Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Musings: So Comfortable

It's moving into a full moon this evening, and the Internet is down this morning, so this will be a brief post, powered by my personal hot spot — a handy smart phone feature when your high-speed DSL provider is the frequently crippled Hawaiian Tel and you suffer, as I do, from an internet addiction.

I wanted to bring two things to your attention. The first is a response from Chris Jaeb of Common Ground replying point-by-point to the criticism directed toward him in a recent post. I think what really struck me were his comments related to the economics of farming on Kauai, which prompted his decision to put Common Ground on the market:

CJ -- We had a farm payroll of approximately $10,000 per month and were losing $4,000/month on ag operations alone. This included an ag leader and three workers. When you factor in a 40-hour work week before overtime kicks in, benefits, vacation pay, health insurance, and all applicable taxes it is not easy to make farming work on Kauai. Very few farmers on Kauai have use profits from ag as their sole source of income. Looking back, I was na├»ve to think the numbers would work straight up. We are now resetting with our ag program and going to start at a size that is economically sustainable. The next phase of CG ag operations will be economically viable.
CG was put up for sale because I realize my vision for a full on health and wellness and sustainable resource environment may not be economically viable here. Feel like my time would be better spent in where the economic headwinds are not so large, namely the high cost of high housing, labor, fuel, electricity, food, etc.

And there you have it folks. Even someone who came here with millions is struggling to make an organic farm go. Agriculture is a tough row to hoe on Kauai, which is partly why we have the multi-national chemical companies growing seed from Lihue to Mana.
But it's deeper than farming, or even land. It's about the prevailing consciousness, which is imbued with a deluded sense of what it will take to change course, an ignorance of how deeply we are all participating in the system — right down to the Round-up Ready corn that's made into the ethanol that's in the gasoline that's transporting folks to their GMO-free zones.
Which leads me to a thoughtful full moon report by Jon Waldrup, that expresses so well my sense of where we're at right now as a species:
The question is really whether or not we still want to live on planet Earth, or maybe it’s just better to live on planet Market? Planet Market seems really easier – smooth technology, homogenous persona of intelligent choicemakers, easily identifiable social stratigraphy and boundaries… those kinds of things that make the challenge more about what than why. And we’ve said yes to that for a very long time.

For me the choice is really between the existing, dominant and growing-in-power spiritually sterile culture and a way of being that is alive with birdsong and the stomping dusty feet of women gathered to feed each other renewal.
I am not a luddite, but I am aware of a kind of laziness that pervades our culture. We’d rather not sweat. What if a mosquito bites me? It’s keeping so many of us indoors.
How long has it been since you’ve had a blister – on your hand, from shoveling maybe; or on your foot, from walking?
There are so many little lids on, but in this country, it’s about comfort.
And we’re in the part of the passage where we can still decide not to go all the way. We can still say yes to that easy-yet-dead way.
And so we have to remember why we are willing to continue into this unfamiliar, uncomfortable territory.
Personally, it’s just so hard to remember… “keep stretching the boundaries of belief. Remember, you chose to be here to open a new way. Remember, we are a species.”
And as Bruce Lipton puts it, “Nature is not concerned with the best human, nature is concerned with humanity.” So we’re giving birth to new selves focused on being part of that, rather than selves so caught in the I.
There is a force that would like to keep humanity and nature separate. I’m not sure why. I think it has to do with the concentration of wealth. And I think this force is very effective at making it seem so uncomfortable to recall the sacredness of the Earth. So effective at making cubicles and sweatshop clothing and perfect little markets seem so much better than sweat and blisters and dirty fingernails.
When you realize your belief creates your world, then you have some choices to make. Worldviews create worlds. Give birth to something really beautiful.


Anonymous said...

Sow some seeds, organic, untreated open pollinated ones, and celebrate .

Anonymous said...

CJ of CG is right, so much easier to throw stones or tear down than to build up.

Anonymous said...

Right on, Joan! Wow, what a shocking revelation: that economics actually does matter (except if you have too much money and/or time on your hands)!

I just love the attitudes of the patronizing, hypocritical elitists, including the medical community, regarding the right-to-know issue. Are drugs all that different from pesticides? Are drugs harmless if used in sub-efficacious dosages? Will they have long-term effects on the patient, even if used according to the label, in the "proper" dosage? Do drugs "poison" you if used in over-doses? Do drugs end up in our drinking water? Should the medical community report how many and what types of drugs are used in the community? Are they prescribing too may drugs? Where is the scrutiny? If physicians are actually seeing/treating cases of people being affected by pesticides, why aren't they reporting it to the Health Department? Isn't it their duty to be documenting them, rather than run "anecdotally significance" up the flag pole? Is the Health Dept. ready and willing to contribute to the verification and documentation of reported pesticide mishaps? Shouldn't they?

Does our medical community on Kauai really still support the Seralini study?

