A friend and I were talking about Hawaii's anti-ag/anti-GMO movement. As in, why? What motivates them to lie, fear-monger and otherwise sow misery and create havoc in the lives of everyday farmers?
Well, there's “a,” the Realtor theory: If you proclaim that ag land is poisoned, then it can be sold cheaply. Which makes sense, considering that ag land is pretty much the only land left to sell, develop and speculate on in Hawaii.
Then there's “b,” the Rescue Game theory: Center for Food Safety, Earthjustice, Hawaii SEED, HAPA, etc., must identify and demonize a Persecutor (seed companies, big ag, GMOs, industrial ag) that is supposedly harming a Victim so that they can play the lucrative role of Rescuer. There's one main rule: the game must go on forever.
This explains a lot. Like why Earthjustice and CFS wrote crummy laws that were easily overturned by the courts, thus establishing state pre-emption and giving them another day and place — the Lege, this year – to fly their Rescue banner. All the while raking in grants and donations from the suckers who fall for the ploy and the philanthropists who enjoy the tax breaks.
Here's a perfect example from Gary Hooser, who likes to swing both ways, between Victim (“the chem companies drove me out of office, waah”) and Rescuer (“give money to my HAPA group”), with a bit of blustering bully thrown in:
The word circulating in activist circles now is that many are fed up with being shut down first by the courts and now the State legislature. Soon the so-called "nuclear option" (picketing of hotels and resorts) could be triggered. Already posts are showing up in Yelp and in other travel oriented comment sections warning pregnant women to avoid west Kauai, Moloka'i and parts of Maui.
And then there's “c,” the ideology as religion theory: These folks actually believe they are the chosen few, the Enlightened and Awakened “protectors” and “aloha aina warriors” who will lead a sorely misled, “industrialized” society back to the Garden of Eden, where it's all G, and never is heard a discouraging word (save from the Rescuers looking for Victims and Persecuters):
See? I'm not making stuff up. (Even though they are; there is no "terminator" technology.)
I think it's actually “d,” as in all of the above, with opportunists and messiahs latching on and crossing over wherever they can gain a self-aggrandizing foothold. Most recently, I saw the epitome of “c” — with touches of “b” — expressed in a UN “Report of the Special Rapporteur on the right to food.” It blames ag pesticides for numerous ills (while remaining mum about pesticides used in conservation, public health, construction, etc.) and calls for banning their use in agriculture.
Indeed, it claims neither pesticides nor GMOs are needed to feed the Earth's billions. That will be done solely through small-scale, localized, organic farming — or more broadly, “agroecology.” Or more accurately, by the planet's poorest people, who will be left to suffer hunger when their crops are destroyed by pests, and impoverish women and children, who miss school and other opportunities so they can handweed.
Tellingly, it's co-authored by Hilal Elver and Baskut Tuncak, both international law professors — not people who actually engage in agriculture. An akamai friend described it thusly:
It’s the UN system at its worst, entirely captured by NGOs and publishing pseudo-scientific ideological tirades masquerading as serious analysis. This is totally dependent on grey literature, NGO sources and cherrypicked studies.
To me, it read like the gospel of what is apparently an international religion (though clearly centered in the privileged West), which is why I've likened the anti-GMO activists in Hawaii to missionaries.
Curiously, they fetishize family farms — even as they support bills, like HB790, that would drive Hawaii's small farmers right out of business.
While there are aspects of agroecology, and even the UN report, that make sense —
yes, let's do have better pesticide education around the world — the problem is one common to most religions: It isThe One Way, with no room for compromise, other approaches, differing points of view, or freedom of choice; and it is based primarily on belief, as opposed to science and evidence.
And then there's the whole lying, distorting, making stuff up part. Like how pesticides aren't regulated or tested. There's no proof GMO foods are safe. We can feed 9 billion with the same practices that barely fed 1 million. Etcetera, etcetera, ad nauseum.
If you can't advance your religion without lies, is it really righteous, pure and pono? If the leaders are corrupt, aren't they then tainting their acolytes? And most importantly, do we truly want religious dogmatists, Rescue Gamers, real estate scammers and attorneys in charge of our agricultural lands and food supply?
If your answer is no, then contact your Hawaii elected representatives today and ask them to vote no on HB790 when it comes up for a floor vote on Thursday. Though it's billed as a simple “right to know” bill mandating pesticide disclosure, it is actually far more — and extremely dangerous to local agriculture.
Its provisions allow each county to decide if a farmer can use pesticides, what pesticides, and where they can be used, and take part of a farm that uses pesticides out of production.
Its disclosure requirements are Draconian, requiring farmers to provide written notification — 24 hours in advance of every single application of every pesticide — to each individual adult student and each individual parent of a child in a school, child care facility, early childhood education and care facility, family child care home, group child care center, or group child care home; each individual patient of a hospital, adult residential care home, assisted living facility, child care facility, early childhood education and care facility, family child care home, group child care center, group child care home, hospice home, extended care adult residential care home, expanded adult residential care home, health care facility, and primary care clinic; and anyone occupying any residential property within eight hundred feet of the property line where any pesticide or insecticide is anticipated to be applied outdoors.
What's more, citizens can sue farmers if they think they're violating the law. And since they will have all of the details of every application, they can sue on a technicality, or a manufactured health concern, with the farmer picking up their attorneys’ fees and costs if they win. Or merely suffering through hell if they don't.
These are some serious stakes. This bill is way over-the-top, and it must be stopped. If you truly support agriculture in Hawaii, now is the time to show it. Contact your elected Representative — this link will take you to their names and contact info — today.