when it’s taken literally.  It’s great to love the land and care for it but the methods used must be good too and based in evidence.  There are several non-governmental groups convening here to dictate their policies upon our people to the point of pitting neighbor against neighbor or even family members against each other.

It’s the dividing of communities and the demise of expertise that I find terrifying here.  Someone who has no idea about basic biology seems to be considered a legitimate resource over someone with a doctorate in molecular biology is simply not right.  Hawaii politicians continue to be hoodwinked by these internet educated “experts,” but ignore the expertise of a farmer with an agriculture degree and 40 years of in the field work.  A political science major and paid lobbyist has more clout on policy than those who know the needs of our farmers.  Where did we lose sight of agriculture’s vision?

I’m even more bothered that more outsiders like Zen Honeycutt, a profession paid activist, is attempting to dictate best practices for farmers.  Watch what Moms Across America leader, Zen Honeycutt, has to say about hydrogen.  (She’s also the mom who told others about glyphosate in breastmilk, which was debunked.)

Dr. Joe Schwartz does a great critique of her video.

Rampant nonsense

This woman should be locked away. Probably in an asylum. Spouting such absolute nonsense is a criminal activity. I won’t even comment on her pathetic lack of knowledge of biochemistry or her simplistic view of oxidation. Let’s stick to her recommending molecular hydrogen as an antioxidant. Technically, hydrogen is an antioxidant because it can be oxidized. Never mind whether it can be absorbed from the digestive tract and go on to act intracellurally, there just isn’t any significant amount in this crazy remedy! The solubility of hydrogen in water is 0.00016 grams per 100 mL of water. This is an insignificant amount. 

Even if free radicals were the problem to the extent as she believes, which is not the case, the impact of this trivial amount of hydrogen gas would be insignificant. It is truly galling that someone like this who has absolutely no understanding of chemistry, biochemistry or physiology is out there giving people health advice. A student with grade 10 stoichiometry can calculate that the amount of hydrogen that can be delivered by drinking this “hydrogenated” water is insignificant. Then this twit goes on to say that the water that is formed when hydrogen is oxidized to H2O helps hydrate the body. Right, like taking a drop of water out of the ocean makes the level go down.

Zen was just here in Hawaii on a misinformation tour targeting moms.  It’s clear that she can’t teach others what she doesn’t know.  Someone gave her a nice Hawaiian vacation to do this, just like Jeffrey Smith, Pesticide Action Network, EarthJustice, and so many others coming here but there’s no trace of who is financing this while demanding transparency of others.

Despite not having a medical license of any sort, she will gladly dispense advice to people to cure them of they ailments or get them to believe that there is an issue.  She thinks there’s more than one hydrogen and yet she claims to understand GMOs.  Sure.  

Then there was Dustin Barca pushing the fear mongering yet again.  Today it wasn’t chemtrails, but those GMO heavy chemical experimentation.  It was really netting to protect the crop from invasive birds.

  

Between Zen and Barca, it’s clear that they refuse to learn and love talking about things they clearly don’t understand.  Their expertise is getting others to jump on the wagon with them blindly with no questioning.  The bandwagon doesn’t need more fearing education.

It’s sad that these supposedly are “educated” people leading the cause.  I don’t want Zen or Dustin trying to figure out how to deal with dengue fever or the Zika virus here.  I don’t want them dictating what crop inputs we should use on our farms.  It’s not their domain of expertise. People like them would claim it’s a conspiracy and not provide any real viable option.  

In a world full of information at the tip of your fingers, it’s terrifying to know that bad information is leading the charge. The trend to dismiss real university acquired information is indeed disturbing.  The attempts to equate a certain company to a highly esteemed university like Cornell is a case of the Internet going bad.  We should all be striving to aspire to become well educated in order to help others.  Choosing a way of eating based on the Food Babe and others out to sell you something isn’t really doing your part at saving the world.  

You’ve got to want to learn to understand to call yourself educated.  Go to the educators not Google.  Be genuinely educated and go forth to be a part of the community.  

It’s embracing higher education that will move Hawaii forward and cultivate that spirit of hope in the next generation.  In the spirit of the upcoming lunar new year, look at the festive lion dances and see how great things happen when we work together.  That is Pono.  That is aloha.

