Tags Archives: Pesticides

Visit the global Pesticides archives for posts from all DGR sites.

Pesticides in paradise: how do we fight back?

The problem of pesticides

The islands of Hawai’i, especially Kauai, are frequently described as “ground zero” for GMOs. As an unwilling host to parasitic chemical agriculture, the land is bombarded with pesticides and chemicals at concentrations unseen in most other places; the test and seed crops grown by agribusiness can be dosed at much higher levels than crops meant to be eaten. The effects on the aina and its people are predictable: sterilization of the soil, massive pollution of the waters, and widespread negative impacts on human health. Though much of this harm is inherent to agriculture, even organic agriculture, the severity is drastically worse in these modern operations.

Indirect action

Legal response

Residents on Kauai, Maui, and the Big Island responded by passing laws reducing the harm the chemical companies are allowed to inflict on us, but this has two big drawbacks:

  1. It operates from a framework of limiting, but still permitting, the companies to poison and destroy life, rather than establishing a normative expectation of healthy landbases and sustainable operations, with all actions evaluated against that.
  2. It doesn’t proactively address the constitutional structure in place in the US, deliberately set up to facilitate corporate extraction of resources. Under the hierarchy of preemption, local municipalities are explicitly denied the power to enforce protections stricter than those allowed by the state and federal governments. Unsurprisingly, agribusiness immediately used the court system to strike down most of the restrictions fought for and won by the people.

Symbolic response

Photo: Pasha Yushin | OrganicHawaii.org

Photo: Pasha Yushin | OrganicHawaii.org

The response by the people in early August was the “Aloha Aina Unity March” through the streets of Honolulu to protest the diverse manifestations of civilization in the islands, including pesticides, the TMT construction project, lack of home rule, and militarization. Though it roused an impressive turnout of 10,000, this sort of symbolic protest is unlikely to be effective without organization into a credible threat to those in power. Simply asking them nicely to do the right thing won’t get us anywhere.

Direct confrontation

CELDF

A more strategic approach via the legal system is offered by the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF). They help localities draft bills declaring and enforcing the rights of communities and of nature against corporations. Their tactics expect and leverage legal challenges to the passage of such bills, using any pushback to highlight the undemocratic nature of our system, galvanizing and radicalizing further opposition. A CELDF representative visited multiple islands in 2013, presenting their strategy and offering assistance if a group on the ground wanted to put forward a bill or initiative. That remains as a promising possibility if anyone wants to organize towards it.

Deep Green Resistance

transmission-sabotage
Another approach is that advocated by Deep Green Resistance: trace all these problems back to the root problem of civilization, especially industrial civilization. While strengthening local communities and rebuilding sustainable practices, work to end the ability of the rich to steal from the poor, and of the powerful to destroy the planet.

Given the small number of people willing to question civilization, let alone confront it, and given the desperately short timeline we face before the planet is pushed to irreversible and catastrophic collapse of its life support systems, DGR believes it necessary for some people to carry out direct attacks on critical infrastructure. By disrupting the underpinnings of systems of control, including communications, energy transportation, and electrical distribution, hypothetical underground groups would directly erode the power of those working against life, and make them more likely to concede to demands by the more “reasonable” of us in aboveground groups.

It’s uncomfortable, and even scary to contemplate life without the conveniences of civilization to which we’ve grown accustomed, but we should keep in mind:

  • These conveniences come with costs usually unseen until we actively investigate: exploitation and murder of life here and abroad, human and non-human, in the present and in generations to come. Nothing civilization can give us is worth the death of the planet.
  • Hawaiians lived good lives here for centuries before European contact. Depending on what you most value ― family, intimate connection to community & aina, a clean environment, and meaningful work; or short-lived labor-saving devices, fleeting visits to places far and wide, and flashy gadgets ― one could argue Hawaiians lived much better lives than we do now.

Resources

For more on the issues in Hawai’i around industrial agriculture, chemical company influence, and GMOs, see:

For more on potential big-picture solutions, see:

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Action alert: stop county spraying of pesticides

From GMO Free Hawai’i:

Action Alert

On Tuesday August 4th, Hawai`i County Council Member Margaret Wille will introduce Bill 71, for the county to stop spraying herbicides on county property, including roads, parks, etc that the county maintains.

Please send testimony now to counciltestimony@hawaiicounty.gov ― even a quick email as simple as “I support Bill 71” ― to be received by Monday at 2:30 PM. Ask your friends, ohana, & visitors to send testimony too.

