Instead of Protesting, How About Paying Attention?

In today’s Civil Beat, a former “anti-GMO crackpot” as he calls himself, Bronson Kaahui, published a great article about the biotech issue in Hawaii. He calls it out for what it is and it’s hitting a nerve with the antis again.

I just happened to open up my Instagram account home page and came upon an angry looking Manaai Anthony calling out Bronson about the article.


In the comments he writes this so called “challenge,” which almost sounds like a threat.


This kind of stuff is nothing new to this guy at all.  When the Civil Beat articles were hot on the biotech issue, he’d tell people to do illogical things like this.


I have to wonder how this really is going to create any productive discussion about biotech.

Using this kind of logic, any anti should also consider doing this to match the challenge they offer.


The anti-GMO activists like Manaai Anthony make claims about the dangers of GMOs but then post their pizzas with GMO cheese! (90% of cheeses are made with GMOs.)


You know that if you argue with these people on GMOs, the argument will then shift to the “evil corporations.” He then sells his product to a corporation by the name of Whole Foods Kahala, and not to Whole Foods Kalihi.


I have to shake my head at this kind of stuff.  The sad thing is he preaches this stuff to thousands of followers.

It’s the same with the Thirty Meter Telescope protesters.  A commenter placed this photo in response to Richard Ha’s blog post on my page.


I sat there and read this, then remembered the protests at UH.



 This is what was on the news a few weeks ago.  I clearly see the disturbing of rocks and terrain happening and I know those posters and signs are likely landing up in the trash cans.

I responded to the commenter with these photos and he made this statement.


Something just doesn’t make sense here. If you’re going to say something, you’d better walk the talk.  You can’t be making accusations against others and then get upset when you’re called out on it.  If you truly want to be credible, then pay attention to the world around you and quit calling everything that challenges your faulty views as propaganda.

Louis accused me of mocking the culture which isn’t what my point is.  People get swept up into the emotional highs of these “movements,” then don’t even bother to think logically about the world around them.  The Hawaiian culture is one that can aspire to the highest height if more of them stop following bad leadership and catchy slogans being pushed on them by people like the Babes Against Biotech and the Center for Food Safety.  These people lead with no aloha and their followers reflect it. They yell to others to wake up.  Yes, wake up and think before you blast yourself on the internet.

Don’t cry out against corporations and wave your nylon flags. Dupont created that material back in 1935.

It’s Time for the Rubbah Slippah Folks to Rise Up!

It’s Time for the Rubbah Slippah Folks to Rise Up!

  

My dad and brother are just loaded down with papayas these last few months so they could not attend the Hawaii Crop Improvement Association meeting.  I worked the weekend so I could take a day off to attend it for keep my dad updated as Hawaii Papaya Industry Association president,  as well as served as a panelist.

At the meeting, I had a chance to shake hands and speak with Dr. James Brewbaker.  He is well known as the father of sweet corn in Hawaii and was influential in bringing the seed companies here to Hawaii as pineapple and sugar started to close down.  He worked to keep the country country, literally.  

Dr. Brewbaker shared with me that he’s finally going to retire.  He’s already in his 80’s but is still at work in the fields.  He told me that there will be a plant breeder position to fill when he leaves.  He also said that out of some 50 he’s worked with, very few are local folks.  That is just telling about how many local people know of future opportunities in agriculture. 

There is so much talk about growing Hawaii but the action isn’t really happening.  To drive down the country to see fields of green is reinvigorating and re-energizing after sitting in traffic day after day.  Leaders talk about supporting the very thing that keeps the country green, but then are launching attacks against those who farm it.  The environmentalists talk about preserving nature and take to fencing areas off and chipping away at local folks’ ability to hunt for food like their ancestors did.  Government agencies are creating sanctuaries to keep ocean users out of these areas despite no real evidence that support it.

