Mark Sheehan tells it like it is.
November 21, 2013



“Democracy is not a spectator sport.” ~ Tom Hartman

I’ve been asked to explain what the SHAKA Movement is. “Sustainable Hawaiian Agriculture for the Keiki and the Aina”. The bottom line: It’s about preserving paradise for future generation by reclaiming, restoring and revitalizing depleted soil, and growing healthy foods without a dependence on chemicals.

The current pressing issue is the revolt of the masses against the continuous poisoning of our soil, waters and air and all the creatures that depend on them for life. Seems the field workers have been reading the warning labels of chemicals they spray on the HC&S fields and the Monsanto workers are doing the same.

There are growing health concerns in the Filipino community who comprise many of the field workers. While the corporations feel that what they spray is none of our business, consider these pesticides used on sugar: atrazine, triazine, 2,4-D (relative of agent orange), asulam, diuron, ametryn, triclopyr, oxyflurofen, metribuzin, dicamba, propiconazol, hexazinone and these glyphosate brands: Aqua Master aka Rodeo, Polado and Roundup Weather Max.

There are Hawaiian environmental and cultural activists incensed that the precious lands they love and feel called to preserve have been degraded and contaminated by decades of unconscionable AG. (“They get the profits, we get the pollution–for ever!”) They have demonstrated against Kamehameha School leasing lands to Monsanto. Learn more at: HawaiiGMOJustice.org

Then there is “Molokai Moms on a Mission”. Mothers from Kauai to Molokai are both terrified and livid that their children are subject to the ill winds of Monsanto experiments. Prenatal exposure to pesticides account for reduced birth weight, allergies, asthma and lower IQ. The Biotech companies on Kauai plant crops right up to the schoolyard fence! Mom’s in Kihei claim they can smell the pesticides blowing from the Monsanto fields just mauka. There’s a short, useful guide entitled: “A Generation in Jeopardy: How pesticides are undermining our children’s health and intelligence”. www.facebook.com/MolokaiMOM

Maui county’s organic farmers are justifiably concerned that drift from Monsanto’s field will contaminate their crops. While the Maui Farmers Union United prefers to work on positive outcomes, the intense use of chemicals by Monsanto poses an increasing risk to these farmers’ health and livelihood. www.MauiFarmersUnionUnited.org

While corporations don’t disclose their secret sauce, organic growers in Maui county suspect what is used by the biotechs on Kauai is used here. Check out StopPoinsoningParadise.org. Under “Facts” there is a list of restricted use pesticides.

Our County Council members have been hearing from the public who are asking that the county take more responsibility for our health. It is well known that one Council member is very concerned, Elle Cochran. Will Maui County follow the lead of Kauai and Hawaii counties in asking for a ban on GMOs? Hawaii Island Council passed (on first reading as pf this writing) a ban on new GMOs. Kauai County asked for buffer zones around schools and parks, signs of fields and disclosure of pesticides used. With Monsanto buying more land in central Maui, it is the

Maui Council’s responsibility to implement restrictions on where these dangerous pesticides can be used? (What about all the fugitive dust blowing down to Kihei and Wailea!)

Our tourist industry is taking notice as news of the ‘rumble in the jungle’ out here in the subtropics garners more attention in national publications: New York Times, Huffington Post, etc. Might continued publicity be bad for business? It’s great that we’re so popular with tourists, but will they still come when word gets out?

Maui’s health professionals have been meeting to share information regarding patients’ problems. They haven’t reported many antidotes; instead they maintain that prevention is the best policy. One doctor raised the ‘precautionary principle’ which basically says: “if in doubt, don’t use.” Comes now a report showing that Monsanto GM crops damage red blood cells responsible for delivering oxygen to the body. The red blood cells suffer due to a bacterium commonly used as a pesticide on Monsanto crops (Bt). This doctor wants to know if Monsanto is using Bt in their seed corn operations here.

In early October three dozen activists met to discuss tactics to use to defend and protect the aina. A few weeks later, about 150 Mauians attended a SHAKA Movement meeting to learn organizing strategies for fighting back against reckless corporate practices that endanger the public health. Many of them took part in the recent online GMO Mini-Summit that featured speakers like Vandana Shiva and Jeffrey Smith.

What chance do we have from the state legislature when we have representatives who are biotech boosters? Even the Governor is a big fan saying Hawaii’s future is in seeds (as in biotech seeds!). Auwe!

The sugar industry exported molasses and profits, and left us with contaminated soil and aquifers. The biotechs are following suit and they have the cash and the clout to dominate the debate. But the people are rising up, knowing their children’s future requires action.

Are you part of this uprising? Need to know more? Knowledge is critical.

First, get informed, then go to the SHAKA website on your smart phone

or tablet right now and find out where you can plug in. The revolution is

underway and gaining momentum daily. Learn more at: ShakaMovement.org

Mark Sheehan is a real estate broker with a lifelong interest in personal and public health. He can be reached through the www.SHAKAMovement.org website.

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