It’s probably most valuable to submit testimony, but you can also sign a petition

If you want to email individual councilors, their addresses are:

dru.kanuha@hawaiicounty.gov
margaret.wille@hawaiicounty.gov
karen.eoff@hawaiicounty.gov
maile.david@hawaiicounty.gov
greggor.ilagan@hawaiicounty.gov
valerie.poindexter@hawaiicounty.gov
aaron.chung@hawaiicounty.gov
daniel.paleka@hawaiicounty.gov
dennis.onishi@hawaiicounty.gov

You can also submit testimony in person at the Hilo Council Chambers (25 Aupuni Street) or via videoconference:

  • Waimea Council Office
  • Video Conferencing Site in the old Bank of Hawai’i Building in Kapa’au
  • Kona Council Chambers – West Hawai‘i Civic Center
  • Pahoa Neighborhood Facility
  • the Hawaiian Ocean View Estates Community Center

Background info from Margaret Wille

Bill 71 prohibits toxic herbicides on all County owned or maintained property.

At the Council’s May 2015 hearings for our County 2015 -2016 budget, the line items of greatest concern were that “Roundup” spray line items in the several department budgets, including those of Parks & Recreation and Public Works. At that time I promised to draft a bill to address the community’s concerns.

As drafted this bill would prohibit the use of toxic herbicides, such as those containing glyphosate (Monsanto’s “Roundup”), on County owned and maintained parks, roadways, waterways, and other county spaces.

The World Health Organization and other health organizations have recently brought forth more evidence concerning the negative effects of glyphosate on human health and to the environment. In my opinion it would be irresponsible to continue to ignore the cries of so many to find alternative means to deal with weeds that are less harmful to our people. To instead simply do another study or to only undertake some pilot project would be doing next to nothing. The proposed bill has an effective date of July 1, 2016 to allow time for the County to transition to alternative means of weed control.

Help stop this from continuing

Doctors Stephanie Seneff and Judy Carman present “Our Right to Health”

This newsletter is republished from GMO Free Hawai’i (GMOFHI):

Our Right to Health

GMOFHI is pleased to announce “Our Right to Health”, a speaking tour of two scientists to our islands, Dr. Stephanie Seneff and Dr. Judy Carman. They will discuss the results of health and safety studies concerning Glyphosate and GMO foods, respectively. This is a great opportunity to become more fully informed about the safety issues and to hear in detail some of the problems associated with these products, so commonplace in our lives and communities.

Dr. Stephanie Seneff, for 30 years, has been a researcher and scientist in the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence laboratory at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology links the research with the alarming rise in today’s diseases. Dr Senneff will be connecting the dots between the rise in the use of glyphosate, the active ingredient in the commonly used herbicide “Roundup,” and the link to the increase in obesity, allergies, autism, alzheimer’s (and more).

Dr. Judy Carman holds a PhD in Medicine, nutritional biochemistry and metabolic regulation; Dr. Carman conducted research on some of the first long-term, independent, animal feeding studies to investigate the safety of GMO crops in regards to human health. She will be talking about the safety of GM crops, including the research she has conducted with some of the first animal studies.

Please join us at one of these upcoming dates, for Pupus and an opportunity to meet our speakers:

EAST HAWAI’I ISLAND – Contact: Chandell 808-896-1686

Sat. July 25th – Waimea, 1:30 to 5 PM
Tutu’s House, 64-1032 Mamalahoa Highway, Kamuela

Sun. July 26th – Honoka’a, 6 to 9 PM
North Hawai’i Educational Research Center (NHERC)
45-539 Plumeria Street, Honoka’a

WEST HAWAI’I ISLAND – Contact: Sharon (808) 938-4807

Mon. July 27th – Kona, 6 to 9 PM
County of Hawai’i Civic Center
74-5044 Ane Keohokalole Highway,
Bldg B (above the harbor)

Road-side Herbicide Spraying

During a recent legislative annual budget hearing, the County of Hawaii Council heard a full day of community testimony on the subject of de-funding the county’s road-side herbicide program, and replacing it with safer alternatives. Many ideas were presented, and the director of public works, as well as many council members showed support for trying a different approach. If you have any ideas that you would like to share with the county, please contact Public Works Director Warren Lee’s office at (808) 961-8321 and politely present concerns and ideas for solutions (we realize having our children walk through road sides sprayed with Roundup is an emotional issue). There are many different climates on Hawai’i Island to content with, so providing road-side weed control solutions is bound to require varied approaches.

Here is a short list of solutions. Please email GMO Free Hawai’i with other ideas to continue to add to this list.

  • Vinegar
  • Steam
  • Physical removal- such as around specific areas like waterways, as well as part of a long term replacement program with other types of plants besides “weeds”. Large stretches of the Hilo/Volcano hwy, for example, were once maintained in such a way, along with a mowing program in the shorter term. Once weeds have been removed the roadside can be planted with native plants, especially those that attract pollinators.
  • Animal, via portable pens
  • Flaming
  • C-Cide Concentrate (Testing in Kapoho by Hawaii’s Coalition for Alternatives to Pesticides)

If you haven’t signed and shared the petition to stop the county’s road-side herbicide spraying, please do!