Cop Out Mentality

I have three kids with two in grade school.  I love them dearly but I do go a little crazy when it comes to doing homework.  Actually, I feel like tearing my hair out much of the time.

Why? The new learning style of reading and writing means letting the child use phonetics to write the word out and not correct them.  It’s pretty frustrating when your kids wants you to tell them all the letters instead of doing the sounding out part, which is tedious and very time consuming.  It also means less playtime on the IPod or outside.  A lot of brainpower is needed and parental patience is needed throughout this ordeal.

As I sit to do this homework with my daughter, she is quick to demand that I simply tell her the letter.  She will tell me, “It’s too hard for me! Just tell me how to spell the words!”  I always have to remind her about the guidelines that was given to allow the child to put down what they think and correct it above the sentence.  It teaches them how to apply the phonetics to reading and writing.

My second daughter is a perfectionist that wants all the right letters and gets really ornery about it.  “Just tell me Momma!” She’ll scream this over and over.  I’ll stand my ground and remind her to try so that she can learn.  I sometimes feel like my head will explode at times listening to this.

As I watched her throw a hissy fit, I was reminded about the Just Label It and US Right to Know campaigns with their catchy slogans.  They tell their followers to demand their right and demand mandatory labeling.  There is no mention about learning the science behind ag technology or the issues farmers face.  These groups don’t even educate people about how organic crops are grown and the bugs or the inputs needed.  Nothing of the sort is ever mentioned in any of their literature or websites.  They demand transparency of others but don’t even practice what they preach.

There’s no mention about learning why or how the organic industry’s history or information on how they produce their crops.  Not a shred of transparency about how many pounds of pesticides are used per acre or the estimated energy expenditure is required for this method.  Nothing of this sort is ever mentioned.  It’s all about THEIR rights and no one else’s.  Protest, protest about your rights and forget the consequences it may have on others because it’s all about ME, ME, ME and MY FOOD! As I look at this, they are angry adults who are refusing to learn and trying to put the onus on everyone else’s expense and inconvenience.

I see this as human behavior to turn emotional to take the easy route.  Giving my daughter the letters would save me a nice hour of no frustration but it does her no favors.  It teaches her that if she makes enough noise and whining, she’ll get her way.  In truth, it handicaps her in the future.  She won’t have the perseverance and know how to figure something out when I’m not around.  It also absolves her from being responsible for her own actions to face the hard work of critically thinking and navigating her own world.  

This is no different then simply giving a package of food or a papaya a GMO label.  There’s no learning involved to know what it took to get that product.  That little sticker will make these smug food elitists happy but then it just rewards all the protests and encourages no learning and dialogue about this technology.  That’s the consequence I see as a result to caving to demands and handing them an inch. We will only to find that they’ll take a mile and then seek a ban or tell the poor that GM foods are dangerous because it’s labeled.

As a mother, I know that I can’t be there to dig my child out of every difficult moment.  My child should have the necessary tools to be successful no matter where is is and that’s the most powerful lesson I can give her.  My parents instilled that in me the love of learning and discovery.

Imagine if the Big Island GM ban had been upheld and dengue fever ravaged the island.  The GM mosquito that could have been used would be a pipe dream because we listened to the angry voices who never considered the consequences.  It is no different for the banana crops being hit by disease and the Babes Against Biotech trying to block research that could save our farmers.  The loudest voices doesn’t mean that they are right and we should demand that they present evidence based information to back their stance.  Simply listening to a loud voice isn’t going to save lives or help anyone.  It’s time for dialogue and those who are ready to participate should be invited.

While the legislature is starting their session, we have to remember that they are leaders of the land.  They can give the public cop outs with considering bills that lack any urgency or necessity, or they can do the hard work by setting the example by actually setting priorities and use our resources wisely. We have a lot of pressing needs ahead of us that need good foresight to determine the best decision and planning.  What we do now affects our keiki’s future.

In a time when farmers are calling it quits and the next generation is struggling to carry on legacies, I hope that the 2016 Hawaii State Legislature does what is Pono to malama the people.

That is aloha.