I just consider myself a regular local person.  I have two pairs of the staple footwear of Hawaii which is also known as rubbah slippahs. Big Island farmer, Richard Ha, crafted that term to represent the local folks.  I have one pair of slippahs for home that is for getting all pilau (Hawaiian word for dirty) and another nice pair for going to the store.  Lots of us locals do this.

The kinds of actions being taken against the farms, oceans and forests users are just slowly chipping away at what the Rubbah Slippah folks can do.  We folks aren’t usually the ones to make a big brouhaha about it as we’ve usually trusted our leaders to be there for us.  In this day and age, that is clearly changing.  It seems no one elected is willing to take a stand to back the local ways of living.

Our leaders seem to feel the need to listen to loudest squawkers to ensure their seat in office.  Some are completely turning a blind eye to using sound reasoning and evidence to base policy in and prefer to pander to those who can’t see the unintended consequences.  This shortsighted kind of thinking only harms the future opportunities.

I really think it’s time for the Rubbah Slippah folks to start rising up or there will be no one to speak for what we want and treasure.   Will you join me?

  

Laulima: Restoring Our Roots

Laulima: Restoring Our Roots

  

 


‘Laulima’ 

Hawaiian for: “Many hands working together.”

In order to achieve our goals, working together is imperative. 

The Hawaiian culture has some really beautiful terms that seem to have been lost in modern times.  It’s been A’ole GMO and now A’ole TMT.  That is apparently the hot term for fighting everything and waging a war and crusade lately.  

When I keep hearing a’ole over and over, it really gives me the sense of constant fighting but no semblance of a possible alternatives.  If we keep fighting, one side will always be at a losing end.  In our own families we don’t teach our children the a’ole way.  Parents would go bananas if all they got from their kids was no, no, no and our kids would despise us if all we said was no.  Constant battling would become tiresome also.  Being in that mindset is just not healthy or sustainable.

In my own family, my husband and I create standards for our kids in terms of discipline.  Each kid has the same set of rules applied to them at their own developmental level.  Our expectations are set the same for both kids as much as is applicable.  How our leaders run our state should not be much different either and the standards of the lawmaking should be evidence based.  

If our laws and activities were not standardly applied to our citizens, there are fights likely to break out.  It’s no different when parents aren’t fair with their kids and the kids see and feel it.  This just creates dysfunction in the core unit and it impedes the ability to run smoothly.  Nothing can get done when there is a constant state of fighting because of the perception of inequality.

The concept of laulima is something that have been absent in any of the issues at hand in our state.  I don’t even hear our leaders mentioning this term that helped to provide a pillar to build society upon.  There are so many problems in the world and so many hands that can be used to build something together.  Keeping our hands on signs protesting something doesn’t contribute to problem solving.  It only leads to shortsighted decisions that can have too many unintended consequences.  The many hands can be put to better use by helping a fellow human in some form or fashion.  Those who are willing to work with each other can come to the table and find common ground on the topic and move forward by working collaboratively. This is the example we need from our leadership and participants in any issue.

If we continue to forget our roots and not care about the examples we set, our future generations will only perpetuate the negativity.  It will live on from issue to issue and the ugliness will continue in our system.  I cannot stand by and not speak out about this because this is not the Hawaii I want my kids to know.

 

Slogans left on the UH Manoa Campus Center stairs.

 

Graffiti left in a bathroom stall on the UH Hilo campus.

 

I’m asking folks to look back at our local roots.  Our roots came from using many hands to build our beloved local culture. Instead of using a’ole, how about we move forward in saying laulima?

The Great Responsibilty of Science Based Knowledge in the Age of Information

As I think more about my experience of going into my daughter’s fourth grade class, I came to a realization about the need for us as well fed individuals to be responsible for the kind of information we share.  I reminded them of how lucky we are and that it’s important for us to use good information regarding the issues at hand.  What we share may have an impact upon others that we are not aware of.  Just because we don’t see these people, it doesn’t mean we should not care about them.   

We have a wealth of information available to us and because of that, we have a great responsibility to use it wisely.  Why? It’s because misinformation can become very harmful and even deadly in many cases.  

