I got to wondering, when I saw the New York Times article about the California farmer who developed a Frankenstein pumpkin, how he would have fared on Kauai, under Councilman Tim Bynum's bill to raise land taxes on experimental crops.
The farmer experimented for years, and spent about $400,000, before he mastered the technique of growing his “pumpkinsteins” in plastic molds. This year he grew about 5,500 "pumpkin steins," and they're wholesaling for $75 each. Now that's the kind of innovative, value-added product that would make any farmer drool.
But under an ag land tax proposal — advanced by Bynum and Councilman Gary Hooser to punish the seed companies — he'd be seriously dinged for experimenting on a non-edible crop, even though it was organically grown.
And I got to wondering what would have happened to that pumpkin farmer if he hadn't been able to experiment, seeing as how, according to the NYT:
For more than a decade, he mostly lost money as a small organic farmer, growing kale, lettuce, berries, tomatoes and whatever else he could on the fertile ground, selling primarily to nearby organic markets.
Then I got to wondering whether the eco-advantages of growing those fancy pumpkins organically were offset, even negated, by the environmental cost of producing those 5,500 plastic molds. Which got me wondering whether the eco-advantages of organic cultivation are also lost when that pretty produce is tucked into a non-recyclable clamshell and flown from South America to Kauai for the virtuous to purchase at Papaya's.
Which got me wondering about the recent letter to the editor from Ned Whitlock, the one intended to induce more fear by claiming women who lived within a mile of fields where organophosphates are used have a 60 percent higher chance of having kids with autism, based on an apparently flawed study; the one that singled out only the seed companies for their use of such products, as if, by some miracle, they don't have the same effect when applied to a golf course, or a park; the one that ended with a call for “the county to levy a stiff tax (100 percent?) on restricted use pesticides and glyphosate products, while urging our legislators to ban chlorpyrifos pronto.”
What I wondered was whether Ned and those who reprinted his letter on Facebook with the comment, “let's get rid of those companies, nuff already,” had heard about Judge Kurren's ruling, the one that found the county does not have the authority to regulate pesticides, much less boot out an agricultural operation.
I got to wondering how it is that they still don't understand the ramifications of Bill 2491, that they gambled and lost with a legally flawed bill and now pre-emption is codified and the county's hands are seriously tied until Kurren's ruling is overturned, which is, at best, a very long shot.
I got to wondering how it is they still think Gary and Tim are heroes when they accomplished nothing but clarifying the county can't do shit when it comes to the seed companies and their use of pesticides, which got me wondering how it is that people can be so deluded, in such denial.
Which got me wondering how any thinking, conscious, moral person could possibly support Dustin Barca's mayoral candidacy, especially when he flat-out lied at Tuesday's candidate forum, claiming no one ever wanted to shut down the seed companies, when his very own website lists campaigns that include “evict Monsanto” and "GMO-Free Kauai," and at the previous forum, he said:
For me, I have no personal gain from going after these companies except for the health and well-being of the future of our people and our natural resources. So, 500 jobs is not worth 70,000 people’s health and well-being.
Later I got to wondering how it is that people are still bemoaning the lack of action on climate change when all of us, including me, are loathe to give up our cars, our AC, our travel, our worldwide shipment of goods, our ravenous appetites. Who, exactly, is supposed to reverse the trend of carbon emissions if not each and every one of us? And why is it, I wondered, that people think marching in the streets — especially when one must fly or drive to a protest — is an effective way of demanding action when we citizens are so reluctant to change our own behavior, our own lifestyles, even when we know how much is at stake?
Then I got to wondering why people are so frigging freaked out about Ebola, which has killed just 4,447 people worldwide, when in 2011, some 73,831 Americans died from diabetes, a disease that is largely preventable and treatable, according to the CDC, and 596,577 died from heart disease, also largely preventable, and 39,518 died from suicide, totally preventable.
Just today I got an email from Avaaz urging people to volunteer for health care in Africa with this alarmist call to action:
If Ebola spirals further out of control, it could soon threaten us all. This monster threatens the entire world.
Out of the darkest places come our brightest lights. Out of the depths of the Ebola nightmare, let's bring the light of a new world of one people, connected through love, and willing to fight, and sacrifice, for each other.
It sounded an awful lot like the call to action that urged folks to fight GMOs, a "one love" movement that was supposedly seeded with aloha, yet sowed divisiveness, polarization, death threats and hate.
And that got me wondering why Ebola (and GMOs) are getting so much more media play — including TGI's super silly story on the Ebola transport plane landing in Kauai — than diabetes or heart disease or suicides.
I mean, it seems rather bizarre, considering folks are far more likely to die of almost anything but Ebola, even in Africa, where an estimated 627,000 people — most of them children — died from malaria in 2012, a disease that is both preventable and curable.
Which got me wondering, maybe people just like to be scared?