The Personal Price of the Anti-GMO to Me: $1695

I’ve known for some time that the Babes Against Biotech ring leader, Nomi Carmona, bought my domain name some time ago.  She created an anti-Monsanto screed calling me the GMO papaya princess.  I didn’t bother to fight it since it only shows how the anti-GMO activists use personal attacks instead of facts to base this entire movement upon.  

I happened be talking to a colleague about this website today and found out that it doesn’t exist anymore.  

  
Looks like I have to spend $1695 to buy my domain name back from the cyber squatters.  I’ll just let this remain as it to reiterate the fact that the anti-GMO activism in Hawaii must rely on personal attacks against those who refuse to give an alternative to what they wish to take away.  Aloha is a concept that apparently is hard to demonstrate when you don’t have any facts to support your cause.

You Can’t Get on a Canoe Without a Real Plan

You Can’t Get on a Canoe Without a Real Plan

  
As I was looking at my dad’s papaya seedlings the other day, it really made me realize how things in nature are a reflection of our own lives in many ways.  

  
Every single papaya came from a single seed that was carefully bred and planted with care.  My dad crossed his Kamiya line with the Rainbow papayas to get his customer favorite, Kamiya Gold.  This little seed was carefully dried up and stored until it was time for planting.  

The papaya seeds were then placed into vermiculite to help sprout them in the protection of his greenhouse.  If it weren’t for this, the seeds would be attacked by slugs, snails, birds, and the elements at this early stage.  As these seedlings grow larger and stronger, they are transplanted into larger pots, and eventually grow large enough to be field ready.  Daily care is needed daily to ensure strong and healthy plants.

  
In addition to preparing the seedlings, the field must also be readied for planting.  This in itself takes months to prepare. Cover crops are grown after each field is plowed back when the trees get too tall to pick.  The crop itself takes months to grow. The soil must be plowed after cover crops have matured to encourage breakdown of the organic matter.  It will take sometime for the bacteria to fully compost the cover crop to replenish the soil.  Drip lines are also put in and the field is marked to set the proper row widths. Once the field prep is done, small holes are dug to place the foot tall seedlings into.

  
Once that field is planted, the trees will need fertilizer, pest control, and watering.  Dead leaves are picked off the trees to prevent damage to the fruits and some are even thinned out to ensure enough space for each one to grow.  After about a year, those trees will be ready for harvest.  

  
I realized that our lives are very much lIke these plants.  Everyone has the potential to develop and give back to others, just like the trees nurtured from the seed to plant.  We all start off on the same but the experiences we have and the inputs we are provided or denied, shape us throughout our lives.

Like seedlings, people have some set basic needs to even start off right.  Plants need medium, air, water, and sunlight to even start growing.  Once it uses its own food store and grows larger, it needs other elements to grow and produce fruits.  People are no different as they need the basics of food, water, and nurturing.  Without these to start with, neither plant nor people will be able to thrive.  The plants that don’t have the basic needs met will likely never be able to reach its fullest potential or will need extra care to make up for the effects not provided early on.  It’s the same for people.

As the person matures, just like a plant, their needs change but they will still need the basics and even more to become productive.  The trees will need more nutrients from fertilizers and some pest control to decrease the stressors on the plants.  By providing added nurturing, the trunks and roots become hardier to withstand the harsh elements.  People will need to learn skills via education and parental guidance and good role models to instill values that will keep them on the right path.  There will be constant distractors that can eventually stunt the tree and hindering its growth.   The added inputs set the foundation on which that person can excel upon just like the trees being able to provide delicious and nutritious fruits for years to come.

When living things aren’t given the basics early on and don’t have the right foundation to start from, these organisms can’t fulfill its maximal potential to become productive beings.  As a farmer’s kid, I had everything I needed in life and learned the value of hard work, perseverance, and striving to always to do a good job.  It is our nature to thrive, seek opportunities, do things better than before, and develop relationships. We as humans are always seeking to nurture each other as it comes from our instincts.  Like my dad’s trees that had all the inputs needed early on and cared for throughout its life, they provide the sweetest and most quality fruits around as a result of using tried and true lessons learned over the years.  

Hawaii is a hot bed for anti-everything activism.  We have lots to be against here.  If you live on the Big Island, you can be against geothermal energy, the Thirty Meter Telescope, and open ocean fish farming.  Go to Maui and you can be against GMOs and sugar cane burning.  After that, you can head to Kauai and join the anti-dairy and anti-GMO folks too.  No matter what your interest, you’ll find something to be against.  It gets pretty tiring that everything new is being blocked. Simply being staunchly against progress isn’t human nature.