One example of the harm in misinformation comes from what happened to my great grandmother.  She died in her 20’s because she believed that drinking vinegar was good for her.  Despite it being naturally derived, she was told that it was helpful.  She wasn’t well educated or given professional advice and just believed it.  She died when my grandmother was a young girl.

The misinformation about the Japanese Americans being spies for the enemy without any evidence is another example of bad policy that harmed people.  My uncle lost everything, from his belongings, house, and his business because of this unfounded belief.  He has to live in an internment camp for sometime as a result.  When it was clear that the Japanese did not pose a threat, he was released but had to start anew again.

Despite having an wealth of evidence showing that vaccines are safe, a single man and his bad study caused significant harm and death.  The former Dr. Andrew Wakefield unscrupulously spread fears about vaccines causing autism and unleashed decades of vaccination refusals.  People even gave bleach to their children in hopes that clearing their guts will get rid of autism.  Babies have died from being exposed to preventable illnesses or suffered permanent injuries as a result of unvaccinated children.  Measles has come back recently with several hundred being affected by it.

Bad advice about cancer treatments has also taken lives too.  The preference for supposed natural cures have cost lives being taken away too early. Is that fair to a child to be denied treatments that could save his or her life? Do we deny them a chance at a better life or is nature the preferred course to take because one fears modern medicine?

The story of Matthew Sheppard is another one where misinformation and hateful ideology led to his death.  With the media spreading allegations about homosexuality, it’s of no surprise that so many people became homophobic.  Parents shunned their children for being gay.  That in turn led to harsh feelings towards gay people and some going as far as killing people and even some being bullied and escaping through suicide.

While the much of the developing world is being denied the opportunities to grow better crops, the western world can keep new agricultural technologies from these farmers.  We don’t hear or see how farmers from India are thriving with Bt cotton and needing less pesticides to grow it.  We don’t see how much cassava is turning toxic due to plant disease.  We don’t see or experience those problems so many people feel the need to express fear about a technology they do not understand.

We never see our children going blind or dying from something so preventable like vitamin A deficiency. Instead of speaking truthfully about this potential solution, the activists state things like vitamin supplements and carrots and leafy greens will be better.  Duh, if it was that simple, why didn’t it happen? 

It behooves me even more about the how other food providers are hit by the misinformation campaigns.  So many people love their sashimi and poke but then will state that Hawaii is overfished.  If that really were the situation, where’s the data to support this and why aren’t markets stopping the selling of fish? It’s because what’s being said in the media just isn’t supported with evidence.  The hard working fishermen are left with a bad reputation while we still enjoy our raw fish. 

The Internet has given people who have no connection to agriculture a loud voice.  Just because they are loud, it doesn’t make them right in their assumptions.  All of their demands have consequences that many haven’t even considered at all.  Policies should always reflect the evidence available as the best source supporting it.  That is how we disperse information responsibly and end unnecessary hysteria and harm people’s livelihoods.

We live in a world of plenty.  Plenty information.  Plenty food and clothes.  Plenty of things to do.  Because we are blessed with plenty things, we have to add in responsibility.  Google does not give one a license to promote harmful misinformation.  The social media does not give one a license to share badly research memes and links.  Everything we do must be done responsibly.  It’s our role as a global citizen and to each other.

 

My dad is the hardest working person I know. Sharing bad information harms his way of living as well other small farmers who benefit from technology around the world. Be a responsible information sharer!


 

Hawaii is Not the A’ole State

  
I really never thought that the TMT on Mauna Kea issue would come to my community, but alas it did.  I came upon a busy intersection full of protesters against the telescope.  There were people of all ages there from old folks to babies.  

It makes me sad to see these protests.  These people held signs with A’ole TMT written on it.  A’ole is the Hawaiian word for “no.” The prior two years we had protests of A’ole GMO and now it’s moved onto the TMT.  Some signs stated that the telescope was a desecration to the aina (land).  This issue is eerily similar to the GMO one when they claimed that there was a need to malama (care) for the aina from biotech crops.  

