Science Put To Vote: Falling Down a Slippery Slope


It is really disappointing but not surprising that Maui County narrowly passed the GMO initiative. It didn’t matter how badly flawed the law was, emotion and doubt prevailed in the end. That’s the saddest part about all of this anti-science movement. It has absolutely no basis in any kind of evidence, and is grounded in fear and disinformation repeated over and over.

I’ve encountered so many online discussions with activists to know that these people have very little to no knowledge of some key concepts involved in these issues. None could ever tell me anything about basic genetics let alone chemistry and biology. Neither do these folks understand the process of evidence based practice and lawmaking to fully understand the consequence of what they are voting for. That just tells me that we have a large percentage of people who read things off the internet and use that information to base their decisions off of. We have not given people the tools to decipher and critically vet what they read through our education process.

Apparently in Hawaii, on Maui County and Kauai County especially, the numbers show that quite a few voters have become swept up in all of this. The GMO initiative passed, Margaret Wille, Gary Hooser, Kaniela Ing, and Mason Chock get back in their political seats. The public still wants these people representing their interests and it’s disappointing. There are greater consequences when we as a society continue to take actions like this.

We’ve allowed groups from Washington, DC to dictate policy based in emotion rather than science and evidence. Just read an ad that the Center for Food Safety sponsored a few weeks ago.


As you can see, there is no mention of utilizing science and research to grow this food movement. Meanwhile, the scientific community is preparing to address some dire consequences of climate change. Heck, Representative Chris Lee is hyped about getting Hawaii ready for it but then co-mingles with the Center for Food Safety! That’s ironic!

The rejection of science has also led to a growing outbreak of preventable diseases too. We just had two cases of measles a few weeks ago. It puts the most vulnerable at risk to these illnesses when we continue to reject the evidence. That is terrifying to me knowing that my kids could catch something that is so preventable.

I’m definitely not a proud of what has happened in Hawaii. It totally frustrates me that we have become an emotion based state rather than one who embraces science and technology. We are so isolated from knowing what is happening around the world and cling to the romanticism of the old ways yet quickly want the latest high tech device and drive the latest hybrid. Hawaii will still be that state I left 15 years ago as backwards as it is today with few to little opportunities for our educated generation of students.

Here we talk about growing Hawaii’s food supply and decreasing our dependence on imports but the take actions that move us away from it. What farm has activist Nomi Carmona and political science PhD Ashley Lukens started up here?

Neither have their roots in Hawaii either but somehow feel they know what’s best for local folks, which is typical of many mainland transplants. What have they grown and demonstrated that they want to help in this effort? They have done nothing but stand on their pulpits touting message that attack our farmers. They talk in idyllic terms of working together with the community, but aren’t sincere about it. It’s funny that both of them have blocked me on the social media, just like Russell Ruderman and others. How does one work with others when you’re not open to seeing the other side. It’s clear, they aren’t just like the rest of the activists.

The Shaka Movement and Center for Food Safety may be celebrating their short lived win, but ultimately, all of Hawaii has lost but can’t even recognize it.


5 thoughts on “Science Put To Vote: Falling Down a Slippery Slope

  1. A bit depressed about this. I expect lawsuits to follow (like happened here on the Big Island.)

    The bill says a moratorium until deemed safe. I would suggest printing out a copy of every relevant peer reviewed paper for all the council members and mayor (how many thousand pages would that be?) and say “It has been deemed safe. Here is the proof. Now end the moratorium.”


  2. First of all, I just want to thank you for putting out this blog and educating people on what goes on in farming – past and present. I’ve been faithfully reading for about a month now. I learned a lot of farming techniques from my grandfather who had acres of rice and vegetable fields in the Philippines. When he moved here, he grew many types of vegetables in our backyard. I don’t have a green thumb but my husband does, so I leave all the growing to him.
    I have a degree in science and yes, I have a lot of science background and now work in the medical field. I have a degree in Biology but that does not make me a biologist. The SHAKA movement has someone claiming to be a bio-geneticist (whatever that means). That’s their comeback to scientists who actually have experience in their field?
    You’re right. People have been emotionally spent through this whole election. We’ve been bombarded with false claims. It was too much for me to ask that people separate themselves emotionally and figure out what this initiative was all about. Was it about GMO, chemicals, Monsanto and Dow? It was too much for me to get someone to explain (in simple language) from the YES side what GMO/GE was. Inserting chemicals into the DNA/plant, were some of the answers I got. It was frustrating, to say the least, that they couldn’t explain what they were so passionate about, but had no clue how to respond. Sad.
    The most upsetting thing that I heard yesterday was that they thought the Filipinos (and apparently, only Filipinos work there) who work for Monsanto all had work visas, gave all their money back to their families in the Philippines and did not contribute economically to Hawaii, so they only ‘sleep’ here. Really? These are people who have families and homes on Maui. Maui IS their home. They work hard so yes, they give back what they can to their families. What? They don’t eat? Don’t they buy their groceries at the store, fill their cars with gas, buy clothes? How many of the YES people are mainland transplants? How many of them think they can just come here and decide what’s best for Maui?? Don’t make it a race issue. That’s beside the point. They should pick up a genetics book and look up DNA and genes. They can do it while they’re camping out in front of Monsanto. Maybe someone should warn them to leave. They might get sick.

    • It was very disturbing when the race issue was brought up in Kauai. The word going on in the activists’ circles was that they are just low wage workers inferring that they are expendable. That just blew my mind. We all start off some where and many of these workers support family members who will eventually be contributors to our society.

      We are having a brain drain occurring before our eyes. I can’t sit back and let this happen.

      Thank you for commenting and following these issues.

  3. It should be known that the this Maui Law has criminalized the growing of broccoli and many tomatoes, among many other crops.

    From the Maui law:

    “Genetically Engineered” or “GE” (also commonly referred to as “Genetically Modified”, “GM”, “Genetically Modified Organism”, or “GMO”) means produced from an organism or organisms in which the genetic material has been changed through the application of:

    (a) In vitro nucleic acid techniques which include, but are not limited to, recombinant deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) or ribonucleic acid (RNA), direct injection of nucleic acid into cells or organelles, encapsulation, gene deletion, and doubling; or (b) Methods of fusing cells beyond the taxonomic family that overcome natural physiological, reproductive, or recombination barriers, and that are not techniques used in traditional breeding and selection such as conjugation, transduction, and hybridization.

    For purposes of this definition: “In vitro nucleic acid techniques” include, but are not limited to, recombinant DNA or RNA techniques that use vector systems; techniques involving the direct introduction into the organisms of hereditary materials prepared outside the organisms such as biolistics, microinjection, macro-injection, chemoporation, electroporation, microencapsulation, and liposome fusion.”

    And from the article:

    The National Organic Production standards were based on an ethical position that laboratory manipulation of living things is unethical (an ethical position that I, as a biologist, and a person who is alive today because of modern medicine based on laboratory science, don’t share). But they apparently didn’t realize at the time that gene doubling had been used widely, as well as another technique called cell fusion, and that many of the varieties of tomatoes, corn, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, barley, etc., including many cultivars grown by certified USDA organic farms, had been produced using these techniques, or were derived from parental strains produced through these techniques.

    Basically, now in Maui, if you plant broccoli or tomatoes, the Shaka-Truppen will come for you in the night.

  4. I thought a blank vote is a no vote? Even if not, the Yes votes did not exceed 50% of all voters. Hmmmm makes you wonder……….is this really a victory for them?

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