Kauai’s ongoing battle against pesticide companies

Deep Green Resistance advocates a return to land-based food systems rather than the fossil-fueled and toxic war against nature that characterizes industrial agriculture. Many homesteaders and organic farmers have proven we don’t need to douse our environment in pesticides, herbicides, and chemical fertilizers; nor deploy genetically modified organisms to force monocrops onto the aina. This biotic cleansing of the earth to steal all its production must stop.

In some good news, residents of Waimea, Kauai have won a multi-year struggle to get justice for DuPont Pioneer poisoning them with pesticide laden dust. A Honolulu jury decided that the corporation must recompense the residents for property damage caused by its reckless behavior. Unfortunately, the health and environmental harms caused by the pesticides were not redressed.

Although this is a victory, it’s just a start. Kauai and most of the other Hawaiian islands are under assault by the agrichemical complex. Read more about this decision and the other threats to the aina and its people at Pulling Back The Curtain: Jury verdict unanimous, DuPont Pioneer guilty of harming Waimea Kauai residents.

Petition to Switzerland to stop Syngenta’s poisoning of Kaua’i

After Kaua’i residents passed an ordinance last November to provide limited protection from pesticide spraying, agrochemical companies including Syngenta sued to shut down even minimal steps towards the health of residents, including children and the hospitalized. The Hawai’i Alliance for Progressive Action (HAPA) traveled to attend Syngenta’s annual shareholders meeting and request that the company apply to Hawai’i the same pesticide restrictions in place in Syngenta’s host country of Switzerland.

In Switzerland, the Kauaʻi delegation [also] met with local and national Swiss lawmakers resulting in the Social Democratic Party, the largest political party in Basel, issuing a Statement of Support, asking Syngenta to “honor the democratic process and protect the people of Kauaʻi.” These meetings also resulted in several articles in Swiss Newspapers, television news and Swiss Public Radio covering Syngenta’s activities in Hawaiʻi and the Kauaʻi residents’ concerns.

HAPA is pushing for 10,000 signatures on a support petition by this Thursday, when allies in Switzerland will present it to Guy Morin, President of the Government of Basel, Switzerland and to executives of Syngenta at a public meeting. Please sign and share widely!

Petition to Switzerland to stop Syngenta’s poisoning of Kaua’i

Background information: Kauai delegation delivers strong message to Syngenta, Swiss lawmakers

Investigative journalist on Hawai’i’s GMO war

Jon Rappoport, a free-lance investigative journalist, has written numerous posts recently about GMOs, labeling vs banning, and the recent passing and subsequent overturning of laws in Hawai’i to ban GMOs and their attendant poisons. He provides some good insights into the corruption in the political and judicial systems, and even with big NGOs supposedly looking out for the health of humans and our landbases. The main angle he’s missing is CELDF style laws, which not only block unwanted industry or pollution from a locale, but explicitly state that the local protections supersede the rights of corporations or the State or Federal laws written by those corporate interests.

You can see all of Rappoport’s posts on GMOs or read some specific posts:

Hilo & Kona: Dr. Tyrone Hayes – Silencing the Independent Scientist

Hawaii Seed and the Mom Hui presents, as part of the Raise Awareness Inspire Change Speaker Series:

Dr. Tyrone Hayes – Silencing the Independent Scientist


Where: Hilo, UH Hilo campus, Science and Technology Building, room 108

When: Monday evening, May 19th, 6-8pm


Where: Kona, Island Naturals upstairs meeting room

When: Tuesday evening, May 20th, 6-8pm


A free and open to the public presentation by UC Berkeley Professor Tyrone Hayes, about his findings from 15 years of research on the herbicide Atrazine and his struggle with the Syngenta corporation, the maker of Atrazine. His story of scientific and political corruption was featured recently in the New Yorker magazine.

At 6-6:30 pm will be light refreshments and a chance to meet the speaker. A question and answer period will follow the presentation. Paul Towers from Pesticide Action Network will be speaking as well, presenting an overview of pesticide use nationally as well as internationally and the significant role Hawaii plays as ground zero for open-air pesticide experimentation.

It was Dr. Hayes who discovered that the herbicide atrazine, the most widely used herbicide in America, was a disruptor of the endocrine system emasculating male frogs and transforming them into fully functioning reproductive females. Highly published in peer-review journals since the 1990s, Dr. Hayes is an advocate for the critical review and regulation of pesticides and chemicals that cause adverse health effects in our communities.

Right now the County of Kauai is embroiled in a lawsuit over regulating and enforcing articles in the pesticide bill that was recently passed. This bill called for the creation of buffer zones around schools, hospitals, etc, and the public right to know pesticide use in agriculture. This is a critical issue for us all to understand. The links between human health, environmental health, children’s ability to learn, and the future of healthy thriving communities depends on informed community understanding.

Mahalo!

From the team at GMO Free Hawaii Island gmofreehawiiisland@gmail.com

Please feel free to share and send this out widely – thank you!