These protesters claim that this telescope is desecrating sacred land over and over.  Meanwhile, a new Whole Foods is being built upon burial grounds as well as Target Kailua.   I’d consider that land to be sacred but there were no protests against that.  Shouldn’t people be standing in front of those grounds blocking it to stop others from supporting this desecration too? 

I’ve also seen videos of people 4 wheel driving up Mauna Kea and snowboarding down the slopes.  If the mountain is so sacred, who is protecting her from this kind of ravaging of the land? I don’t see anyone blocking these kids from doing that up there.  Just visit YouTube and see how many people have done this up there.

I really suspect that too many people have not done their due diligence to research the facts about TMT at all.  Hawaii Business Magazine did a great overview on why our state moved forward with this project.  It’s about opportunities for our people.  It’s about providing education also and diversifying an island that doesn’t have much of an economy.  It’s about bringing science and technology to a part of our state that can make it a world renown place to make new discoveries.

While many of the protesters have extra time and money to protest, they aren’t seeing that they are depriving others from opportunities.  Kaneohe isn’t suffering from limited jobs and a depressed economy but some people here are willing to deny others of that. Oahu isn’t anything like the Big Island and yet we city folk want to dictate to these folks what they should be doing.

Hawaii has opportunity to be a center of high technology that will indeed be making it a center of knowledge to the world.  Knowledge itself brings a profound reverence in itself.  I feel that we shouldn’t be protesting something that can give us more information, but we should embrace the desire for knowledge.  

There is an estimated 40% of the prison population that are native Hawaiian.  How can people malama their own so that these people too can enjoy the aina? If we don’t value education, what will prepare people for the future and keep them from a life of crime, drugs, poverty, and homelessness?

Hawaii isn’t known as the A’ole state.  We should remember that we are the Aloha State!
**This is the aloha spirit, alive and well in the anti-TMT activists.  As you can see, it’s not much different than the anti-GMO folks.  Insulting and derogatory comments are just a reflection of the person who sent it.**

  

Something to think about…

The Search for Knowledge on Mauna Kea is a Sacred One

Opposition to the TMT is Based in New Age Anti-Science Activism

Rise Up People: Redefining What it Means

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Kodomo No Tame Ni: For the Sake of the Children

My great grandparents, Taru and Kama Shimabukuro, with my great uncle, Rinsei, and my grandmother, Otome, in 1915.

I really love looking at old photos of my family.  It reminds me about grandparents and how hard they worked to raise my parents.  It also makes me realize appreciate how much they sacrificed for their family.

I was raised with the saying, “Kodomo no tame ni.” It is a Japanese saying that means for the sake of the children.  I witnessed this throughout my life watching my grandparents and parents working hard so that us kids had the best possible future.

My dad’s mom embodied this saying in all what she did.  She came from a family that had very little.  Despite all the hardships she faced, she hardly ever complained about it.  She would laugh much of those tough times off.  From being very poor to finally becoming comfortable, she always remained positive about the future.  She was never rich in terms of money, but rich with her tight knit bonds to her family.

I have to remind myself now and then about where I came from.

My great grandparents left their familiar home country in hopes of making it better for their families.  It took great sacrifice and decades of hard work to support their family.  They literally came with nothing and helped to set the foundation for the values that shaped the next generation, my dad and his siblings. 

 My dad was instilled with his parents’ ethics to work hard to get ahead in life which he taught me and my siblings.  He recently confessed to me the real reason he continued the farm and the reason surprised me.  It wasn’t about money.  It was something completely different.

He had lost his papayas to the ring spot virus as a farmer in the 1970’s and needed to recover from that devastation so he took on a full time job at BYU Hawaii.  He said that he could’ve just worked that job and quit the farm but he wanted to keep it going so that we would learn the value of hard work.  His intention was to keep it going for us to learn important life lessons.

The farm days were really family work days.