 

Where’s the food among the weeds?

Soda Cans and Pesticides

  
This past weekend I took my entire family and a friend and her mom to the Monsanto open house event.  We were treated to a nice non-organic buffet of local style appetizers from maki sushi to tonkatsu.  We also got to learn about the Japanese Cultural Center’s collaboration with Monsanto and the National Park Service in preserving the former Japanese internment camp known as Honouliuli.

My kids had a chance to learn about bugs and a community supported agriculture program called Local Inside.  I was chatting too much with fellow aggies that I missed the tour.  My kids were bummed but the bugs were a fun replacement. 

My friend and her mom came back from the tour along with my husband and baby.  (Yes, we took a baby into the fields of ground zero GMO and made it back alive.  Pretty unbelievable if you believe the Internet.)  We started to talk story about what she learned.

She spoke about how excited she was thinking that she might get to harvest corn today.  Monsanto is very keen about safety so everyone had to wear safety glasses to go out in the fields.  Even my baby got a pair to wear. Well, there was no harvesting but a lot of education about the work that’s done to grow seeds for farms across the world.

At the end of our conversation, she mentioned how the guide spoke about how much pesticide was used in a field.  A water bottle was used to demonstrate the quantity.  She immediately assumed that the small quantity meant that this substance must be exceptionally toxic if only that much was used.

Her statement really struck me.  I never thought that a demonstration of using a soda can over a football field was sending an incomplete message.  Farmers are trying their darnedest to allay fears of pesticides but may not be doing themselves a favor by ending the conversation there.

Watch this video to get a perspective of how farmers are trying to educate others:

I listened to her concerns about pesticides and realized that she needed more explanation about simple chemistry, understanding of toxicity, and specificity of the crop protection product.  I asked her about what she understood about toxicity which she knew nothing about so I proceeded to explain the concept called LD50.  I then made comparisons with salt and glyphosate and explained it out to her while educating her about the need to control weeds.  

Finally, my husband explained to her about the new pesticides that were targeted for the bugs over a quick kill type of mechanism.  Needless to say, she was much less fearful after that discussion.

I realized that many consumers don’t quite understand pesticides either.  Most of us will use Raid and see a bug die shortly after being sprayed.  If you’re like my sister, you’ll douse that roach until you see it die in a pool of pesticide.  That’s what many people may think about crop protection products not realizing the technology behind many of these products.  They assume it’s quick kill and with a small amount, it means highly poisonous to anyone and everything, which is not the case.  

Let’s not forget the economics of the users either.  The frightened homeowner will gladly spray the $8 can of Raid to get a dead bug.  There’s no livelihood dependent upon killing the bugs.  The amount spent to kill a roach, flea, tick, or any isn’t going to affect their bottom line.  For a farmer whose livelihood is dependent on a successful crop, he isn’t going to use up that $1000 crop protection item in one field but if the bugs can destroy it, you can bet he’ll use the least amount as possible to get the effect needed to maximize his profit.  

I realized that developing world farmers simply don’t have the luxury to targeted crop protection products which leads them to multiple sprays during the course of a crop.  When they only have access to quick acting sprays, they have to kill the bugs often or face damaged produce.  While westerners are crying foul about pesticides, the poor people of the world are the ones contending with pesticide exposure and excessive use issues.  

I truly believe that those communicating science and agriculture have to really assess who they are speaking to and promote an atmosphere of learning.  There’s so much focus on having scientists speak up but the battle can only be won through learning.  We aren’t just communicating science, we are promoting learning.  Learning is how science communicators can change this conversation.

I dare those who are anti-GMO to learn the science behind biotechnology and farming.  Watch these videos to grasp some key concepts if you can handle learning.  

Where’s the Farm Justice Summit?

Where’s the Farm Justice Summit?

  
Let’s talk farming.  Real farming, not those 2 acres of various things you’re growing on a gentleman’s “farm.”  This farm is one that will earn you a living for years to come and hopefully allow you feed your family, put them through school, keep a roof over your head, and help you to retire.

What will you need to farm? Land. Lots of it to produce enough income to pay for the inputs you need.  Let’s say a decent family farm in Hawaii like ours leases some 30 acres.  That costs some couple thousand a month in lease payments depending on where it is or if you purchased it, at least another $3000 a month.  

