Several years ago, I used to work in Makaha. I’d drive 40 miles each day along beautiful coastlines that became increasingly littered with homeless people. One could see tons of trash and makeshift tents scattered all along these beaches. Many beaches had no restrooms either so you know what became toilet and bathing facilities… The ocean and beaches itself.
As I became a more aware of the environmental hazards that these encampments were creating, I remember seeing Earthjustice’s slogan about how they were there when earth needed a lawyer. I decided that earth did need a lawyer and the Aina needed some malama (care).
I sent Earthjustice an email about this issue that was concerning me. Lo and behold, I received a response! The person replied that they don’t deal with those issues. It left me shocked! Do they not care about the environmental crimes being perpetuated against the aina??? They apparently only malama the aina sometimes.
I’ve come to realize that these environmental groups only care about the aina when there is a carrot, in the form of litigation, at the end. If these groups and their activists genuinely cared for our islands, they’d stop turning a blind eye to the real issues at hand and set some priorities. That’s just wishful thinking on my part. The sad part is our politicians aligned with these groups are no different.
A few nights ago, Rep. Chris Lee, the introducer of the anti-pesticide bill, posted this on his timeline.
The irony of this post is that a few months ago, he proudly announced how he’s behind policies to prepare Hawaii for global warming. So he accepts the scientific consensus about climate change but denies the same one that supports biotechnology? Odd but typical of a career politician and a sign of pandering.
It clear that Rep. Lee doesn’t get many things. In the ideal world, money comes from trees whenever we want. It’s wonderful that people can get a supposed living wage and lives instantly improve by changing a dollar amount. The problem is that this wage isn’t going to come out of thin air. And even if this wage is higher, if basic cost of living is not under control, what good will this really do? This wage will be paid by the consumer undoubtedly.
It even makes me wonder if these politicians really know what it’s like to live in the real world. As a family, Hawaii is expensive and it’s no secret, but it’s home. To make a decent living, both parents have to work. That means paying for childcare and preschool. On top of that housing, groceries, gas, and utility costs are high too. It’s no wonder many families are homeless here in our islands.
It’s funnyy how corporate Ben and Jerry’s organizes to get money out of politics but is putting money into it themselves. They do the same thing when they attend SHAKA Movement rallies and get people to join while offering free ice cream. They are also supporting the organic industry and non-GMO proponents who have pumped lots of money into the social media for their cause. It’s not a community organized movement, but a corporate tactic to sell a feel good product. Both sides are funded to influence politics but how they do it is not much different from each other. One is reported, the other isn’t.
These politicians talk about helping the working class but seem to not show it in action. The reality is that they prefer to deal with privilege problems. The whole anti-GMO issue is one of high makamaka (elitist) folks with plenty of time to worry about their food. It’s food elitism at best with a fake feel like you’re saving the earth bit. Eating Ben and Jerry’s apparently can make a person morally superior than regular folks who can only afford Meadow Gold. Wouldn’t it be better if our own leaders bought locally made treats like Tropilicious sorbets or Roselani ice creams made right here by local folks? Isn’t that better for the environment? Isn’t it better to help local businesses and people?
Meanwhile, homeless people don’t get enough to eat and are polluting the aina each and everyday right under our noses. Where’s the protest?
Rep. Lee sponsored the Center for Food Safety’s anti-pesticide bill to allegedly protect the keiki. Apparently, he is either ignoring some real problems in Hawaii that people need protections from the increasing amounts of homelessness in our communities. There is trash and human excrement in places where our keiki and kupuna have to walk. The canal is being dumped into and that leads to the ocean. Bacteria by the trillions are multiplying in out oceans and trash floats into the open oceans. Just look at the desecration of the aina on a single block in Honolulu.
Where are the malama the aina and protect the keiki folks when you really need them? They are probably having Ben and Jerry’s, shopping at Whole Foods, and feeling high and mighty that they saved the world with what they ate. It’s a sad state of affairs when you have to use what you ate to make you feel morally superior and forget that it’s your interactions with people that have the real impact.
Sadly this issue is not exclusive to Hawaii. If only a % of the elite could see that shopping at Whole Foods and posting meme’s on Facebook isn’t going to save the environment and feed the world we would be a lot farther ahead. The scientificly educated have to do a better job at making their voices heard, and we have to find ways to make it safe for them to do so. Good post Joni!
Here’s a funny one, I thought Chris Lee was talking about Monsanto with his first three points. Pays a living wage, helps organize communities, supports labeling… Then I read #4. No, no, no. When the work ohana gets together, it’s local all the way. Potluck, Da Kitchen, Fat Daddy’s Smokehouse. Funny how one supports other local businesses, and the politician supports a huge national chain. Long live Fat Daddy’s and Da Kitchen!