The act of blockading things and denying our own instincts are counterintuitive.  Many of us have a desire to help others in some form or fashion and to do things better.  It’s in us to strive for that.  However, like a plant being denied nutrients or a baby denied human touch and love, neither can ever fully meet its full potential if the basics aren’t provided.  The nature of blocking biotechnology to farmers who are poor or use old chemicals to protect their crops keeps everyone else who depend on that farmer from having a productive and reliable food source.  Halting the construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope on Mauna Kea delays the funding of scholarships and revenue for education in the poorest county in our state.  Using a nebulous term like sacredness to fight a battle shows they fight a war based in ideology and not one with a working and living vision for the future.

Without access to education, we all stand to lose when the children aren’t able to overcome the fearfulness of their parents.  They won’t be able gain opportunities to rise out of poverty and the cycle continues in the next generation.  Shutting down the sugar cane or biotech industry on Maui takes away from opportunities of hundreds of people who keep the lands in agriculture and erases a key link to our local roots.  Relying on misinformation to achieve such goals is also against people who have a conscience and sense of caring of others.  The anti-everything people accept misinformation, acts of vandalism, and threats against others who speak in support of advancement.  They can only see a world of black and white and in concrete, literal terms because they have never been exposed to the world beyond their own eyes.  Progress is frightening to those who live life through only what they read and see on the Internet or what their fellow family member tells them.  The world is scary when you haven’t fully opened your eyes and actually learned about what’s happening with technology and research.

We are always learning lessons throughout our lives of what works and what doesn’t.  We have learned to be more efficient and do much more with less.  We use technology to achieve this.  It is in our nature to continually ask questions and find answers to them.  Those who choose to be willfully ignorant and don’t truly research what’s happening around us are like stunted plants who never fully produce anything tangible for others.   We also desire knowledge and value education as a society where everyone has equal opportunity to achieve a higher goal and give back to our communities.  

It’s time to stop and think about the anti-everything mentality.  It is totally opposite of what the human spirit wants to become.  In societies where this was crushed and it was not considered a value, have people flourished and led the world in helping others? Have these societies nurtured their people to willing give back and care for others? The truth is that the anti way of thinking has crushed the human spirit and by doing so, has people forgetting that those who live with freedom should use it for the betterment of others in this world.  There is plenty of suffering around us and why should those with everything be the ones adding more to it.  The sad thing is Hawaii is turning into a place where a loud minority are willingly crushing spirits and dreams of the few who have that desire. 

We need people who are willing to go up and beyond what is the norm here in Hawaii.  We can’t let naysayers with no strong vision for the future dictate policy here in Hawaii.  They take away dreams and aspirations of our young people and close off minds with fear and unsubstantiated beliefs. Nor do these people ever offer facts since that will cause people to question their movement.  

My dad said that we talk about the crabs in the bucket mentality thinking it’s the lowest ones pulling people down.  He said it really is the top ones, the leaders, who are not fighting to get out of that bucket and lead people over and out beyond the comfort of that bucket.  The mentality that science is propaganda and progress can be denied is what’s going to sink Hawaii’s ability to get anywhere in the future.  How can we ever grow our base of innovators, problem solvers, and community contributors to make Hawaii better when being anti-everything is gloryfied? It’s just ain’t cool to protest and not have a real plan for everyone.

Even the early Hawaiian canoe voyagers knew that they just couldn’t jump in a canoe and paddle out aimlessnessly into the vast ocean.  They studied the stars, weather, and ocean to gather knowledge and developed a plan.  They even figured out the best design of a vessel to take them on this adventure.  They planned this voyage with the intent of living in a new place by bringing along animals, plants, and other supplies to sustain them when they get there.  A lot of thought and effort went into this plan before it was ever launched.  As a result of good planning, cooperation, and leadership, the Hawaiians managed to make it here and establish their unique culture.

Humans are always striving to be at their best and get somewhere in life.  My ancestors had that same idea which is what brought them to Hawaii.  The ancient Hawaiians also did the same things when they headed out in their canoes.  No one would have ever been here if our ancestors sat around protesting and never coming up with a real plan.  The journey of getting to our destination and striving towards a vision didn’t start with protesting the thing of the moment.  We are here because of a lot of thinking, nurturing each other, and leaders with the guts to inspire us to get somewhere.  That’s the culture needed now.