Once you have that land to farm, you’ll need the infrastructure set up to grow your crop.  You’ll need pipes and irrigation lines and sprinklers here and there to cover those thirty acres.  Add at least $5000 for those things and add another several thousand for the labor to put that all in too.  

After you’ve got your field set up, it’s time to plant it.  You’ll need a tractor to plow your field.  A decent one will cost you at least $40k.  A plowed field also needs plants that have to be sheltered in a greenhouse to get to a decent size to survive.  A greenhouse is another several thousand dollars to build with the parts and labor.  The seedlings need medium and planting trays to start also.  Add in a few more thousand dollars to the supplies and labor needed.

Trees don’t exactly plant themselves so there is the cost of labor to get them in the ground.  To give them a head start, a pinch of fertilizer in the holes help.  A bigger tree is more likely to survive a wild pig trampling too.  These wild creatures can tear up a field in a matter of minutes.
You will be paying on the loans or be out a lot of money for at least 4-6 months before you get a crop.  You’ve paid hundreds for labor dollars and inputs only to have to wait for the harvest.  As a business owner, you’re required by law to pay your workers and cover their benefits, but you aren’t guaranteed a salary.

When the crop is ready, you need harvesting equipment like a forklift and bins to store you’re fruit in.  Can’t forget that all of these things also must past food safety certification.  That certification cost at least $3000 to acquire and another thousand to set up the equipment needs to meet it. You will have to spend some extra money leading a portapotty to keep on your field too and hope no one steals it.

It will take several months for your trees to grow to produce fruit.  However, there still is work to be done.  Thatincludescleanung the trees of dead leaves and thinning out fruit so that you get nicely shaped ones for the market.  Odd shaped fruit can’t get premium prices.  The thinning of the fruit has to happen weekly since the flowers bloom all year round and it takes a year from flower to fruit.  You’ll also hope and pray that mites, parrots, chickens, or other elements don’t disturb or damage your columns of fruit.

 

There was a portapotty that was here. Someone stole it and we’re out $2500 to cover the loss of it.


 

You’ve waited nearly 6 months and your first crop arrives and it’s time to harvest.  After you’ve picked your fruit, you’ll have to prepare it for market, which means washing and packing it.  Someone has to build the processing plant for this to happen.  It’s not free and will cost you around $8,000 for the time, labor, and supplies.

Let’s not forget that the papayas do have to be packed into something to get to the market.  Those boxes cost about $2 a box and minimum orders are several thousand.  In a week, one can harvest at least 200 plus cases.  A good order of boxes will put you out $15,000 or so.  You can’t reuse them either because of food safety regulations, so that increases your cost too.

Recall that you haven’t even sold your crop yet at this point.  You still have to pay your workers’ wages, work man’s comp, benefits, and other bills you’ve gotten just to start off your farm.  

I don’t know of a single local person that can be out some $225,000 to start their business.  It’s not even guaranteed that you’ll get a return on investment either.  If activists ban ag technology or crop protection products without a validated reason other than Google, or a flock or invasive birds nibble at your crops, you are still obligated to pay back what you owe.  With nothing to sell, you’re bleeding more money.  No one wants to dig a deeper hole!  

While hundreds will meet to plot the demise of corporate agriculture this weekend, the small farmers in Hawaii are still saddened by the ceasing of the Maui sugar plantation and Richard Ha’s beloved Hamakua Springs Farm.  The ag community knows that so many other long time local farmers face the same challenges in Hawaii.  The ag sector has been attacked and our state’s bad reputation for being small business friendly doesn’t bode well for that pretty word circulating but never put into real policy to take it to action.  That word is sustainability.

It’s great that there’s so much talk about it but it’s clear that we aren’t practicing what we preach.  We say buy local but then put policies that impede locals from producing products made here.  We need to look at the larger picture about why business are closing and the local folks are jobless.  Where’s the investment to keep the kamaaina working and productive?  Are we supporting those policies and putting it into action?