Do we still believe Vandana Shiva's claim that farmers in India committed suicide over Monsanto's BT corn?

Do we still believe that Monsanto v. Bowman is unjust?

Do we still believe that GE technology doesn't produce more food? Do we believe that even if it does more food, we shouldn't do it because we only would be accommodating a larger population, so we should just let "them" starve now, so we can have more for "our" selves?

Do we believe that we should not use GE products for medical purposes, such as for diabetes or strokes (among many others)?

Should the medical community on Kauai not use anti-coagulants, such as warfarin, a rat poison, to treat thrombosis?

Do we believe that driving an electric (and/or hybrid) car on Kauai really leave a smaller carbon footprint? How is it charged? Do we purchased these sort of vehicles because it is truly more economical, or only because of the huge tax credits?

Do we used pesticides in our homes to treat for pests? Have you ever tented your home for termites or other critters?

Are the proponents of organic farming actually doing it themselves, in such large numbers? Funny thing is that less than 2% of the population are farmers, but judging from testimonies, all of a sudden, Kauai self-reportingly has about 50% farmers! Wow, we should all be be well on our way to being self-sufficient,then, shouldn't we?

I love the vision of 50 organic farms, 20-acres apiece on the westside, but that's only 1000 acres. What happens to the other 19,000 acres? Develop hotels? Good farmers--particularly, but not limited to organic ones--are the scarcest of resources, particularly on Kauai.

So, is Chris Jaeb's situation such a shocking revelation--that economics matters, and that having to provide decent wages and healthy and sanitary conditions for workers all that difficult? Should we ask of the largest "organic" farmers on Kauai to disclose their wage/health/benefit packages, and sanitation procedures for their workers, as well as pesticide usage and pesticide personal protection equipment provided to workers?

How is the county going to finance, monitor, enforce Bill #2491? Or doesn't economics matter?

Anonymous said...

It makes me think of all the Air Conditioning and Remote Controlled Swimming Pools I hooked up on the north shore and Poipu as an electrician.

What a waste of resources!

Anonymous said...

To 11;44
Kind of makes you a hypocrite, doesn't it?
Did you not make at least a few bucks installing those AC and swimming pool electronics?
Save the resources and go pump gas!

Anonymous said...

A hypocrite? Or someone who has seen the light?

11:42 good point on the docs and meds. pharm and chem corps go together.

Anonymous said...

Personally, I'm living La Dolce Vita on Planet Market.

I did get a blister constructing an arbor over my hot tub overlooking the vast Pacific, though.

Costco, Safeway, KTA, Wal-Mart, Home Depot, Lowes and Longs Drugs (for booze)are all I need to remain blissfully mellow, enjoying the quiet rhythms of easy country living having learned to be content doing very little, slowly.

Good food...good booze...more money rolling in than I need...Planet Market has been very, very good to me.

Anonymous said...

Sure is funny how govt. functions. It stays out of the way of GMO's and large corporate entities while taxing, regulating, and policing us to death. Ever feel like your getting the short end of the stick?

Oh, by the way, this is true of all development. A construction worker only works on a project for a limited time. Ever try to go swimming in some of these private or hotel cement ponds?

County needs to be charging way more property tax for these huge properties.

Anonymous said...

"How is the county going to finance, monitor, enforce Bill #2491? Or doesn't economics matter?

August 20, 2013 at 11:42 AM"

Raise property taxes, hire chemists and biologists. Economics? At least 2491 will increase the demand for chemists and biologists.

Anonymous said...

"Raise property taxes, hire chemists and biologists.'

Oh that's rich! Let the mayor hire his cousins and supporters as chemists and biologists.

Anonymous said...

We cant even hire people who know how to inspect tvr's or how to look at a balance sheet and figure out that half of your 5 milion dollars in the budget goes to buses picking up one person and driving them around for a couple hours and then taking them home. Then they want more money to hire someone else to do your job and they get it. The county needs to get their house in order and fix issues that we already have laws for.

Anonymous said...

The county is BROKEN because they have too many friends and family dummies in county positions.

One of the biggest dummy is on council.

I don't know how can any of the family and friends could be proud of this crash dummy character.

What an embarrassment! I would like pay to shimyarites council member and last yr council member in a 3rd grade spelling bee contest.


Anonymous said...

That last comment was SENSELESS

Anonymous said...

I wonder how many of the commenters on this blog vote in any of our elections? the old saying goes "If you are not part of the solution-you are part of the problem"-so if you haven't made your voices known at the voting booth during our elections or written to our County officials, or testified at a hearing then you are part of the problem...

Anonymous said...

Jaeb is full of shit. He got the commercial permits on ag land and now he's selling. He got exactly what he wanted.

Anonymous said...

Many developers with millions to throw around know which planners and commissioners will give them what they want. That's all. Old story: follow the money.

He's just spreading around what he's got plenty of. Plus the manure. So quit sniveling.