  

Hawaii’s Hobby Activism Has Unintended Consequences

Just a few days ago, people were sharing some really ugly threatening comments from a TMT protester full of f-bombs galore.  These comments eventually made it back to this person and became a center of Ian Lind’s blog post.

The sad thing about all of this is that when people can resort to this kind of behavior, it really shows that they are not capable of considering the consequences of their actions.  That is a real problem that they don’t even realize.  

In the social media world, delete is an option but once you put your name to a comment, you’ve owned it.  Make a threat or nasty comment and it’s there for all eternity thanks to screenshots.  If someone should see it, it’s public information and can turn viral.  It’s the kind of publicity can doom your future career and reputation.

Here’s some lovely comments I’ve received through this blog from these hobby activists, a term that my social media friend, Chuck Lasker, coined.

It is sad that some think that the land comes before people. When a lot of Hawaiians are imprisoned or homeless, or leaving because of the lack of opportunities, what good is it?

 
 

It is hard to believe that people can speak out without being paid. The easiest way to dismiss someone who disagrees with them is to do the shill accusation bit.

  

This woman is supposedly a science teacher so she has claimed. I’d be afraid of her teaching my kid science.

Science has made the Hawaiians suffer? I have a hard time believing it when the Merrie Monarch Festival can be broadcasted around the world to show the beauty of this culture. The internet has also captured stories of the kupuna to show future generations their stories.

  

Hobby activism only fuels more protests but no real solutions or options. What alternative will these people provide should they get what they want?


The anonymity of the social media also encourages more hateful speech.  How productive is that in all of this?

   

An anonymous poster who decided to visit my FB page who clearly is there for anything but discussion.

 

Here’s the worst comment I have received on the blog that really shows the mentality of the protesters.  

 

Given these comments, it really starts to reflect the kind of mentality of the people behind this movement.  They aren’t well informed about the process that led to the approval of the TMT and can’t fathom the repercussions of them blocking it at this point in time.  They also do not realize that these will reflect upon others involved in the movement too.  They clearly cannot see the consequences of their decision to post these kinds of commentary.  Should we really be listening to those who haven’t throughly thought out about the issue?  Are these the kind of people that should be making these kinds of policies for the future of Hawaii?

Once again, I feel it’s time we need to really look back upon our local roots.  Many people came to our islands to work on those plantations.  It took a lot of cooperation and collaboration working with people from around the world.  Everyone learned from each other and we got our local style that made Hawaii the special place we all know and long for.  Where is that being fostered in Hawaii’s communities?

Whether it be the GMO issue or the TMT one, that local style is eroding away bit by bit.  What’s missing here is strong leadership with a real vision to inspire us to be contributors to the Hawaii we all want for our future. I believe that there is a way to find common ground with maintaining the sacred symbolism of Mauna Kea with the need for advancing our quest for knowledge. There is a faction who refuses any concessions and are unwilling to accept the long term impacts to the community as a whole.

When we look into they eyes of the keiki, what do we want for them? Do we want another generation of protesters or can we see beyond that? The human spirit has an innate desire to progress and move forward.  We all have that desire to do things better.  The attempt to stymie that has led to wars instead of peace.  The right decision may not be the most popular one but our leaders have an obligation to stick with that vision and do the hard task will keep us on track.

 
 

What Will I Tell My Kids?

What Will I Tell My Kids?

Every Sunday, my dad and I get to talk story about what’s going on in the agricultural scene as well as the latest science research that we’ve heard about. We are avid followers of the latest findings and both follow the politics pretty closely. I’ve been having these chats with him for several years now and it’s usually pretty upbeat and positive.

Today’s one was unlike any other talk story time. He’s usually talking about how my brother is learning the ropes of the farm and loves to reminisce about the way he was when joining the farm with my grandfather. He’d say that young farmers come in with lots of bright ideas about how they are going to change this and that because the new way is better, only to realize that some old ways are good because they are tried and true. Today was different as I heard him mention that with all these additional laws being targeted at ag and farmers, he would not be surprised if my brother decides to throw in the towel.

I have to say that I have never even given thought to seeing the end of my dad farming. This is his passion! It was something that never made him rich but it is what he loves to do. He essentially worked two full time jobs for decades to support the family and keep the farm. My brother also realized my dad’s passion and wanted to continue his legacy. If he gives up, there will be no more Kamiya Papaya.

