Last night I went out and looked up to see a fattening half moon surrounded by a golden halo, the kind you find in pictures of saints, and next to it, a fiery dot — Mars. The sight served as a reminder of the great planet action in store for us this month. And then this morning, rainbows and a 5-gallon bucket full of gardenias, just in time for May Day. Make like a bee and Occupy flowers!
Some have called for a May 1st general strike — no work, no school, no shopping. I can understand the “no shopping” bit, since our consumer culture is directly linked to fattening corporate coffers and crashing ecosystems. A new study correlates “above-trend world GDP with greater increases in CO2 concentrations,” prompting one of the authors to state:
“If ‘business as usual’ conditions continue, economic contractions the size of the Great Recession or even bigger will be needed to reduce atmospheric levels of CO2,” says Tapia Granados, who is a researcher at the U-M Institute for Social Research (ISR).
Which is why we ain't gonna be reducing atmospheric levels of CO2. Because people want not just business as usual, but even more robust business than usual.
Meanwhile, it's business as usual in terms of the mainstream media reporting bogus stories. I'm specifically referencing two recent pieces about Hanalei: a Hawaii News Now report about native water birds supposedly destroying the taro there, and yesterday's front page story in The Garden Island about toxic heavy metals in the river and bay.
I'll start with toxins piece. It was based on information from Terry Lilley, who seems to share the Kardashian's love of publicity, even if it means he has to manufacture threats. In this case, he claims his organization — whose board is led by boatyard owner Michael Sheehan — financed a mud study that found high levels of arsenic, barium, chromium and lead. This prompted Terry, a self-proclaimed marine biologist with no credentials or training, to sound the alarm:
“We have a major problem that needs to be fixed.”
Dr. Carl Berg, a bonafide marine biologist who regularly conducts water sampling around the island, responded to Terry with an email that read, in part:
2. These values are lower than those reported in the scientific paper done by USGS and myself way back in 2001 which you should have read by now (attached) and quoted. We looked at water, sediment and tissues for a wide range of metals and organic compounds.
3. Our values were below toxicity levels of ecological concern.
4.They were below EPA "probable adverse effects level" for aquatic organisms. Your single values are even less.
And Maka`ala Ka`aumoana, executive director of the Hanalei Watershed Hui, sent out an email stating:
The Hanalei Watershed Hui has confirmed with Hawaii Department of Health Environmental Health Administration Deputy Director, Gary Gill (586-4424), that the analysis report of recent sampling in the Hanalei area as reported by Mr. Terry Lilley appears to reflect “background levels” of these substances often found in the environment in Hawaii.
And then there was the similarly shibai taro piece. It has Rodney Haraguchi, who pays just $25 per acre to farm in the Hanalei National Wildlife Refuge, blaming endangered native water birds for crop losses. Rodney regularly makes this claim, threatening taro eaters with higher prices if something isn't done.
But since he's Japanese, and supports GMO taro, he doesn't hold much sway with the Hawaiian community. For this he trotted out Haunani Pacheco, who claims her family has been farming taro for 100 years. Well, Haunani also happens to be married to Gary, who serves on the board of Rodney's historic rice mill, so she's not exactly an impartial source.
Never mind that Rodney could go farm at Mahaulepu if he doesn't like the refuge, or that his own heavy chem operations and the winter floods might have something to do with his crop losses.
And there's absolutely no mention at all that the perennial taro shortage is most likely due to the fact that many acres of viable taro land lie fallow because no will or can them. This includes the loi behind the Hanalei Shopping Center, where nearly all the farmers were inexplicably evicted by Hanalei Poi on behalf of the Wilcox family. Now fertile loi that once produced copious amounts of taro is overgrown with trash trees. And Rodney never said a word while all this was going down.
Yeah, just blame it on the birds. Cause we all know humans can't be at fault.
Forget the streets and the banks. Occupy da `aina.