Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Musings: Dinosaurs

When I was a little girl my mother used to play Neil Diamond records, and one song that has remained stuck in my head all these years is "Brother Love's Traveling Salvation Show.”

It came to mind when I received an email about anti-GMO crusader Jeffrey Smith's Hawaii tour later this week, which comes on the heels of a similar circuit taken by anti-atrazine researcher Tyrone Hayes, who is speaking tomorrow night on Kauai.

On the poster, Smith is described as “one of the most saught [sic] after, internationally recognized voices of GMO Truth.” One of his Maui talks is pitched as “an event of truth and facts,” while the other is described as “A Day of GMO Truth.” Curiously, no such claim is made for his Kauai appearance, which is listed simply as a “GMO community talk.”

And I thought, how can you possibly pretend you are serving up truth when you are presenting just one point of view? Which is when I was again reminded of how the anti-GMO movement has assumed all the self-righteous, one-way, one-truth fervor of the evangelicals — replete with swooning. I'll never forget the 2491 testimony of the lady who said she ate a GMO papaya “and fainted dead away.”

So it is clear now that in Hawaii, we will not be able to have a reasonable public discussion on this issue. We will not be able to publicly debate different sets of facts, varying versions of the truth. 

In the current socio-political milieu, you're either a true believer, or a heretic, with absolutely no middle ground allowed.

Meanwhile, real life continues in its many, often contradictory, shades of gray. Parking for Hayes' UH-Hilo talk was disrupted due to construction of a chemical storage building on campus. Dow, denounced as a demonic defiler, made the pesticide Vikane that was used this past week to treat a Singapore ant infestation on the Hokulea.

Billionaire Pierre Omidyar is blasted for bankrolling a dairy on Kauai, a project deemed unsustainable because the cows won't eat organic feed and the milk will be shipped to Oahu for processing. Billionaire Larry Ellis is lauded for using Lanai's scarce water to grow organic veggies that will be shipped to China and Japan.

Always, we are grouping into good-bad, right-wrong, us-them.

Which brings me to a blog post well-written by Luke Evslin, who has one of the more interesting minds on this island, largely because he actually uses it to think, instead of parrot or echo or regurgitate or deny. He wrote:

Since we can witness and measure an obvious environmental decline, then it only makes sense that the culprit is the way we currently run society.  That's our enemy.

There's only one problem; that's us. We embody the status-quo everytime we get into our car.  Everytime we ingest food that comes from a grocery store.  Everytime we put on a t-shirt.  Everytime we cast a vote for either a democrat or a republican.  But what else can we do?

We all can see it.  We all complain about it.  We all want to do something about it.  But that's as far as we can go.  We've failed at even approaching a solution because we are the problem.  We can't look to the Civil Rights movement and sit at a lunch counter in Birmingham or look to the Indian Nationalist movement and go on a hunger strike in a British prison.  The two most successful social movements of the last century had tangible enemies.  And non-violent resistance worked because of that.  As we perpetuate the greatest environmental crime (climate change) in history, we are our own enemy.  And there's nothing that we can do to divest ourselves.

So, back to my struggling question of last week, what now? How do we envision a different future? How do we change the system?

I certainly don't have all the answers, or maybe even any, but I think one place to start is to stop taking refuge in the “me good, you bad" bang-and blame duality mindset. All of us are the problem, and all of us can play a role in the solution.

Luke writes, correctly and coherently:

Our failure isn't caused by incessant growth or a reliance on technology. We are failing because capitalism can not adequately value the environment. There is an intrinsic worth to nature which can not be quantified.

Luisa Kolker, a shamanic healer I interviewed yesterday, added another piece:

We need to find ways to re-attune with our own inner wilderness.We've lost the empathic connection with ourselves, and with the Earth. Until we are in good relationship with ourselves, we will defile and violate nature.

Meanwhile, as astrologer Stephanie Azaria points out, there is a powerful metaphor currently at work as scientists uncover the ancient remains of the largest known animal to walk on Earth, a creature that was 65 feet high — equal to a seven-story building — and 130 feet long:

We all know what a dinosaur is, in esoteric talk. For those of you who don’t know, a dinosaur is a consciousness that is infused with the old, outdated way of being. The dictionary describes it this way: a person or thing that is outdated or has become obsolete because of failure to adapt to changing circumstances.

Dinosaurs, like the ruined remnants of fallen civilizations, remind us anew that we aren't too big to fail.

The choice is ours: work together to figure out how we can adapt ourselves and our civilization to fit the natural ecological constraints of this planet, or continue to pursue the dinosaur mindset of separation and polarization, cloaked in the false belief that some one of has a lock on “The Truth.”


Anonymous said...

We need to find ways to re-attune with our own inner wilderness.We've lost the empathic connection with ourselves, and with the Earth. Until we are in good relationship with ourselves, we will defile and violate nature. - best thing I've read in a while. This quote and this blog post. Thanks for sharing Joan, Luke, Luisa. Have a great day!

Anonymous said...

What is up with all this guilt you write about ? Environmental guilt.....technology guilt.....white man's guilt etc etc ? What is next. Original sin ?

Anonymous said...

The reason we do not fit into nature is we are GMOs. We were given a major upgrade so we could become good gold mining slaves. The gods that gave us civilization along with the upgrade needed the gold to chemtrail the atmosphere of their home planet, Nibiru. Global warming is really solar system warming, from the approaching dark twin of our star. It's geomagnetic effects warming the earths core as it passes into and through the inter solar system. Prepare for severe earth changes as it makes it's flyby. The New World Order, .01% cabal are prepared with their underground ark cities and FEMA camps for us.