It seems farming was once a noble profession but in this day and age, it is no longer respected apparently. With all of this targeted legislation being proposed by politicians and activists, of whom have never even had decades of farming experience, one gets tired of defending their work and continuing to reiterate the need to incorporate science into it. It’s easier to read stuff off the Internet as truth and then rile up people for the cause than to produce a crop. The farmers or the 1.5% of the population have a hard time getting their message loud enough over the 99%. Who will step in for us?

I’ve got to say that I really felt saddened after hearing my dad say that today. The days where politicians did research into the issues and sometimes did what was right but against popular opinion is over. They have to listen to the loudest of folks first and foremost. Leaders no longer have the integrity to protect the folks who are doing the right thing but have the lesser number. There are some but they are far and few between because of the attacks by activists upon them.

Ten years down the line, I don’t want to have to tell my kids the story about why they can’t go down to papa’s farm. Nor do I want to tell my youngest daughter that there are no more real tractors to play on because the farm is gone. Least of all, I don’t want to have to tell my youngest why we have pictures of a farm and nothing else. I’m hoping that by doing my part, I can stop that from becoming a reality. The farm is my dad’s legacy and our family’s heritage and no one can take that away from us without a fight for truth.

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Tales of a Lazy Anti-GMO Activist: “Science is Propaganda!”

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The latest disturbing trend that I’ve been observing with the activists, whether it be an anti-vaccination or anti-GMO one, is stating that science is propaganda. This clearly tells me that either they don’t understand the scientific process or some of the basics or don’t quite understand what propaganda really is. Honestly, it’s just them being plain old lazy to actually put some brain power to actually think about what’s being said. There, I said the painful truth about it.

Most activists seem to not even understand what propaganda really is. As one can see from the definition, it’s politically motivated. The fact that the activists are attempting to influence laws without evidence to support such regulations creates a slippery slope as to the necessity of the laws to begin with. These folks are very effective and getting others to repeat the mantras of people are being sprayed, kids are being sprayed, birth defects, and the aina is being poisoned. It doesn’t matter if all the multiple tests and studies done show otherwise. It’s a fear based statements that the least informed tends to latch on to easily.

When these emotionally hot statements are repeated over and over, it becomes fact to people, irregardless of what the data points too. Propaganda needs no fact to back up what’s being said and it’s effective when it’s fear based as we have seen. Whether the message is vaccinations will cause autism or GMOs means pesticides, it scares people and puts them on the emotional high horse crusade to protect themselves against this perceived evil.

If one should ask for evidence, it’s against the unspoken code that you do not question or doubt what’s being said. The evidence that is provided only repeats the same statements and few people if any know how to skeptically question the sources and just believe. A crusade against something so bad cannot tolerate dissenters or doubters for that matter. It will utterly destroy the energy and emotion that drives this battle and endangers the stature of leaders who benefit from the numbers of people engaged in their movement.

A perfect example of this is Kauai County Councilmember’s statements on pesticide usage there. He repeated over and over that there was 18 tons being used. As a result, people repeated it but never questioned it. The reality was much different but the repeated statements became truth despite the facts that it was half as much. Facts don’t matter and nor does being honest with their followers also. He could have easily corrected them but refused to do so because he’d likely create doubt in many people’s minds. Kauai County Councilmember, Gary Hooser, created so much fear that his followers turned very ugly on the social media and in the communities. That likely got the level headed voters to put him lowest on the totem polem this past election.

When activists claim that, “There’s propaganda on both side,” they’ve just shown that they aren’t able to critically assess what’s being stated. Instead of researching out the facts and critically vetting sources, it’s way easier to shut down logic and critical thinking all together. Why bother doing the hard work to actually open your mind and learn when it’s easier to dismiss science as propaganda? It’s easiest to live in fear and on emotions than it is to step back and actually think. It’s also more fun to have more people on your side too.

Creating doubt in your followers is dangerous in an ideological movement. Questioning of the information is a threat to its very existence and can topple the leaders that perpetuate it. It simply can’t be tolerated. The next best thing is to now tell followers to just dismiss evidence all as propaganda. Forget intellectual honesty and considering that you just might be wrong about what you thought. Don’t bother doing any real research and use the statement, “Science is propaganda.”

