Photo by Maile Sur

Maui County Residents came together at War Memorial Stadium in Kahului, Maui, October 26, 2014, to march for the GMO Initiative to suspend GMO operations.

GMO Initiative? I think ‘yes’

October 28, 2014

Be honest: how many of you eat organically? Because after learning about GMO’s, you might want to start.

I mean, we don’t even know what these genetically modified organisms and genetically engineered organisms can do: good or bad.

Either way, I’ve made up my mind. I’m saying “yes” to the Maui County ballot initiative to impose a temporary moratorium on all genetic engineering activities on Maui until there is more information about their safety.

Why, you ask?

This ʻōlelo noʻeau tells it all:

He aliʻi ka ʻāina; he kauā ke kanaka. The land is a chief; man is its servant.

This is a saying we should all live by. The land has no need for man, but to live, man needs the land. So why are we drowning it in pesticides?

As a Native Hawaiian, I take pride in the beauty of the land and ocean surrounding us. These are the same lands that our kupuna farmed and lived on; would they like what they see now?

Our kupuna lived off the land without GE organisms and pesticides, so why can’t we?

As a Native Hawaiian, I take pride in the beauty of the land and ocean surrounding us.

— Maile Sur

Major agriculture companies including Monsanto, DuPont Pioneer, and Syngenta have turned our home into ground zero for GMO’s.

According to the Sustainable Hawaiian Agriculture for the Keiki and the ʻAina (SHAKA) website, Maui County is “the largest open-air, experimental chemical and genetics test site in the world.”

How’s that for tourism?

A SHAKA Movement pamphlet states that “over 80 chemicals are sprayed on GMO fields.” All of those chemicals can easily spread into our oceans and reefs, not to mention our groundwater, drinking water, and eventually, our bodies.

Still not convinced?

Glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup herbicide, has been found in blood samples and mother’s milk of Maui residents.

Oh, and who are the makers of “Roundup?” Monsanto.

In a Collective Evolution article entitled “New Study Links GMOs to Cancer, Liver/Kidney Damage & Severe Hormonal Disruption” written by Arjun Walia, Geneticist David Suzuki says, “By slipping it into our food without our knowledge, without any indication that there are genetically modified organisms in our food, we are now unwittingly part of a massive experiment.”

Key word: experiment.

The opposition pleads that hundreds of jobs will be at stake. My question: “How?”

It is obvious that farming can be done without the use of genetically engineered organisms, so why don’t the big agriculture companies that will supposedly be “at risk” just do so? I don’t see how that puts jobs on the line.

Another claim made by the opposition is that anyone exposed to genetically engineered organisms could be held to a fine. For instance, a small farmer whose crops are cross-contaminated with GE pollen may end up with GE crops. This, however, is flawed because if GMO’s were banned in the first place, there wouldn’t be any issues with cross-contamination.

This claim just adds to the list of reasons that GMO’s should be banned.

On Sunday, October 26, many Maui County and Hawaiʻi residents gathered at War Memorial Stadium to march for the GMO Initiative. Members marched from the stadium to the University of Hawaiʻi Maui College, so know that you are not alone.

Until genetically engineered organisms can be proven safe, the County of Maui needs to suspend the use of them.

Vote “yes” on the GMO Initiative.

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