Citizens to Monsanto: 'Get out of Hawaii'
Several organizations, including Occupy Wall Street Maui and GMO-Free Maui, as well as more than 100 concerned citizens, held a protest on June 28 in front of the Monsanto Corporation headquarters in Kunia on the Island of Oahu, Hawaii. According to the organizers, the protesters met in Kunia and marched more than half a mile to the Monsanto compound for two hours of roadside sign-waving and chanting, demanding that Monsanto leave Hawaii and saying they need real food, not exported GMO seeds and chemical contamination. The group also demands that genetically engineered (GE) food be labeled.
The protesters wore masks to protect themselves from pesticide drift and GE spores, received lots of support from many in passing cars that honked their horns and waved in support. A nearby resident came to find out what was going on and soon donned a mask himself as he was unaware of the dangers so close to his house. The resident expressed concern about the large trucks and equipment operating at night at Monsanto’s fields.
Monsanto operates about 8,000 acres in Hawaii for GE seed production. According to organizers, these operations use the most valuable agricultural lands and water in food production, as well as large amounts of chemicals and pesticides that are required to grow these crops. Hawaii is a global center for the open-air field testing of experimental GE crops, but no impact studies have been conducted.
Food security is a growing concern in Hawaii as the majority of the food is imported while the biotech industry grows GE seeds for export. The need for locally grown, wholesome, natural, non-toxic food is high on everyone’s priority list. Walter Ritte of “Label It Hawaii” offers a strong message for Monsanto: “Get out of Hawaii, grow food, stop growing seeds and chemicals, grow food, we need food security over here.”
Monsanto stopped operations for the afternoon because of the protest and allowed most workers to leave early. Monsanto erected a barrier and manned a security station at the entrance to their compound. There were several Monsanto employees filming the protesters throughout the event.
This protest follows similar protests recently held on the islands of Maui and Kauai against Monsanto. Activist organizations on the other islands vowed solidarity and stated that they are planning more protests until Monsanto leaves the islands.
Recently, the U.S. has moved to deregulate several varieties of GE crops. However, these decisions fail to take into account several scientifically-validated environmental concerns, such as the indiscriminate nature of genetically modified gene flow in crops, a heavy reliance on faulty data and a high degree of uncertainty in making safety determinations. They also overlook the problem of pesticide-resistant weeds and insects, as well as the widespread corruption of conventional seed varieties by GE strains and documented severe economic injury to farmers and markets. Overlooked as well are possible health consequences from eating GE food, still largely unstudied and unknown.
Fortunately, GE crops are not permitted in organic food production. For more information about why organic is the right choice, see our Organic Food: Eating with a Conscience Guide and visit the Organic Program page. For more information on the failure of genetically engineered food, read Genetically Engineered Food Failed promises and hazardous outcomes, from the Summer 2011 issue of Pesticides and You, or go to our Genetic Engineering Web page.
For more photos and videos of the event, follow the links below:
- Stop Monsanto from Poisoning Hawaii Protest June 28, 2012, by Mitsuko Hayakawa
- 120628 Monsanto protest by Hdoug50
- Monsanto Anti GMO Rally, by Diane Parker
- Monsanto Kunia Protest Video, by jwmacey
By Ilana Cohen
Four years ago, Jacob Abel cast his first presidential vote for Donald Trump. As a young conservative from Concord, North Carolina, the choice felt natural.
But this November, he plans to cast a "protest vote" for a write-in candidate or abstain from casting a ballot for president. A determining factor in his 180-degree turn? Climate change.
