Out walking the beach behind Coconut Markeplace, in that time between night and dawn. All the hotel pools are lit up, though it's Newell's shearwater season, and the pre-dawn, post-dusk times are when they're the most vulnerable to light attraction. And why the hell do they need to illuminate their pools all night, anyway?
On the beach, tourists stand and sit, cameras in hand, waiting to record the birth of the sun, but in the meantime, they're watching the sleek black head of a monk seal, bobbing as it traverses the shoreline, in shallow water, looking to come ashore.
When it does, it's rushed by the tourists, intent on recording the event. It takes one look at the throng, turns around and flees toward the sea. You guys, I tell the tourists, it's trying to come ashore so it can rest, and now you've scared it off. It's actually illegal to approach the seals.
They give me the 'fuck you' look and I trudge on, morning walk ruined now by the growling in my head, the seal well ahead of me, attempting once again to land, only to meet the same fate, and then I see it heading out to deeper waters.
The feral cats, meanwhile, are lining up near the oceanfront units, obviously accustomed to hand outs.
So where is the education, the enforcement? Where are the environmental groups?
Oh, they're busy trying to take down fishing and farming, which they have deemed some huge threat. Kauai Sierra Club's Judy Dalton is advocating for trap-neuter-release and feral cat colonies, though certainly she must know they prey on native birds, like the shoreline nesting wedgetails, and the taxoplasmosis in their doo-doo has killed monk seals.
Over on Oahu, Sierra Club director Marti Townsend is protesting against the hiring practices of the longline fishing fleet, taking a slightly different tack than the unceasing lawsuits filed by its lawfirm, Earthjustice, but all working toward a common goal: destroy the fishing industry. She's quoted as saying:
“It’s really about strict regulations and third party oversight. Everything that’s happening on these boats is legal. It’s just immoral.”
If the Hawaii Sierra Club is so worried about morality, why has it aligned with fear-mongerers and liars, like the Hawaii Center for Food Safety, Gary Hooser's HAPA (of which Marti's hubby, Ikaika, is a board member) and dishonest people like the University of Hawaii's Hector Valenzuela, who is using his job and public funds to rally against GMOs?
As the Genetic Literacy Project reports, Hector told PR Watch (in an article co-written by paid anti-GMO activist Paul Koberstein) this wild lie:
I am not an anti-GMO person, and I have never served as a spokesman for any anti-GMO group.
Yeah, it's just a coincidence that he shows up at all the anti-GMO rallies. Like, as the GLP points out, a protest organized by Occupy Monsanto, in which he addressed the crowd.vGLP continues:
Valenzuela also appears to be actively engaged with Babes Against Biotech, plastering their posters on his office door.
And even as Hector whines and moans about the ongoing harassment and intimidation supposedly directed at him — while never actually filing a formal grievance — it turns out Hector had compiled (using his UH email account) a 32-page dossier on Kevin Folta, the University of Florida horticulture chair and science educator. GLP reports:
Much of the information was cherry-picked from comments made by Folta on social media and blog posts going back several years. GMO Free USA appears to have used a lot of Valenzuela’s information to create memes encouraging its followers to harass Folta. Quite often notes appear to have been taken verbatim from Valenzuela’s dossier and posted to GMO Free USA without disclosure.
In the classic hypocrtical style of the antis, they even called on the University of Florida to fire Folta, using a made-up allegation and branding him a liar:
And call the university, they did. According to Fusion.net, “the university was so inundated with requests to fire Folta that it changed his office number and asked the FBI’s Domestic Terrorism Task Force to remain on alert.”
The harassment did not stop at just complaints to his university. The blog Skeptical Raptor described how ruthless some of these people were. In one email that Folta received, the writer described the location of where the Professor’s wife liked to bike, terrorizing her enough to become afraid of staying home alone. They even went to Craigslist:
One of the most vile personal attacks was from some cowardly and anonymous Craigslist poster who invoked Dr. Folta’s deceased mother to attack Folta’s reputation. And used childish and ridiculous language like calling him a “Monsanto whore.”
Professor Folta wasn’t surprised to learn of Valenzuela’s involvement:
He can’t take on science in the spirit of acceptable scholarship, so he gets in line with vile activists to defame legitimate scientists. I heard him on the radio on Kauai. I could not believe I was hearing someone claiming to represent a Land Grant University and a science-based perspective. He was pushing claims we know are not supported by evidence.
Yet somehow Marti and the Sierra Club and Earthjustice and Hawaii Center for Food Safety have drawn a line that places themselves among the “vile activists” — with their lies, intimidation, fear-mongering and overheated rhetoric — on the side of morality, and the fishing fleet and conventional farmers among the immoral.
I still don't get it.
While we're talking about the self-proclaimed moralists and Messiahs:
Yeah. Everybody better Realize what's going on here!!
But it ain't what Dustin thinks.
Ah. Just another day in paradise.