Opposition to GMO’s in Hawaii has attracted an eclectic mix of well-worn politicians and other “characters” interested in riding the groundswell of fear and misinformation.
On Kauai, Councilman Gary Hooser and his ally, fellow Councilman Tim Bynum, have floated an anti-GMO bill at the county level. Hooser has retreated to Kauai after dismal showings for statewide higher office and a brief stint on the Abercrombie administration. Some believe he is looking at a possible run for Mayor of Kauai and a revived political career.
Even less fortunate is Ex Honolulu City Councilman Tom Berg, who rode his GMO opposition into political obscurity. Bounced from City Hall after half a term, he failed to even get elected to the Ewa Neighborhood Board. He is still hailed has an “Environmental Hero” by his ex-secretary, and current President of Anti-GMO activists, Babes Against Biotech, Nomi Carmona.
Perennial activist and failed OHA candidate, Walter Ritte, was recently revealed to be on the payroll of mainland special interest group Ceres Trust, in return for adding his local indignation-for-hire to Neighbor Island protests. Ceres has pumped hundreds of thousands of dollars into “local” organizations like Hawaii SEED and others.
Oahu adds an interesting twist with anti GMOer Representative Jessica Wooley chairing a key agricultural committee, and Senator Mike Gabbard deeply allied with the organic food industry and Chris Butler Cult. Gabbard was a partner in the early days of Down to Earth organic market in the early days of the Butler operations.
The Big Island has less to do with industrial seed crop companies, but has a slightly different battle with GMO papayas. County Councilwoman Margaret Wille is pushing a bill to ban all GMO crops on the Island and impose onerous penalties for local farmers who defy her edict. Joining the fray is retired comedian and failed farming-reality-show entrepreneur, Rossane Barr. Barr has suggested that Hawaiians should “burn” GMO crops down and “plant something decent.” In fact GMO papaya crops have been vandalized on several occasions.
Floating over this whole affair is spiritual and scientific figurehead Dr. Vandana Shiva. Ostensibly to give anti-GMO arguments some scientific gravitas, Dr. Shiva bills herself as a scientist, but a brief examination of her credentials pins her down as a left-leaning, anti-capitalist with a PhD in philosophy.
The saddest part of this spectacle is that so many people are swept up by the disinformation and joined the anti GMO mob. It’s time to take a deep breath and evaluate the information you are being told, and the motivations and credibility of the people telling it to you.