Yeah, you said it and you can continue repeating those same erroneous statements because you’ve acknowledged that you refuse to attempt to think critically or logically about the issue. That is a good reason why those who think like that should not be involved in policy making. No logic and no critical thought invested in the process means harmful unintended consequences that affect everyone. Haven’t we already learned that with all the bad bills passed across our islands?

SHAKA Movement’s Maximal Misinformational Minute and More

Just when you thought that the misinformation campaign couldn’t get any better, it got pretty good again.  Not only have they bombarded the social media to indoctrinate their followers to their mantras but they have got it all compacted in a whole minute!  Just listen here or read it below.

“Aloha, this is Uncle Mac.  My ohana has been farming Maui for over 51 generations and now we have to get with the times.  Dats why we like us da GMOs.  It’s easy.  All you gotta do is get one license from da chemical companies dat rent da seeds cuz you no can own or save em for next year.  Den you sign one contract dat you not going tell no one nuthing.  Den you gotta study technical stuff like coexistence, den you almost ready for plant, but first you got to buy one space man suit to protect yourself cuz you gotta spray the chemical to kill everything and grow the GMO.  Den they have to inspect dat you did em right so you no get in trouble. If dis is da way you farm, den you no like the GMO bill. If you farm old skool like everybody else, den the GMO bill absolutely no problem for you.  It’s dat simple.”

The funniest thing about the whole Shaka Movement is that even some of their followers can’t even quite explain the law that they are proposing itself and don’t even know the content of it.

Not only do these people not like being questioned for their movement, but some will even try to show you a baseball bat for questioning them.

Not only do these people have so much aloha, but they will even beautify public property in the name of being allegedly poisoned.  Forget the fact that they exposed themselves to synthetic chemicals and aerosols and some solvents that are known carcinogens.  They likely did this without a space suit too!

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Oh, yes, and these malama the aina pono preachers (aka “I love the land and do what’s right but don’t quite know right from wrong) has no boundaries when it comes to private property either.  They come with the mentality that what’s yours is mine apparently.

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It’s funny that these same folks have all kinds of weird spellings and conspiracy theories about the whole biotech issue and when you point out the obvious, they are the first one to call you ignorant.  Sure, your internet knowledge and Google searches have made you a whole lot smarter than any farmer.  In this aspect, I make like an anti-GMO activist and don’t read the flood of “intelligent and thought provoking” comments.  It gives me inspiration.  NOT.

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Well, I can’t enlighten everyone about the wonders of biotechnology unfortunately.  Especially if people would rather socialize, I mean protest, something they clearly don’t understand but think they do.  So yes, keep sending those comments, and denying the facts and evidence.  Facts and evidence don’t need mantras and emotional terms of people and the aina dying or being killed because it just doesn’t stand beyond a reasonable doubt.

And please, don’t send me any comments about how you’re now going to save the turtles, protest the Mauna Kea telescope, surf by a Superferry, and hijack the North Shore Neighborhood board meeting with an anti-farmer crowd.  I would love to hear how you’re going to participate in a civil discussion about how agriculture will move forward first and foremost sans any mention of Monsanto.

The Machine Continues: How Minds Unleashed Annihilated Rational Thought

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This is the latest piece of anti-biotech articles being passed around the internet again.  It should not be of any surprise that the internet is once again being filled with these kind of sites.  Why? The vote on the Maui County Moratorium is only a few months away and the pushers of the “you’re dying and the earth is being killed” folks want to make sure they keep their momentum up.  Data or evidence just doesn’t matter to them, only the mantras are of what is important.

It’s the typical tactic of these groups to gain more unsuspecting folks to believe in this ideological movement.  The evidence will say otherwise but none will ever be considered by people moved by fear, misinformation, and and constant barraging of the same message over and over.  Little do most people realize that the source of the site, Mind Unleashed is yet another site full of half truths and disinformation and it shouldn’t be surprising that the sources used (Organic Prepper, Nation of Change, and Natural Revolution) are also questionable.

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Like a friend of my mentioned a few days ago, if it really was big news, then why isn’t it being reported on CNN, ABC, KHON2, Hawaii News Now and others? It’s always found on obscure websites that lean towards conspiracy theories and the naturalistic fallacy once again.  The anti-GMO crowd will never research their links or sources and just believe without needing any proof.  It’s complete confirmation bias for people who just don’t know where to start to question this stuff to begin with.  The correction for this piece should look like this…

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