Fractures Among Young Climate Conservatives<p>While young conservatives have united around the urgency of climate change, they remain divided over how to bring their concerns to the ballot box. Some embrace right-wing <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/biden-attacks-republican-convention/2020/08/24/434e5b46-e66d-11ea-970a-64c73a1c2392_story.html" target="_blank">attacks</a> painting Biden as a "tool of the left" and find his climate agenda "radical." Others can't find a way to justify voting for Trump, even if it means breaking with their party.</p><p>Patrick Mann from Orange County, California, voted for Trump in 2016. But today, he's leading Aggies for Joe at Texas A&M University and is co-founder of Texas Students for Biden. </p><p>Mann grew up watching wildfires ravage his home state, nearly forcing his family to evacuate in 2017. The GOP is failing to "meet the moment" for climate action, Mann said. He's hoping Biden will deliver on a promise to "<a href="https://www.desmoinesregister.com/story/opinion/columnists/caucus/2020/01/06/joe-biden-democrat-president-iowa-caucus-restore-soul-our-nation/2806422001/" target="_blank">restore the soul of our nation</a>." </p><p>Taylor Walker from Pensacola, Florida, is also determined to make her voice heard on climate, including by casting her first-ever vote for president—but not for Biden.</p>
A False Equivalency<p>Young climate conservatives may fear climate denial and delayed climate action, but more than that, they fear the growing political momentum around the Green New Deal, the massive spending it entails and <a href="https://joebiden.com/climate-plan/" target="_blank">Biden's citing of it</a> as a "crucial framing for meeting the climate challenges we face."</p><p>Many don't want to split with their party to support a Democrat whose <a href="https://www.npr.org/2019/09/03/757220130/joe-biden-on-bipartisanship-gun-control-and-regrets-over-inaction-after-a-traged" target="_blank">allegedly bipartisan intentions</a> they doubt. If stymieing what they consider a radical green agenda means re-electing a climate change denying president, so be it. </p><p>"I'm scared of climate change, but I'm also scared of the Green New Deal and what it means for America," said Ben Mutolo, a republicEN spokesperson and junior at SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry. </p><p>Mutolo felt encouraged by former Ohio Governor John Kasich's <a href="https://www.rollcall.com/2020/08/17/kasich-speech-to-democratic-convention-follows-years-of-building-conservative-credentials/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">appearance</a> at the Democratic National Convention, but he still struggles to see himself voting for Biden. Though the candidate paints himself as a <a href="https://www.latimes.com/politics/story/2020-08-12/harris-biden-different-generation-similar-political-instinct" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">centrist,</a> Mutolo believes he's "cozying up to the ultra-progressive left." </p><p>Mutolo, who wants to see market-based climate solutions like a carbon tax, feels torn between a candidate whose climate plan relies on taking an "<a href="https://joebiden.com/environmental-justice-plan/#" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">All-of-Government approach</a>," and one with no efforts to reign in global warming at all. <span></span></p><p>Leiserowitz said he appreciated how a conservative might feel Biden's climate plan "doesn't jive with their limited government, free-market approach."</p><p>But he sees a strong distinction between voting for a presidential candidate with a <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/14/us/politics/biden-climate-plan.html" target="_blank">$2 trillion climate plan</a> that includes large renewable energy investments, which have <a href="https://climatecommunication.yale.edu/publications/politics-global-warming-april-2020/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">bipartisan support</a>, and a candidate trying "to take the country in the opposite direction, towards more fossil fuels."</p>
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Toxins in water produced by cyanobacteria was likely responsible for more than 300 elephant deaths in Botswana this year, the country's wildlife department announced on Monday.
How Did Cyanobacteria Poison the Elephants?<p>Cyanobacteria are microscopic organisms common in water and sometimes found in soil. Some cyanobacteria produce neurotoxins.</p><p>The cyanobacteria "was growing in pans" or watering holes, the principal veterinary officer of the Department of Wildlife and National Parks, Mmadi Reuben, told reporters.</p><p>Reuben said the deaths had "stopped towards the end of June 2020, coinciding with the drying of pans."</p><p>"However we have many questions still to be answered such as why the elephants only and why that area only? We have a number of hypotheses we are investigating," added Reuben.</p><p>Similar elephant deaths have also been recorded in neighboring Zimbabwe.</p>
Climate Change to Blame?<p>Not all cyanobacteria are toxic but scientists say varieties dangerous to humans and animals are occurring more frequently as climate change drives up global temperatures.</p><p>Southern Africa's temperatures are rising at twice the global average, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.</p>
Elephant Paradise?<p>Africa's overall elephant population is declining due to poaching. But Botswana, home to almost a third of the continent's elephants, has seen numbers grow to around 130,000.</p><p>Botswana's government said it was continuing studies into the occurrence of the deadly bacteria. In the winter, elephants hydrate themselves mainly by eating roots and bark, especially of the baobab tree.</p>
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