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.
Some politicians aren’t really interested in solving the real problems of agriculture in Hawaii; marketing, invasive species, high cost of land, lack of housing for farm workers, etc. Those who ignore the real issues press forward on the issue of pesticide use in agriculture. Well, guess what, if the focus was on invasive species then pesticides would not be such an issue. It really concerns me Joni that threats of insect vectored diseases that affect humans, e.g. dengue fever, malaria, zika virus, are being ignored so that the glory of shutting down farms, especially gmo seed farms, can establish a name for the young, up and coming, politicians who see their name in lights such as Senator, Governor, and Congressman/woman! Really, their actions are outrageous. Of all the people and industries to attack in Hawaii they go after farmers on trumped up charges of rampant pesticide use. That is just not the case. Sure, there’s a few bad actors, and I can guarantee you it is not the seed companies or long-time established farmers like your family, but in seeking to catch the few a big net is being cast (in the form of additional agricultural pesticide regulations) that will end up hurting agriculture, not helping it in this State. For those few farmers who act outside of the law we need more money invested in education, not regulation! It’s a really, really sad state of affairs. Those of us who have been farming for years have done all that we can to reduce pesticide use, not increase it! But if the zealots prevail we will find ourselves in the same situation as the farmers in Tahiti – abandoning our farms because the little fire ants have taken over and our hands are tied because chemical tools that could actually help us keep going are taken away. So thank you Chris Lee, Kaniela Ing, Josh Green, and Russell Ruderman, in your zealous pursuit of removing pesticides from the hands of professionals you will, concurrently (as an unintended consequence), create an environment that will allow the little fire ant to flourish and eventually make our beaches, parks, and homes difficult to enjoy, much less live in!