When the second wave of the virus hit yet again after moving his fields, he still pressed on.  My siblings and I had to get jobs at age 15 to support the family and work on the farm too.  Not only did we go to school, hold down part time jobs, participate in extracurricular activities, and do our chores, we also worked on the farm.  That was the childhood my dad knew.  It taught him good work ethic and determination and it did the same for me and my siblings.

Every once in awhile, I get frustrated with things going on in our state and it makes me want to leave it all.  I have to remember the hardships my great grandparents, grandparents, and dad went through. 

 I have it so good compared to what they went through and it’s their sacrifices that got me to where I am now.  The hardships I live through now is different than what they knew.

I honor the past because it gives me a better idea of the future that I want for my children.

I’m no different than others who want to preserve a certain way of living that teaches each generation important lessons.  Lessons of respecting each other and the land, honoring old traditions, and leading a noble life to honor one’s ancestors.  

Many of these activities are under attack in Hawaii on various fronts by people who have never shared in these practices.  This is why I have joined a group of like minded folks who share the same ideas like me.  We’ve joined together with fishermen and hunters to form the Hunting, Farming, and Fishing Association to broaden our reach with others to become a louder voice in educating and advocating for our way of life.  By collaborating with others, we can help to preserve these practices for the future generations.

We must speak up for the future of Hawaii.  Please join me!

Learn more about the Hunting Farming and Fishing Association. 

 

Exploring the world is what will help our keiki learn lessons for the future.

The Truth About The Toxicity in Hawaii

The anti-GMO, anti-pesticide groups have been loudly clamoring about how toxic those GMO fields are.  By the sound of it, one would think that I they are that horrible, it would be unwise to go near them at all.  The funny thing is that despite their claims of poisoning, these activists do the unthinkable.

The Center for Food Safety crew standing right next to a “deadly” poison sprayer. This really is a high tech device that actually reduces the drift issue that they harp on.

Unbelievable that they stand feet from those horrible GMOs!

  

Naomi Carmona wears her skimpy outfit just feet from the poisonous dust! She even takes of her mask to talk and survives!

  

Once again, Naomi removes her mask and stands less than 3/4 of a mile from toxic fields and survives!

 

Ironic that both Ashley Lukens of the Center for Food Safety and Naomi Carmona of the Babes Against Biotech appear to be pretty darn healthy despite standing with those 3/4 mile buffer zones that they are demanding.  If they truly believed that these fields were indeed dangerous, why aren’t they donning those Tyvek hazmat suits and respirators?

I suspect that the two of them know the truth but tell others something else.  They have no problem taking advantage of 98% of the population who are clueless about agriculture.  They have no conscience on how they fuel attacks against workers who have struggled and broke the cycle of crime and drugs through a job in agriculture.  They love the attention they get from what they do and plaster their faces on YouTube and on news magazines.  

However, when you ask them for some evidence to support their claims, they are quick to skedaddle in their fancy BMWs.  Ask them how they plan to work together on issues and all you get is silence or the quintessential, “But Monsanto.”  

  

    

When Ashley and Naomi can continue to fuel these kinds of comments against people, there is something very wrong.  When a Hawaiian feels that they are entitled to tear down another Hawaiian’s opportunity for a better life, they only further the destruction of aloha in our communities.  It’s the crabs in the bucket scenarios where none of them get anywhere because they tear each other down.

Do you really want to know what the real toxin is? It’s people like Ashley, Naomi, and even Kauai County Council Member, Gary Hooser, who are the toxicity in our communities.  It’s their disinformation campaign’s drift that is slowly killing everything.  The buffer zone that we need from these people is the distance from the US mainland to Hawaii.  If we don’t institute this soon, those highly toxic people will literally decimate the very little aloha that we have left.

We are at a point where we can’t sustain the aloha spirit.  If we don’t start demanding it, it will be depleted.  That is not the Hawaii I want! Protect the keiki and kupuna from these invasive species so that we can thrive again and foster love towards our farmers.