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Why We are Protesting GMOs This Weekend

By Walter Ritte

We have protested many things on Molokai over the years, and most of the protests were against things that could hurt Molokai’s environment or be bad for our people.

One thing I learned early on was to do my homework before protesting.  And on this issue of GMOs and Monsanto I have done a lot of homework.

Monsanto is not just a big company.  It is a WORLDWIDE GIANT CORPORATION being investigated by the US under anti-trust laws.  Monsanto is working to control the food seeds of the world, so it can control the food that we eat.  Already, Monsanto has a stake in 70 percent of all GMO crops grown worldwide.  And Molokai is part of their plan to take over farm crops on the entire planet. 

Monsanto didn’t start out as a traditional farming company.  It was a chemical company.  It produced chemicals like “agent orange” for the military, and when agent orange was sprayed on troops in Vietnam, it caused lifelong damage to our veterans.  And Monsanto also manufactured “PCB’s” which are among the most toxic chemicals known to man.  Then Monsanto got into the agriculture business through Roundup, the chemical pesticide that it manufactures.

Today Monsanto is the world’s biggest producer of genetically engineered seeds, which grow “genetically modified organisms” or GMO crops.  Monsanto uses the island of Molokai as a huge, unregulated open-field testing ground for its GMO seeds.  They have turned our island’s rich farmland into a big outdoor laboratory for crops that we can’t eat.

Monsanto plows up the topsoil and leaves most of it bare so it can blow away or erode into the ocean when it rains.  Erosion is killing Molokai’s reefs, and Monsanto isn’t helping.  And although Roundup is proven to be a toxic substance, Monsanto has no program to monitor whether it is causing harm to their workers or to our environment.  Studies have shown that Glyphosate, the main chemical in Roundup, can cause cancer, reproductive problems, and even nerve damage. And overuse of Roundup on “Roundup-ready” crops is beginning to create “super weeds” that resist Roundup and can’t be killed by other herbicides.

Meanwhile, GMO genes are crossing with native seeds.  And when Monsanto discovers GMO plants growing in a traditional farmer’s field, they sue the farmer for “stealing.”  Monsanto has sued hundreds of farmers in the US and Canada, and put some out of business. Also, the first genetically engineered crop case ever heard by the U.S. Supreme Court will be argued on April 27. The case, Monsanto v. Geertson Seed Farms, pits the giant agribusiness company against family and organic farmers.

Politically, Monsanto has connections all the way to the White House.  The Speaker of the Hawaii House, Calvin Say, gets money from Monsanto, and he has introduced legislation to protect GMO companies from government regulation.  And the top two candidates for Governor are also working with Monsanto.  There are no laws in the US which regulate GMOs.  The government says that GMOs are just plain ordinary plants, so there is no need to regulate them.  But then it issues patents for these plants because they are really man-made.  And Monsanto sues farmers when their patented plants show up as volunteers in non-GMO farm fields.

I could go on and on about the homework that I have already done, but we all need to do our homework!  I believe that this GIANT CORPORATION threatens our health and safety and the health and safety of our children and our land.  Monsanto is not going to protect Molokai.  The government is not going to protect Molokai.  We are going to have to protect ourselves!

Join us this weekend to PROTEST GMOs at Lanikeha Center, and support pono farming!

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