The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!
Petition Launched to Halt GMO Production, Pesticide Use in Hawaii
A Maui Citizens Group is asking Hawaiians to sign a petition released on Monday that would give voters the choice of whether or not to temporarily suspend the production of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) on Hawaii's second-largest island, reports Reuters.
Photo courtesy of Shutterstock
The group said its temporary moratorium initiative seeks the crop production suspension until the completion of an environmental and public health impact study, which examines the effects of widespread testing of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and associated pesticide use.
The only thing standing in the way of a public GMO vote is the collection of 8,500 signatures by March 31, according to The Garden Island, a newspaper located in Lihue, HI.
The initiative is part of a larger battle gaining momentum in the U.S. and other countries between critics who say GMO crops and the toxic pesticides used on them contribute to health and environmental dangers and those who argue genetically engineering crops are essential to increasing global food production.
In Maui, groundwater is already heavily contaminated with pesticides, said the citizens group, led by Mark Sheehan and Lorrin Pang, in a prepared statement. Hawaiian islands are a popular experimentation and testing ground for biotech crops for many companies due to an ideal year-round climate, he added.
“The Agro-chemical companies have effectively turned Hawaii into their own outdoor laboratory, which they operate with impunity.” said Sheehan. “On Kauai, for example, a documented correlation has been made between rising levels of pesticide application and rising incidences of birth defects. That throws the safety of the entire [genetic engineering] operation into question, which brings the ‘Precautionary Principle’ to bear.”
In a recent poll, 54 percent of Maui County citizens said they favored a temporary moratorium which would place the burden on GMO crop growers like Monsanto to prove that their practices and pesticides are safe, according to Sheehan.
“We were surprised,” said Sheehan to The Garden News. “We were impressed.”
He added the moratorium would force Monsanto and the other companies to halt their practices until they publicly share data and research that scientifically proves what they are doing on Maui is not harmful to the public.
Another Island Battle Brewing
A coalition of residents on the neighboring island of Kauai, and the Center for Food Safety (CFS) and Earthjustice, filed papers in U.S. District Court in Honolulu to intervene as defendants in a court case defending a new pesticide disclosure law passed in Kauai, reports Reuters.
DuPont, Syngenta and Agrigenetics Inc., a company affiliated with Dow AgroSciences, and BASF are suing to block the law that limits pesticide and GMO crop use on the island.
The chemical companies argue the Kauai law, approved by island leaders in November, is unconstitutional.
The Kauai bill forces large agricultural companies to fully disclose pesticide use and GMO crop plantings while establishing buffer zones around schools, homes and hospitals.
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
Spaghetti with plastic sauce? That's what you might be eating if you pour one of three flavors of Ragú sauce over your pasta.
Mizkan America, the food company that owns Ragú, announced Saturday that it was voluntarily recalling some Chunky Tomato Garlic & Onion, Old World Style Traditional and Old World Style Meat sauces because they might be contaminated with plastic fragments, The Today Show reported.
by Jordan Davidson
Taking action to stop the mercury from rising is a matter of life and death in the U.S., according to a new study published in the journal Science Advances.
By Alisa Opar
For Chinook salmon, the urge to return home and spawn isn't just strong — it's imperative. And for the first time in more than 65 years, at least 23 fish that migrated as juveniles from California's San Joaquin River and into the Pacific Ocean have heeded that call and returned as adults during the annual spring run.
By Jessica Corbett
Dozens of students, parents, teachers and professionals joined a Friday protest organized by Extinction Rebellion that temporarily stalled morning rush-hour traffic in London's southeasten borough of Lewisham to push politicians to more boldly address dangerous air pollution across the city.
Jose A. Bernat Bacete / Moment / Getty Images
By Bridget Shirvell
On a farm in upstate New York, a cheese brand is turning millions of pounds of food scraps into electricity needed to power its on-site businesses. Founded by eight families, each with their own dairy farms, Craigs Creamery doesn't just produce various types of cheddar, mozzarella, Swiss and Muenster cheeses, sold in chunks, slices, shreds and snack bars; they're also committed to becoming a zero-waste operation.