Making the World Better Doesn’t Come Just By What You Eat

Making the World Better Doesn’t Come Just By What You Eat

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.

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.