Anonymous said...

Ultimately capitalism will direct the path. As Wallmart changes so does the USA. And Wallmart is changing.
Environmental change will be slow. Having some money makes it easier to make choices.
There have been "end of mankind" apocalypse theories going on since man could communicate.
How many since the 50s. Nuclear bomb end of earth, population end of earth, starvation etc.
Don't worry, relax. Everything will be all right.

Anonymous said...

Just to provide some background info, Jeffrey Smith does not have any scientific training whatsoever, he is a former ballroom dancer (and yogic flier), and the institute of responsible technology it's just him and his house. He has self published/produced anti-GMO videos and books, an activity that turned out to be very profitable for him.

Luke Kambic said...

Jeffrey Smith doesn't deserve to be mentioned in a sentence with Tyrone Hayes. Smith is an obnoxious fraud with no scientific credentials of any kind. Hayes is a hardworking scientist who's research has been published in top journals.

I wonder if the day will come when activists begin to oppose the study of certain sciences at universities. Inferring from some of the poisonous hysteria in the air at Hayes's lecture in Hilo last night, quite a few people think the whole field of synthetic chemistry is illegitimate as a human endeavor. I wonder how many of them knew that the lecture took place within a stone's throw of a small laboratory that produces transgenic plants. Black magic going down in Wentworth Hall!

Reps from Center for Food Safety were there to make their pitch. Their speaker was pointedly introduced as a "doctor", though her doctorate is in political science.

I tend to see humans and the things they do as part of nature, fraught with imperfections just like the rest of it. It would be nice if the folks who insist on a divide issued a set of detailed commandments specifying the boundaries that human ingenuity must never be allowed to cross. Then everyone would be able to see the cult-like thinking at work.

Anonymous said...

Then again, all of the greatest improvements to mankind has been thru science. Including, how for make one fire, li' dat.

Anonymous said...

And burn crosses on people's lawns, li' dat. It's all in the intention. Preservation of our modern way of life or preservation of life.

Anonymous said...

You want truth - or lack of it - go to Monsanto Hawai`i website. Words like sustainable, environmental friendly, share our work, transparent.
Both "sides" have their truth but you will find much more willingness by the environmentalists to work together. The chem companies have bullied every community in which they work.

Anonymous said...

Luke's well intended words focus on a couple of social movements. There have been many more. Social movements turn into political/economic power IE The Third Reich, Red China, USSR ( all small social movements started by Adolf, Mao and Vlad).
All of these movements started by targeting people who thought differently. Divide and conquer.
Ask yourself, who would you really like to see in charge of Kauai's destiny?
Rhetoric tossing million fistee shriekers or calm hands?
By the way, one hazardous chemical has saved more lives than all social agendas and medical techniques combined....Chlorinated Water.

Anonymous said...

1:29 pm Nice to read that someone realizes the truth behind "evolution" Yes we are all aliens .

Anonymous said...

travel and sustainability? how can?

Anonymous said...

LOVE this part! "Billionaire Pierre Omidyar is blasted for bankrolling a dairy on Kauai, a project deemed unsustainable because the cows won't eat organic feed and the milk will be shipped to Oahu for processing. Billionaire Larry Ellis is lauded for using Lanai's scarce water to grow organic veggies that will be shipped to China and Japan."

this obvious "DEEMED" exploitation from the rich class without concern as if their sterilized ethics are leveled for the benefit of their investments should be "BLASTED" continually. We all have a learned level of ethics although not static. How do you dare to rank my simple born lifestyle with the contempt the upper crust is perpetrating on our isle? Do i shed my clothing due to criminally produced in Vietnam by child labor? Does the Hokulea dred its decision to fight an infestation as an obvious partnering or giving in to the chem companies? Lumping chlorine in our water to atrazine in our food is another spear thrown just to see how far it sinks..
Slamming the whole is flame throwing in psuedo outrage for the sake of proving that you know nothing. MUCH rather fight the good fight with those striving to get a handle on how to better our isle instead of seated and useless, constantly pointing out how you "think" it is….solo opinion that is great to garner dialogue only.
Pierre, Monsanto, and the other elites say "green" "eco" "creating jobs" "Best practices for Kauai" to coerce the stool pigeons of their righteous design. Their concentration of wealth allows them to dominate the political discourse and political decision making and then they reinforce their own privilege. Please… dairy/neutered soy and corn/Kauakahiunu development benefit noone locally. Lots of spun twinkies out there expousing all kinds of delusions. Citizenship and character are not waning! go Get dirty, get real and get out there for the benefit of our future. Blue.red, purple shirts share plenty of similiar intentions. great stuff coming…optimism Joan

Anonymous said...

Mother Nature's truth is my truth. What we do to her will inevitably affect the whole which humans seem to forget we are a part of not separate from. It is the Kanaka Maoli mo'olelo of Haloa that tells us we are connected to the 'aina, it's a familial relationship one of give and take, of mutual respect, of aloha.

Anonymous said...

Tourism and sustainability? You're kidding.

Anonymous said...

Crichton: Environmentalism is a religion


Anonymous said...

Yeah, Crichton. Fear everything. Cloning gone wild (Jurassic Park). Doctors gone wild (Coma). Japan gone wild (Rising Sun). Environmentalists gone wild. Why didn't he write one about fundamentalists gone wild?

Anonymous said...

you do not magically become connected to the aina when you arrive