Let’s face it.  There’s few folks willing to put down some $250K on a risky back breaking business venture like farming.  It’s easy to TALK diversified ag as the savior to keep ag lands in ag, but unless we get some systemic changes on the business and political environment, you won’t see it happening in a flash.  There’s no massive populace raising their hands to be farmers.

This weekend is the Food Justice Summit but it needs to change its name to the Farmer Justice Summit.  More people need to learn from the local farmers still in business now rather than international speakers who know nothing about Hawaii other than Monsanto’s presence.  Don’t forget that without local farmers, you can’t have locally grown food.

Support the local farmers with your wallet as well as your voice for better policies to sustain them for the future.

  

They Came With Hope

  
As a kid, I remember growing up in Laie and seeing the long stalks of sugar cane growing in clumps here and there.  My dad would take his machete and chop one down with a single swipe.  He’d pull off the blade like leaves and then take his pocket knife and whittle off the the hard skin of the stalk. What was left was a juicy core that he’d cut into sticks.  He would place one in his mouth and chew it to show us kids how to get the sweet juices from it.  

I had great memories of these days of spending time with him on the farm and learning about my family’s history that was started in the sugar plantations on the Big Island.  Those plantations are gone but the life lessons taught there live on in me.  

My great grandparents came to Hawaii with nothing but hope.  They chose to leave the comforts of Okinawa, Japan, and China to find a better life.  It was not only a better life for themselves but a better life for their families.  Many of us locals share this same story. 

I don’t know whether or not I want to cry or scream today.  I’m mad and sad at the same time.  With the news that HC&S ceasing its sugar cane harvests by the end 2016 and Richard Ha ending his banana farm, my heart is broken.  Agriculture was the basis of Hawaii and two long time farms are going to be but a memory.

Hawaii’s beauty has been sold to millions around the world.  So many people come here and fall in love with our home, our place where hope and opportunity existed.  These folks have decided to make this their home and have no ties to the small kid time memories the local people share.

The plantation is where many people learned the value of working together and sharing each other’s culture.  It’s of no surprise that so many locals are of mixed ancestry as a result of this unique melting pot.  Hawaii is a great example of how different people from all of the world came together and created their own culture.

People from all over continue to come to our islands but don’t share that roots that we know and love.  The sad thing is that they become so caught up with the beauty of our land and forget about the story of the people who lived here.  Their stories and lives are forgotten and unappreciated.

I know my roots and where I came from.  It is this story that guides my life and keeps me on a track to perpetuate these lessons in my children.  I sometimes wonder if this new everything aina movement is yet a new culture of people who have taken these terms too literally or have forgotten their family stories.  They find comraderie among each other at every protest but really have no guiding principles or real vision other than malama the aina.  Once the aina is abandoned by the perceived evil, what is the thing they give back to replace it?

Sadly, when one’s roots don’t run deep or a story is forgotten, thinking about the consequences of their actions is secondary.  When tractors are set ablaze and property is damaged, none of these people ever condemn these actions.  It’s simply ignore and never mentioned.  When jobs are lost, there is no shred of compassion in their heart so.  This is not local style at all.  

There is no responsibility taken by the leadership of this movement either.  That example sets a bad precedent for the followers that it’s not their fault for contributing to these actions.  An attitude of irresponsibility puts us all in danger if there is no consideration of others.  There also is a clear lacking of collaboration being fostered in the community.

There’s so much talk about sustainability in Hawaii yet there is no action to actually show it.  We cannot last as an island state when fear and a lack of accountability becomes acceptable behavior.  Fearing education and calling science propaganda is another sign of a society losing its vision.  We can’t survive if the loudest, most misinformed people dictate poor policy and takes away the jobs that feed and house families.  There’s too much taking happening and no one looking out for our local families.  

Hawaii knows what’s best for its people and its those voices heard.  Not the Ashley Lukens from Tennesee or the Nomi Carmona’s from California.  They don’t know the roots of the local people or appreciate our heritage.  They are mainlanders out to take away livelihoods and make our local people leave the islands in hope for a better life.  Hawaii isn’t the paradise for locals but a tired, draining, living hell without a job to feed a family and keep a roof over their heads.  We need hope and a vision.

Instead of aloha aina, how about aloha for the kamaaina?